This week, our intrepid reporter Steve Finch brings us news of a rather novel animal rights group. Steve asked that we file this story in the “wouldn’t it be interesting if…” category.
PENSACOLA, FL — The Coalition Against Animal Racism (CAAR, pronounced “care”) held their first public meeting today. The group was formed earlier this year when Donna DeMarco couldn’t get attention for her concerns from established groups like the Humane Societies or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Ms. DeMarco’s primary concern is that questions about an animal’s breed, especially in dogs, are essentially the same thing as racism in humans. As she explained, “Dog breeds and human races are effectively the same thing. They’re not like species, and if we truly want to live in a colorblind society we must include our pets as well.”
From her explanation, it appears that Ms. DeMarco formed the group after growing tired of hearing question about her dog’s breeding. “Fluffy, that’s my dog (pictured at right), doesn’t know her heritage and neither do I. And for people to keep asking about it is both insulting and demeaning.”
CAAR’s campaign has found both fans and detractors. The group’s nearly 200 members are a testament to the cause’s ability to attract supporters.
Interestingly, CAAR’s own figures show that the vast majority of members are owners of mixed-breed dogs, though there are also a few owners of mixed-breed cats. There appears to have been no interest in this cause from kennel clubs and dog breeders.
Ms. DeMarco elaborated on this fact, saying, “We’ve approached those who take pride in purity of a dog’s breeding, but they’ve all turned down our offer of membership. And though I really hate to say this, they appear like the white supremacists or Nazis before them. They’re holding to an old concept of race that isn’t fair.”
When reached for comment, the American Kennel Club said that they were aware of CAAR’s campaign, but felt that Ms. DeMarco’s claims were completely without merit. “After all,” their spokesman said, “we’re not disenfranchising or specifically harming mutts. They’re still able to find good homes.”
Despite the Kennel Club’s claim that CAAR’s mission is irrelevant and unneeded, Ms. DeMarco promises to press on, continuing to pressure animal sellers and the populous to remember that a dog’s breed is none of their business.
4 responses to “Dispatches: Coalition Against Animal Racism”
That doggy looks a little like my Magnus. He’s a cockapoo.
My dog has a blog. Black Dog Diaries. I take him to the local dog park on a regular basis. It surprises me every time I’m there that there exists the curious implied “requirement’ that all dogs be a “something”.
“What kind of dog is he?” is the question. It’s likely a conversation starter among awkward strangers, but it may speak to the point Ms. DeMarco is making.
I am not in agreement with Ms. DeMarco’s estimate that the question is “both insulting and demeaning”. That may be as much of a overstatement as what the AKC had to say about, “we’re not disenfranchising or specifically harming mutts.They’re still able to find good homes.”
A simple answer to the question of your canine’s heritage is, “He’s my dog. Isn’t he great?”
I think, as evidenced by recent news coverage of dogfighting, that all types of people associate themselves with dogs, some more productively than others. Unfortunately there will always be people that use dogs as status symbols. The iconic nature of DOG exists. Pit Bulls (Staffordshire Bull Terriers ) are the new “bad boy” dogs. I have seen German Shepherds, Dobermans and Rotweillers all play the role, in turn, as dictated by human whim. I find it sad that breeds of dogs are singled out as “bad”. I view dogs as unique individuals.
I think there are plenty of dogs to go around. The world doesn’t need to breed more, mutt or purebred, until we can understand and take care of the ones we already have.
I strongly advocate spaying and neutering, but have included a link at the top of my comment that leaves that advocacy open to examination.
I may be more in agreement with Ms. DeMarco than not, but the language used to create the discussion may be as ineffective in gaining cooperation as beating your dog is to train it.
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