Unethical Website Of The Month: Daily Forest

My dog didn't make the list.

My dog didn’t make the list.

Daily Forest published one more of the ever-popular link-bait dog lists and slide shows. My sister sent it to me for the dog photos, which are lovely. the post was so incompetent, misleading and full of errors and anti-breed propaganda that I spent most of the slid show grimacing. Nobody connected with the post—the editor, the author, the site itself—knows anything about dogs. Thus it is a disservice to readers, the public and dogs to allow this misinformation and innuendo to be published. My rule: absent a take-down,  a remedial post and an abject apology, this kind of unethical post flags an unethical, untrustworthy website.

The post was titled, “21 of the World’s Most Dangerous Dog Breeds.”

That’s misleading immediately. There are no “dangerous dog breeds.” There are individual dogs that are maladjusted, abused or trained to be aggressive. Individuals of large breeds are obviously more dangerous when they are maladjusted, abused or aggressive than say, tea-cup poodles, but that doesn’t make the breeds themselves “dangerous.” It is this sloppy and inaccurate characterization that has led to the deplorable “dangerous breed laws” in various states, cities and Great Britain, and the scare-mongering anti-dog zealots who persecute dogs and their owners.

The list itself is ridiculous. #2, naturally (behind boxers, about as loving and perfect a family dog as there is) is “pit bulls.” “Pit bulls,” as used here and elsewhere on the web, isn’t a breed, but a conglomeration of several very different breeds that people who are ignorant of breeds mix up. None of the breeds are dangerous, but here’s where the list signals its abject incompetence. The picture the site uses for pit bulls isn’t even one of the breeds lumped in with “pit bulls,” but this…

Corso Cano

 

…a Corso Cano,  the Italian mastiff. I recognized the breed immediately, being something of a mastiff-lover. This is the breed owned by Ray Donovan’s wife on the Showtime series “Ray Donovan.” It’s not a pit bull breed, because all of those breeds have terrier forebears. Anyone who thinks this is a “pit bull”  doesn’t know a dachshund from a soccer ball, and has as much business writing or editing a post about dogs as Felix the Cat. Morons. The list even includes Corso Canos later on,and has a picture that is obviously of the same breed used under pit bull in the same post.

The text under each breed is just as inept. Great Danes, we are told, “respond poorly to harsh training.” Yes, so do all breeds, and human beings. Here’s the note on Malmutes:

“The Alaskan Malamute is a hard dog to peg as violent when you look at the best of the breed. Malamutes are fluffy, big-boned dogs that weigh in at around 100 pounds and just love to expend energy playing and cuddling. Malamutes are notoriously vocal with the ability to convey a ton of emotion through a range of different sounds. With this energy, however, comes the potential for danger when not properly trained.”

Translation: They are big, and big dogs do more damage when they aren’t trained correctly than small dogs.

Anyone who doesn’t know that shouldn’t have a large dog. Anyone who doesn’t commit to training a dog humanely and carefully shouldn’t have any dog. What does this have to do with “dangerous breeds”? Nothing.

A similar post on cars would be titled the “21 Most Dangerous Cars,” listing the fastest cars, and noting that if someone doesn’t know how to drive them, they are likely to crash at high speeds.

Here is the kicker in the comment on Doberman Pinchers: “Though deaths related to Doberman Pinscher’s have gone down their reputation still remains.” Wait, I thought this was about the most dangerous dogs, not the dogs that people who get their information from rumors and movies are most afraid of. These are among the smartest breeds and the easiest to train. They are great home watch dogs, and might well be dangerous to intruders or those threatening their owners and their families. Good. But that doesn’t mean they are “dangerous.”

And so on. The list pronounces German Shepherds, one of the best family dogs one can own, as “a dangerous breed to have around the home.” It lists bull terriers, which ARE among the breeds lumped in with pit bulls, as not very aggressive, but somewhat more likely to “incite altercations with other dogs.” Huh? Even if true, how does that make the breed dangerous, which implies dangerous to humans? How is a non-aggressive dog ranked the 9th most dangerous dog breed? Did anyone read this junk? Apparently not: “Ranking in at third on our list…” begins the entry on Rottweilers.

Rottweilers are 11th on the list.

Finally, guess which breed is #15? The Labrador Retriever, often #1 on lists of best family dogs, the easiest going, easiest to train, most popular canine pet in the U.S. Best family dog AND one of the most dangerous!

What makes it so dangerous?

