SPECIAL REPORT: PETA vs. Guide Dogs
PETA's Ignorance And Double Standard Sets Off Wave Of Outrage
In the way that NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' just doesn't get it about where you draw the line between satire and shameful mockery of a person's disability when it lampoons New York's blind Governor David Paterson, PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) VP of Cruelty Investigations doesn't get it when passing condescending judgment on guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired, versus assistance dogs for people who are deaf.
Dapha Nachimovitch said, in an article with the LA Time's 'LA Unleashed' Blog, "There will never be a perfect world, but in the world we’re in now, we support some working dog situations and decry others.
Hearing dog programs that pull dogs from animal shelters and ensure that they are in safe and loving homes have our stamp of approval; they live with the family for their entire life, they learn interesting things, enjoy life, and love helping.
On the other hand, we oppose most seeing-eye-dog programs because the dogs are bred as if there are no equally intelligent dogs literally dying for homes in shelters, they are kept in harnesses almost 24/7, people are prohibited from petting or playing with them and they cannot romp and run and interact with other dogs; and their lives are repeatedly disrupted (they are trained for months in one home and bond, then sent to a second, and after years of bonding with the person they have "served," they are whisked away again because they are old and no longer "useful").
While the PETA's efforts are to be lauded for the millions of animals they've rescued from horrible treatment and cruelty, Ms. Nachimovitch's factual ignorance and blanket condemnation of guide dogs for the blind is in itself a cruel judgment that is both misinformed and ignorant.
That ignorance is shown in the comment from the brief excerpt quoted above , "they are kept in harnesses almost 24/7", which has no bearing in reality, and really makes PETA take a credibility hit.
Then there's this other gem:, "We feel that the human community should do more to support blind people, and give dogs a break. A deaf person can see if a dog has a medical issue such as blood in her urine, a blind person living alone cannot, and so on."
Obviously, this woman who is so ready to insensitively pontificate as to what should be done with the blind, has no clue what it is like to live with that kind of disability, not to mention the issues of social isolation, independence and something like the basic human right of equal treatment and access. And what about people who are deaf and blind - are they half approved and half condemned in her view when it comes to what kind of dog they should have?
More on this in the coming days, including more insight into the role and relationship dynamics of guide dogs for the blind, as well as Laura's response to the PETA statements.
In the meantime, you can read the full interview and the subsequent comment reaction that blow the PETA statements full of holes here.
And below you can read about the difference a guide or assistance dog can make in the life of someone with a disability or chronic illness . . .
Service Dog's Generous Nature Inspires Young Owner To Help Others
| When Kiki entered the life of Adam Wolf, 10, a boy with cerebral palsy
who spends much of his time in a wheelchair, it was a great moment. The
boy and his dog would hang out together, grow up side by side, share
the special kind of communication that happens only between kids and
Bred for intelligence and sensitivity, trained to be responsive and helpful, Kiki, a jet-black Labrador retriever/golden retriever mix, quickly settled into the role of Adam's constant companion. She sleeps with him; picks up pencils and remote controls when he drops them; accompanies him everywhere but school; sticks like glue to his side, giving comfort, when Adam's dealing with one of his many medical procedures; and stays with him in the bathroom, leaving only when ordered to get Ali because he's finished in there.
Read the full story @ USAToday.com