Saturday, December 28, 2019

Lazy, Stupid or Incompetent?

Lazy, stupid, or incompetent?

It's the question we face so often in the era of Facebook and "truthiness" and "Alternative Facts".

And, of course, there are other options....

The latest bit of wrong comes from someone by the name of Mark Cushing who has penned a piece entitled "The Dog Shortage Is Real".

The article is nonsense, from stem to stern.

Actually it's not nonsense, as nonsense occurs when someone just says stuff without any concern for the truth, while lying is when you know the truth and work very hard to stay away from that.

Mr. Cushing is not just spewing nonsense -- he appears to be working very hard to stay away from the truth.

For example, Mr. Cushing starts by saying that "the flourishing import market [for dogs] poses genuine health threats."

Flourishing import market?

What market would that be?

Here we come to Mr. Cushing's first lie, which is that over a million dogs a year are imported for market.

He knows this is not true as the figures come from the U.S. government and the source is not hard to find (though he does not link to it for some reason):

This report summarizes data concerning the estimated 1.06 million live dogs imported into the United States each year. The vast majority of these dogs are assumed to be personal pets traveling with or to their owners, based on data concerning the use of dogs in the United States. In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued permits for 2,917 dogs that were imported for resale purposes under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This represented a significant increase over the previous two calendar years due to increased outreach efforts to individuals and entities that may require a permit and to airlines that frequently move dogs into the United States.

So, the "flourishing import market" for dogs turns out to be LESS THAN 3,000 DOGS.

Mr. Cushing had to know that... but notice that he not only left out the truth, he left out the link to the source of the truth.

What else did Mr. Cushing leave out?

After giving us the wrong data about "the flourishing import market," he then tells us:

Do we know the health status of these [1 million imported] dogs? No, but we do know that more than 100,000 arrive from rabies-risk zones.


"Rabies-risk zones".
I am genuinely laughing, as rabies is endemic across the United States. Again, surely Mr. Cushing knows this?

Also, surely he knows that dogs imported from "rabies risk zones" are required to have a rabies vaccine at least 28 days before they fly to the US and that all dogs have to appear healthy? Most international airlines require a very recent veterinary inspection as well, as anyone who has traveled overseas with a dog can tell you.

What else does Mr. Cushing get wrong? Well his data on where dogs come from is demonstrably wrong.

Let's start with the fact that he cites "research" commissioned by the Pet Leadership Council without noting that the Pet Leadership Council is his client and is a consortium of pet stores, fish farmers, dog food makers, and pet product manufacturers, as well as the puppy mill-loving AKC.

Mr. Cushing cites a Mississippi State "study" without bothering to link to it. And you know why? So far as I can tell, that "study" is simply a press release. When I asked for the actual work in 2017, I was told it was not available to the public. That appears to still be the case. As I noted in 2017, the work itself appears to be a complete mess; a case example of failure to define terms, poor sampling, ignoring easily accessible data bases, and suspect methodology. Since the study has not been forthcoming, it's impossible to say more.  That said, anyone can do their own research about dog availability pretty quickly.

For example, I entered the address of the Animal Policy Group's "office" in Tazewell, Tennessee (it appear to be a private home) into PetFinder and found 1,100 rescue and shelter dogs available RIGHT NOW within 100 miles of that location.

Surely Mr. Cushing has done this himself?

Across the nation, RIGHT NOW, there are over 112,000 dogs in rescues and shelters looking for a home, each with a name, address, email, and phone number for contact.

A dog shortage?  Where would that be?

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