Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have a tendency toward analogies.  It helps me to make sense of the world and make decisions or form opinions based upon how I relate to previous decision or opinions I hold.

As an animal advocate, they most often relate to things in the animal welfare world.  Today I was obsessed with BSL and various analogies came to mind.

Gun laws:  Criminals use guns, should all guns be banned?
Cars:  Car accidents are the leading cause of death of people aged 15-44  Should we ban driving until your're in your mid 40's?  Some of  these deaths are pedestrians or passengers.  Maybe we should just ban all motor vehicles?
Men:  Most domestic violence is performed by a man.  Should we eliminate all men?  Keep them in a highly secure area?
Thunderstorms:  You have a higher chance of dying from a lightning strike than a dog attack (of any breed).  Should we legislate that people must remain indoors during a storm?
Water:  Drowning was the leading cause of death in children aged 1-4 in 2007.  Should water be outlawed?
Hoodies/Jeans/Sneakers:  Some criminals wear hoodies.  They also wear jeans.  And sneakers.  Should we label anyone wearing this attire a criminal and dangerous?

Okay, okay, but the critics would start talking genetics and breeding.  We could get into a whole nature versus nuture discussion here.  But to continue with my analogies....

Alcohol: The risk of becoming an alcoholic rises if your parent is an alcoholic.  Should we euthanize all children of alcoholics?
Mental Illness: Mental illness can also be hereditary, should we euthanize children born to the mentally ill?   After all, aren't they "bred" to be mentally ill themselves?

The bottom line to me is that every dog is an individual, just like people are individuals and nature and nurture work together.  I have a rescued newfoundland that hates the water.  I'm Italian and talk with my hands but I'm also allergic to tomatoes (talk about being the black sheep of the family!)  Of course I am a "mixed breed" so maybe the allergy came from the other half.

We simply cannot discriminate against an entire breed(s) of dog because of the actions of a few as horrible as those actions are.  Again, the critics would say that the potential of a large breed or a dog with very strong jaw strength makes them a dangerous dog, but my analogy comes right back -- a bodybuilder could potentially do more damage to we get rid of strong people because they potentially could murder someone?

I totally get the emotional charge here and it's hard for advocates to defend without seeming like they are unsympathetic to the victims and their families.  But if my child were murdered by let's say a Swedish person (no offense to the Swedish intended) I certainly wouldn't be advocating for the decimation of all Swedes even if all Swedes happened to be very muscular strong people.  Depending on your view on capital punishment, it would make sense to be advocating for the decimation of that particular Swedish person and punishment for anyone else who may have played a role in it.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your analogies. Simple and to the point. I love the one about the children of parents who may have some addiction or illness. That list could go on and on. What about parents who abandon their chilren, should every to be parent be abolished off this Earth?

    I appreciate your honesty. Realing makes you think, doesn't it?