“Being one of the most popular dogs in the world, the Labrador ends up in the hands of far more bad owners than any other breed on our list. Bad owners can take the Labrador’s naturally even-tempered and intelligent nature and turn it into an animal that is hard to be around and dangerous by way of biting.”

Oh.

And what is the source for all of this misinformation, bad logic and breed libel? We are never told.

This is why and how the web misinforms more than it informs. The post and the website are disgraceful.

____________________

Pointer: My sister

 

12 Comments

Filed under Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Research and Scholarship, The Internet, Unethical Websites

12 responses to “Unethical Website Of The Month: Daily Forest

  1. Patrice

    I know that this is a particularly emotional topic for you (as it is for me), but this is the tip of the internet misinformation iceberg. There is so much crap out there. And we humans are so freaking naive. Primary sources, people!!! The internet is far more dangerous than most perceived threats.

  2. Wayne

    “The Nazi’s were bad guys.” “They used German Sherpards for their dirty work.” “Therefore, no one should ever own a German Shepard!” Progressive logic.

  3. dragin_dragon

    I’ve owned 5 Malamutes. Only thing I will say about them is that they can smell fear better than most and will take advantage of your fear. But so will any other dog, even a Chihuahua…pronounced, by the way “chi hooa-hooa”. Tongue in cheek, I hope obviously.

  4. This article could have been much less stupid (and much more ethical) if the title had been “21 of the World’s Most Dangerous Dog Breeds (And Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Them)”, or something to that effect. The text of the article could use some improvement as well, but the title is pure scaremongering that doesn’t even match the text.

    • I should note that the picture you picked from the article would actually be great for an article meant to show that these breeds really aren’t murder-beasts. I could do the copy-writing myself: “Here is a mastiff, considered by some to be a dangerous animal. Now look at the mama here with her puppies and tell me you’re still afraid of her.”

  5. pennagain

    big dogs do more damage when they aren’t trained correctly than small dogs.

    Hah! You’ve never had a small dog, have you, Jack? I had a roommate with a chihuahua that didn’t understand English or Spanish, spoken or body language. Poop under the furniture, way under (she liked privacy); dead baby mice behind the refrigerator until they made their presence known, vomit in a flower pot on a window sill (we never figured that one out); chewed holes in down pillows, followed up with the foam ones, then started on my mattress (its memory was severely impaired) until we learned to keep doors closed at all times; pushed disfavored dry food and small toys inside our shoes, way inside up by the toes; and the grand finale …. TA DAA! …. she dumped a load big enough for a Great Dane just inside the front door and somehow pulled a throw rug over it.

    Grateful that my name wasn’t on the lease, I took my rent money elsewhere, sprained ankle and all.

  6. Sean

    Agreed not happy with what i had read. I have phots of me when i was 2 and 3 climbing on a yellow lab. Trying to get into the fish tank. Also owning 12 of the breeds mentioned with no issues in my life span, even visitig friends with some of these breeds they have no right. All stems back to the owner and poor training with any dog including chihuahua which have bitten me more then any other breed i have come across. Make matters worse the owners tend to think its cute or funny.

  7. Alex Volken

    This is kind of off topic but a Daily Forest article titled “Amazing Mysteries Science Just Can’t Explain” lists magnets as lacking an explanation which is just nonsense. They say that science can’t explain why magnets always have a north and south pole, which is complete nonsense. They also claim that “monopole magnets” have been created in the laboratory, which simply isn’t true.

    Why magnets always have a north and south pole is easily explained and has to do with the alignment of their electrons.

    What stupidity.

  8. Kat

    Hello! You unfortunately seem to also be misled. Cane Corso is the proper breed name and spelling. And it is pronounced Kah-nay Corso.

  9. John Gibson

    The Daily Forest was where I found myself on to view an update on Deanna Troi, Marina Sirtis. This silly and rather stupid article had me clicking on at least a hundred parts by women on Star Trek that I had no clue they were on the series and some were so insignificant, but this Daily Forest was using causing readers to flip through screens to read advertisements. I say avoid this Daily Forest as I will, this is the worst kind of blackmail is to advertise news concerning a very well known artist, then in order to get to the final article, one has to struggle through reading all of your bum fuck articles and advertisements in order to read. My hand got tired of clicking on at least a hundred times before a very short paragraph of this leading lady was hidden under ever woman who had played on Star Trek over the years with all your advertisements to go along until finally getting to Ms. Sirtis. Get your act together, people despise being used!

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