What IS the Animal Rights Agenda? With Patti Strand
Patti Strand, president of the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), joins host Laura Reeves to discuss proposed ballot initiatives that have appeared, in identical form, in multiple states with a definite “animal rights” agendas attached.
The current initiative in Oregon and the previous one in Colorado aimed to criminalize injuring or killing animals, including killing for food, hunting, fishing and criminalizes most breeding practices.
Strand contends that it is unlikely the Oregon proposal will receive enough signatures to make it on the ballot, and the Colorado one did not, but that we should always “be aware.”
“It is possible that other groups will come together and urge this sort of thing to get put on the ballot,” Strand said. “But again, since they’re going after every use of animals, in my opinion, it’s unlikely to succeed anywhere. Not only because it’s way too broadly comprised but also because none of the national groups with money would put money into it.
“But this is all part of the animal rights agenda. The animal rights agenda is opposed to using animals for any purpose, regardless of how humane, how responsible or how much benefit might flow from using animals in this way to people and other animals. A great deal of medical research is done on animals, for animals. So clearly there’s an animal rights to agenda behind this.
“I will say that (since) it lacks funding from the big organized groups, either (the initiative sponsors) just didn’t understand the process and what they were going to be up against in the beginning or it’s a shot across the bow, to let us know ‘we’re still here and this is truly exactly what we want.’
“You do have to be aware that there are people out there, and that you’re associating with them every day, maybe they’re not even on the other side, but they definitely have been the recipients of a lot of misinformation and information that’s told from a very biased point of view. Propaganda is everywhere.
“One of my favorite articles is from a speech (by) Michael Crichton, the guy who wrote Jurassic Park, and it’s his speech to the Commonwealth and he opens it up by saying ‘I’ve been asked to speak to you today and to tell you what I think is the greatest threat facing mankind. And I have a fundamental answer. It is the ability to discern reality from fiction.’ So, we’re in a propaganda war.
“You know, one of the major goals of the animal rights movement is to turn us all into guardians instead of owners. You have to be very very careful that you don’t fall into that trap. When you say you’re your pet’s guardian or you are a pet parent or whatever, you are moving the goal post a little bit in their direction. Obviously, you don’t wanna sound cold and heartless, because that plays into the agenda, too. So, it’s just about being sensitive to the language itself and being very, very aware.
“The truth will set you free. I’m really big on truth telling and just being very honest and open about what you do, what it means, why it matters. You can’t speak in sound bites and win. If you try to come up with a sound bite that is going to be the perfect rejoinder to what they just said, you’re gonna lose.
“Those of us who spend our entire lives with dogs, put every extra dime we have into our dogs, who spend more at veterinarians than many, many people spend on their kids… I mean, we love our dogs deeply. We just don’t confuse them with people. We know that they are dogs and we take care of them.”
Dog Breeding: We’re ALL in this Together
Patti Strand, the founder of the National Animal Interest Alliance, joins host Laura Reeves to talk about all dog breeders working together, raising the bar for the health and well-being of all dogs.
Strand provides an outstanding historical perspective on the question of dog breeding throughout the 20th century, commercial breeding operations to meet community demand for companion dogs, the programs put in place to monitor breeders and the confusion of outdated information.
“…there is a passion among commercial breeders today to do a better job and to learn how to do a better job,” Strand said. “One of our (NAIA) board members, Marty Greer, is a veterinarian. She gives a lot of seminars, a lot of health seminars … veterinary care-type seminars in the commercial dog breeding world. And she says she never had a more attentive audience. These people are taking notes and they’re asking questions. They’re excited about breeding. They’re excited about husbandry. So just a ton of really positive changes have taken place.”
Strand, a Dalmatian breeder for decades, added, “I’m a hobby breeder. I love what I do. I try to do it well. But what I’m really working toward is trying to support people who try to conduct themselves in the best way possible with the information and education and materials that we have.”
As president of NAIA, Strand works on legislation that impacts all breeders. Including researching actual numbers of dogs in animal shelters around the US.
“I had this experience last year in working on some legislation,” Strand commented. “I had a situation where a woman who owned a pet store asked me to help her and she told me that she was doing everything right.
“(I told her) ‘if you can demonstrate to me what you’re doing and you have a solid operation I will try to help you.’ So next morning I get up and I have like 150 documents from this woman. Every single puppy she bought from somebody whose USDA inspection reports were excellent. And not only that, every single puppy she bought had parents who were health tested for the very things that the hobby dog breeder world requires when you go to our AKC parent websites. The Breeders that were working with this particular distributor were all going to the AKC and the parent club websites and finding out what the requirements were for their breed and then duplicating it. So believe me, even 5 years ago you would not have seen that,” Strand observed.
“I think the reality is that we would all want pet stores or breeders, whether they’re hobby or commercial, who are doing things badly and where animals are being harmed not to be able to operate. I mean it’s just that simple. So with us at NAIA, we’re just all about conduct rather than categorizing people by putting a particular marketing label on people and then saying this label is no good and that label is good.”
Pet Expo Provides Public Outreach Opportunity
Patti Strand, President of the National Animal Interest Alliance, has spent nearly 30 years attending America’s Family Pet Expo in Orange County, Calif. Instead of insisting that JQ Public meet purebred dogs only at dog shows, where most of us are too busy to actually interact with visitors, Strand says Pet Expo and other public venues are a great way to introduce our responsibly bred purebred dogs to folks in the community.
Reach New Club Members
Strand, along with her husband Rod, have been active in growing the participation of breed clubs at the Orange County event, which last year boasted 47,000 visitors. Representatives from more than 90 breeds had the opportunity to interact with those families, with long lines at most of the booths, Strand said.
