Monday, June 13, 2005
20/20 Smear Job on the SPCA: Stossel Lies Again
ABC TV's news program "20/20" recently had a piece by correspondent John Stossel that suggested the SPCA was routinely and improperly seizing expensive pet dogs and selling them for profit as some sort of money-making operation.
Does that sound probable or likely to you? It didn't to me. Used dogs hardly have ready buyers, do they?
I had missed the ABC News TV show, but the transcript was easy to find, and you can read it yourself here >> http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=817494&page=1
I began reading the transcript with some skepticism. John Stossel has a track record of hyper-ventilating about contrived crisis, and he has has even gone so far as to fake laboratory tests (see >> example here) Knowing that, I looked for "tells" to suggest that Stossel was cooking this story, as he has so many others.
The first tell was an absence of photos on the ABC web site. Where were the photos of the clean well-lighted kennels and healthy dogs and horses?
A close reading of the 20/20 transcript showed why there were no pictures: While Stossel was claiming all the animals he found looked "fine," he slipped in a few lines that suggested truth might be otherwise.
It turns out the first woman Stossel visited was a dog breeder with over 120 dogs. It also turned out this woman had not been involved with dogs for very long (her first dog was still alive). This sure sounded like a puppy mill to me!
The second person featured in the 20/20 piece owned a large number of dogs and had left them for four days without anyone in attendance.
The third person, owned more than two-dozen horses which were apparently in pretty bad shape, as he excused the condition of the animals and their quarters as due to his having fallen on hard times. What 20/20 did not show (but which is easily available from court records) is that the 70-acre farm was in disrepair, had little grass, had holes in the barn walls, and that the doors on the stalls had been chewed by starving horses. A veterinarian who examined the horses found half of them were emaciated, and another 25% in very bad condition. This horse owner has previously been convicted (criminal charges) of animal abuse to these same horses.
Am I missing something, or do these people sound exactly like the kind of people the SPCA should be visiting?
On a hunch, I went to the Texas SPCA web site and, funny enough, THEY had pictures of the locations and animals that John Stossel had visited and which he said were "perfectly fine".
Judge for yourself >> http://www.spca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=News_20_20_Statement_Revised
Does this look like a perfectly fine way to raise animals? Not to me.
The lesson here is to believe nothing on its face, always be skeptical, and do your own research especially on highly loaded or emotional topics like hunting, animal rights, and animal welfare (if you do not know the difference between animal rights and animal welfare, try "Googling" these two terms as the beginning of your research).
The more emotional people are about a topic, the less rational they are, and the easier they are to manipulate. Republicans and Democrats, Big Business and the Far Left all hope you will be lazy and not do the reasearch because the lazy and ignorant are always easier to lead around by the nose.
As for Stossel, he is a pathetic journalist. Unable to find enough stories to fill his "Give Me a Break" slot on ABC TV, he has now resorted to "Give Us a Fake" reporting.
Labels: puppy mills