A Hopeful Ethics Note

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Here’s at least one example of the culture getting more ethical. It might not seem like much, but ask a Jack Russell Terrier, and you’ll understand.

Gradually, dog owners and breeders are stopping the practice of docking—that is, cutting—the ears and tails of puppies so they conform to arbitrary breed standards. The reason is simple: it is cruel and pointless, and the dogs look just as good, indeed better, the natural way.

I first noticed this trend years ago when I saw this breed at a dog show:

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I had no idea what it was. I asked, was told it was a natural example of the breed I was used to seeing this way…

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Yes, it’s a Great Dane. In recent years, fewer and fewer owners are opting for the ear operation, allowing the breed to keep the ears that reflect its English Mastiff ancestry.

This beautiful, loving, smart breed dog usually has both its tale and its ears cropped, the tail down to a nub:

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More Unethical Anti-Dog Slander by The Daily Beast

It is odd that a news website called “The Daily Beast” is engaging in an ongoing effort to misinform and frighten the public regarding dogs. Someone—publisher Tina Brown perhaps?—in The Daily Beast’s lair must have been badly frightened by a puppy at some point in his or her life, leading to an irrational fear of dogs and mind-blowing ignorance regarding them. Earlier this year, the site published two unhinged calls for the eradication of  anything resembling a pit bull by a writer whose pet was attacked by one. At the moment, The Daily Beast features a gallery with the ominous title “39 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds” that had to be assembled by some one who has seldom seen a real dog, much less owned one. On the home page, the feature is placed under the heading, “Beware of the Dog.”

The criteria for the ranking is completely mysterious—several of the breeds listed, for example, have exactly one attack attached to them. The gallery itself is riddled with errors and is actually quite funny, if one knows anything about dogs at all. In addition to being careless and incompetent, the feature is dishonest, and seems to be calculated to make people irrationally frightened of dogs, when in fact the relationship between human and canines is one of life’s great and fortunate pleasures. Continue reading