Riding to the hounds isn’t much fun when there’s no fox for the dogs to chase so Witouski says look behind before you jump the next fence…
A LESSON IN FOXHUNTING AND ANIMAL RIGHTS
by Linda Witouski, AKC judge, Legislative Liaison
Dog owners are probably finding all of this Legislative hoopla hard to believe, and some of you probably think that the AKC should be fighting this battle for you, but it is impossible for them to be on top of every state.
If you think that legislation denying you your right to breed, own or show dogs doesn't have a chance in the U.S., think of the Scots and their beloved Foxhunting. It is now banned in Scotland and barely on life support in all other areas. Why, you ask - what happened... how could the politicians do that?
I noted in a 2002 column for TheDogPlace.org that the animal rightists continually pushed and forced the debate until their thoughts and beliefs were THE political issue and the Foxhound Fanciers were not ready for it. They thought the AR's would just give up and go away, they thought that somebody else was taking care of the problem ... so, they gathered their dogs, jumped on their horses and went - foxhunting.....!! Why, who would ever even imagine that the foxhound sport that has been around since dirt could be attacked by a bunch of 'fanatics' who would win? But, win they did!
At the end of the day’s hunt on the day of the ban, when the Foxhunters returned, they were arrested, dogs were confiscated and all of Scotland was quiet. Anybody want to bet on how long it takes before the U.S. is overrun with anti-dog, anti-cat, anti-animal legislation?
The dog showing fancy have always thought of themselves as better than the average dog, and though they may well be for a variety of reasons - commercial facilities have a right to exist too. “Commercial" breeders have been fighting anti-animal legislation for many years and it's time the showing/owning fancy get with the program before it's too late. People need to set aside their feelings about others and concentrate on saving their rights - our rights - working together. Those that make disrespectful comments about others, who joke and laugh about legislative issues and point fingers at the "puppy mills" should take heed of the lesson to be learned in Foxhunting.
I would be willing to bet that very few bother to check legislative issues in their town or state. I assure you, this agenda against our rights will move from state to state, because those who would see us dogless will be relentless in their quest. What will you do when it comes to your town? What would you give to be able to regain the freedom of choice you will have lost? Did lose… remember, this was in 2002.
Fast forward to 2019: It is alarming that many still don't find it important enough to assist in politics and legislative issues. Make no mistake - we are surrounded. The Animal Right Movement is even worse now. Outlaying and coastal states are being coerced into stricter laws. California, Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York; all have been being besieged with bad legislation and notably, coastal states create a net that surrounds the remainder of the U.S. Animal Rights results there cause an "inward" push into the traditional heartland of our country. Once outlying coastal states are acquired, they will continue to push inland until there is nowhere to run.
Those that have been working legislation for many years have become very good at combating poor legislation, but, just like the Spartans at Thermopylae, the opposition is in the millions and sooner or later our phalanx will fail. It should be the opposite since we are the ones who actually care about animals, the dogs, and the sport.
This all started 30+ years ago and nothing has changed, except the removal of our rights as the Foxhunting lesson taught us. A movement's means creates its' end... so, the next time you think none of this will affect you or your dog, or that "it'll never pass" - think about Foxhunting - and if you still decide to "do nothing", know that YOU will have become a part of that movement, enabling it to create its' end.
Every club, organization and dog owner needs to rise up and step us. We need to be visiting schools and promoting our political position rather than allowing Animal Rights public education programs to infiltrate school systems. We need to encourage young people who have a love for animals to join us by taking them under our wing. We need to offer assistance to those who have been injured by some dog issue in Small Town, USA. We need public service announcements to advertise local dog clubs and offer free "responsible ownership" classes to parents and children.
Most importantly, we need to know our politicians by creating voting alliances in every state. We need to make our presence known by introducing ourselves to local governments, even if it means assisting with some other issue that is non-animal related - something that is near and dear to a politician that you helped them with will go far when you need it. (It wouldn't hurt to run for a political position either!)
There are a million other ideas that clubs, officers, members and owners can come up with if they would only take the time to sit down, discuss, and then DO it....before it's too late!
That is, unless, of course, you are all out....
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