Saturday, October 06, 2007

Coffee and Provocation

Rat Island, Alaska:
As I have noted in the past, rats are responsible for more animal extinctions in the last 400 years than any other single causal agent. Almost all of these extinctions have been birds endemic to small tropical islands, but a few islands outside of the tropics are also besieged by rats. Which brings us to aptly named "Rat Island" in Alaska where rats stranded there after the 1780 wreck of a Japanese sailing ship have multiplied and decimated the auklet population. Now, it seems, the island is set to get a good dose of rat poison thank to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the USFWS wants some tips on how to "get 'er done," they might talk to the folks in New Zealand who rid Campbell Island of rats there after using 120 TONS of rat poison (over 240,000 pounds). A hat tip to Matt Mullenix for pointing me to the Alaska story.

The Case for Repeal of the Hunting Act:
The Brits are slow to mount American-style public relations and lobbying campaigns, and so it has only taken them a couple of years to put out a decent piece of literature arguing for the repeal of the Hunting Act (PDF). Better late than never, and a hat tip to the Countryside Alliance for this one.

Are Dogs the New Genetic Model?
Thanks to pervasive inbreeding that has resulted in nearly every Kennel Club breed being reduced to a specific kind of genetic wreckage, dogs are now a new gene model for science. There is a nice article on all this over at Gene Expression. A hat tip to Prairie Mary for pointing me to this story.

Texas Terriers?
It seems you can't turn around these days without someone coming up with a new breed of dog. This time, it's one called the Texas Terrier. Each to his own, and may the sea rise up to float whatever boat they are building. For a list of other recent (successful and unsuccessful) terrier breeds, see this older post.



Henry Chappell said...

Texas Terrier - strikes me as something between a small cur and a big feist - probably more like a feist. Plenty of those around already, but I don't guess it hurts to have a few more, as long as they're good workers.

Christopher said...

Of course we read different books, the experience of any art is the combination of the viewer and the viewed.

But let me defend my venom a bit by telling you that the trialing community (or at least their internet contingent) is not welcoming and nice. They make sport of flaming and banning anyone who doesn't drink their koolaid. The BC Boards and the mailing lists are hostile and divisive places. Not that the conformation people are all that much better.

Historically trialers have been sexist (enough evidence of this in the book), racist against dog colors (red dogs especially), ageist (again, enough evidence of this in the book), and xenophobic.

These are all things that society has eschewed but we still accept when it comes to dogs. Same with inbreeding and eugenics.

McCaig is more than fair and level headed in his book, especially to the AKC and to the Obedience breeders. He says that if he were in their shoes, he doesn't think he would be able to ditch the AKC either.

But let me point out to you that nothing the ABCA did hurt a single conformation person or dog. The ONLY victims of the Dog Wars are dog sport people, who McCaig admits are second class citizens to the trialing folk and they really don't miss us all that much. We are the child that the Sophies of the ABCA gave up to the Nazis of the AKC.

Not only that, now we're their number one enemy.

Let me enlighten you to the fact that McCaig and the others in the ABCA ruling class have singled us out that "A Clear And Present Danger" to the breed.

My post on Versatility "Danergous" to the ABCA? details the position.

Forgive me if I'm a little tired of hearing how I'm the lower caste and public enemy number one for doing something with my dogs that appeals to more people than the historical elite.

I wish them the best in their endeavor and I will never say they should breed for their purpose. They clearly do not wish me the same good will and freedom.

PBurns said...


Chris, Let me get this straight: You are bashing McCaig, claiming he says things in this book that he never said, because someone (somewhere) on some Border Collie bulletin board or list-serv hurt your feelings about something some time ago? And in your mind, through some sort of projection (which you call "experiencing art"), Don McCaig represents them all, even though he was not on that board and you have never even met him? And all of this justifies you claiming McCaig said things in his book that he did not say?

Damn -- then that's not a book review you wrote, it's a working out of psychological wounds on your end. And it means the book review totally misrepresents the book because it is not about the book at all, but about some real or imagined slight you suffered at the hands of people unseen and to which no one else is a party.

Yow! Get a grip. The world is not about you, and neither is McCaig's book. Nor is McCaig's book interpretive art. It's typing. On occassions it rises to writing. Since most of this history was news to you (you were in Junior High when it occured) I would simply try to learn it, and report out the other side of events if you can find them written down anywhere (I always look for the other side). But wholesale inventing stuff is very bad pool and not a book review.

As for breeding for whatever purpose you want, knock yourself out. McCaig would say the same thing, no doubt (and essentially does in his book, as noted). But just remember that ANY dog breed (Viszla, Poodle, Jack Russell, Corgi, Whippet, etc.) can do fly ball and agility. Only a Border Collie can do sheep the way it does. The ability to work sheep are what make a Border Collie special, just as the ability to locate and work quarry in a hole is what makes a working terrier special. If it was so damn easy, every other breed in the world would be doing it. Every other breed in the world IS doing flyball, agility and Frisbee. No doubt you have heard those facts before, but perhaps you have not considered that those facts were not invented wholecloth to hurt you. They were not invented at all. They exist independent of all of us. They exist because of the dogs.