“… one of the things I’ve seen that’s pretty cool on the part of the breed clubs is how they’ve evolved over time, to now they have begun to create literature,” Strand said. “Maybe they had a brochure or a flyer, to begin with, but now they have a lot more materials that they’re passing out and I think they’re finding it not only is a great place to educate or inform the public about their breeds but also they’re recruiting fanciers, people who love the breed. People who live in the area and had a Dalmatian or had a bulldog but didn’t know there was a club.
“… what we have found at the pet expos are the number of people who have our breed, who love our breed and really, really want to connect with other people who have the breed. So, if some of the memberships are a little smaller than the clubs would like them to be, this is really a great place to meet other fanciers of your breed that you never knew existed,” Strand noted.
Home for Animal Heroes, an organization NAIA supports that provides resources to foster and rehome retired medical research dogs, will offer an adoption opportunity at the Orange County event. The Expo is April 27-29, 2018 at the Orange County Fair & Event Center.
Homes for Animal Heroes also is sponsoring a “virtual 5K run” to raise money for their goal to expand their fostering and adoption network to more states.
Strand noted that public events like the Expo allow responsible preservation breeders to take back the conversation about animal welfare in the public dialogue.
“…when you really think about the dog fancy as a whole,” Strand noted, “there are no other people in the world that give as much of their time, their love, their money, their energy, their intelligence to trying to make sure that dogs have good lives, that they’re able to live longer, that they are socialized well enough to live in the world comfortably, … you know all the things that go in to raising dogs.”
Patti Strand is a long-time Dalmation breeder who has been blazing the path of animal welfare and providing a voice for the rights of dog breeders for 25 years.
And don’t forget! Listen to Allison Foley’s Leading Edge Dog Show Academy Tip of the Week on how to not lose your equipment at the dog show!
NAIA President Patti Strand Wants to Know… What’s YOUR Elevator Speech for Purebred Dogs?
NAIA President Patti Strand shares elevator speech strategies for talking with the public and gives PureDogTalk listeners the inside track on breaking news about upcoming legislation.
An elevator speech is a very short statement, less than 30 seconds long, that allows us to talk in a positive way with folks who oppose purebred dogs, dog breeders, crop and dock, or pets in general.
“Dog breeders are the public relations face of the sport of dogs,” Patti Strand reminds us. “You want to have something ready to say. Every chance you get, is one you should be prepared to take advantage of.”
“Someone saying something negative can be the opening,” Patti adds, “but the key is to get the conversation started.”
“And remember,” she notes, “body language is important. Often it IS the message.”
How much do you love your dogs?
“I think the most important thing for people to understand is how much you love dogs. Everyone in our community is devoted to their dogs. It’s easy to prove — whether it is time devoted to your dogs, the financial outlay, volunteer time dedicated to a local shelter, we can all easily demonstrate our devotion to our dogs,” Patti said.
What are your real concerns?
“Once you establish that level of dedication, then convey your concerns. Concerns about ongoing breed specific legislation, importation of street dogs from Asia and the Middle East that bring dangerous diseases to our pets. You need to personalize the message in a positive way and establish that as owners, breeders and exhibitors of purebred dogs, we are trusted subject matter experts.”
Urge other owners to learn more
Patti says the final step is to encourage the person to learn more.
“What’s truly unique about our community is that most everyone is a volunteer in our sport. Our price tag is our commitment to our dogs. No matter what topics you list in your little speech, it’s all going to come back to love for the dogs.”
Here’s your “elevator speech” call to action listeners!
Try setting up a role playing game at your next kennel club meeting in which all of the members practice their elevator speeches.
AKC Government Relations has bullet points available on how to answer animal rights questions and current legislation opinions.
Breaking News: NAIA Animal Nation, Washington D.C.
Introduction of legislation sponsored by NAIA to more carefully monitor importation of rescue dogs. “There is currently no one agency that can take charge of this area. CDC, USDA, Veterinary Services. The laws on the books are outdated and were created for people traveling with their own dogs.”
AKC will be introducing legislation regarding breeding and development of dogs for work with Homeland Security. The topic will be addressed at the NAIA conference in Washington DC in October.
For more information on today’s podcast topics, follow these links.
More from NAIA
Homes for Animal Heroes
“Homes for Animal Heroes (HAH) is a national program dedicated to rehoming retired research animals, mainly dogs, and sharing the facts about the critical role animals in research play in curing disease. HAH is building a network of dog experts that can effectively work with research institutions to rehome retired research dogs in every state across the country, one location at a time. Our goal is to permanently rehome these animal heroes into loving homes through a comprehensive foster-based program.”
“Instead of hands-on husbandry experience that our rural ancestors took for granted, most people today learn what they know about all animals from their pets, from the classroom, from TV, from popular culture, the Internet, zoos, circuses, and the various animal shows where aspects of husbandry are still understood and practiced.
It is our hope that this website will add to greater public awareness of animal issues and husbandry, help fill the void created by our isolation from so many of the animals we depend on and help correct the misinformation that too often leads to misguided and damaging personal as well as policy decisions in our culture.
Resource for interesting and factual information on all animals
Our mission is to be a key resource for relaying interesting and factual information about animals. It’s a colossal mission, and not one that can be accomplished overnight, but we are committed to providing a truly valuable resource for animal enthusiasts and professionals everywhere. Please stick around and watch us grow. If you like what you see, join in by contributing new information, photos, videos, scientific studies and articles.
This website is a project of the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) whose board members and their unique expertise working with animals is listed here. Please stay tuned and help us as we develop this resource. We have developed numerous ways for you to contribute your special knowledge. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit the Participate section of the website.
One of the early observations on the retail rescue phenomena.
Comprehensive list of NAIA articles on a variety of topics
Guest editorial from Patti Strand regarding the need for more regulations of shelters and rescues.