This week Michael Vick was cleared to possibly play football again in the NFL. He will be suspended from some games, and no team has yet signed him.
Now, dog fighting is a pretty gross thing. I don’t mind some violence and potential for blood in my sports (I like football and hockey), but I don’t see the point in any sport in which the actual point of the activity is to brain-damage your opponent (boxing) and worse (cage fighting, dog fighting, bull fighting, etc). In no way would I ever condone this activity, but Michael Vick has served his jail time. Were I lucky enough to be an NFL owner, I would not sign him to my football team (mostly because he wasn’t that good), but I do not think he should be banned from the league.
The question I had was after listening to this coverage on NPR:
Part of Michael Vick’s restitution is working on a dog fighting prevention program with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS is not the human society in your community; it is primarily a national organization that seeks to eliminate animal use for food, research, and recreation (pets, hunting, etc). Most of its budget is used for lobbying and publicity, not to save dogs and cats in communities. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is also quoted in the NPR piece. This is another group with extreme views, promoting humane live insect traps after Obama swatted a housefly on television.
When did these groups become authorities? Where are the more moderate animal support groups who help get pets adopted, prevent unnecessary litters, and assure that animals are treated with care? They are still there; Denver the Wondercat (who just celebrated his 18th birthday) was rescued from the local shelter. My parents and my daughter have also adopted cats.
The truth is your local humane society can barely make ends meet, let alone mount any sort of organized publicity. HSUS and PETA, in contrast, are PR machines, eager to grab a national issue like the exploits of Michael Vick. Unfortunately, every child who is touched by his dog fighting program will now consider HSUS an authority. As I blogged a few months back, volunteer work for PETA is considered in a positive light and publicized as a benevolent thing. These groups are seen as authorities, even though both of these organizations may provide support to more radical organizations engaged in terrorist activities.
How do you fight a machine?
Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com.