The PAWS "Breeder" Exemption
Was the whole PAWS battle just a charade to make a billion-dollar USDA inspection deal palatable? Is that why the AKC Chairman testified in support of the PAWS bill?
Barbara J. Andrews,
The National Rifle Association,
SAOVA, and other
powerful lobbying groups that are well
represented in local and state economy/tax/license structures
are vigorously fighting PAWS. Most notably, we were NOT backed by our organization.
Is it possible that the unusually effective opposition from hunters and
the only unexpected glitch? So the "PAWS exemption" was
cleverly turned into a pacifier for a
gullible dog fancy?
If so, it worked. We
were thrilled with being exempted even though (predictably) we
didn't read it or don’t understand it.
Oh "they" know us. We’re told it was a victory by the very people who want PAWS
passed. We've been spoon fed the idea that PAWS was inevitable.
We’re told AKC fought for us every step of the way and that
ultimately those efforts brought about an exemption for us
elite show breeders.
But wait, the only significant change is in this statement from AKC. “The modifications include an additional exemption for breeders who sell dogs and cats only at retail and are in compliance with certified kennel inspection standards, such as those of the AKC.” That sentence is loaded! The fact is, if you breed more than six litters OR (note the word is "or" not “and”) sell more than 25 dogs you are not exempt.
There was also some re-wording to exempt a “non-profit organization that receives federal approval” or “a shelter or rescue organization that does not import for resale or operate for profit.” Expect a rush of non-profit applications from every toy breeder who might exceed six litters or hound breeders who can exceed 25 pups in three litters! Note shelters are exempt and yes, they will continue to import saleable dogs while killing thousands of not-as-adoptable dogs.
But here’s the kicker, direct from AKC. If
you exceed the 6 litters or 25 dogs exemption, if it PAWS
becomes reality, the "hobby breeder" exemption would apply only
you are inspected by a non-profit organization that receives
federal approval such as AKC.”
For you, nothing has changed.
There is no exemption for co-bred litters. If your name is on the sale or breeding of more than six litters or 25 dogs,
you must expose your sales records and your home to inspection!!! What has changed is that now, presumably as planned from the
very beginning, you will be
inspected by AKC and that
service will be paid for with a never-ending flow of tax dollars.
The most common
phrase now (sadly) associated with AKC is "it's all about the
money." I predicted
last Sept. 2005 that PAWS fit that phrase. So did a handful of other journalists who
feared PAWS more than the wrath of AKC.
Our backs went up over AKC's embrace of the puppy
mills (otherwise known as the HVBC) and even though in the end,
show breeders rolled over, PAWS was not as easily swallowed.
Consequently, a little more care is
now being taken in how things are marketed to an increasingly
wary dog fancy. A recent AKC press statement is a great example
“’These problems need to be addressed for the sake of dogs and
the pet buying public,’ said Menaker. "However, it is also
essential that we maintain the sport and hobby of purebred dog
breeding and exhibiting as it is today, an activity regulated by
our own rigorous compliance standards. The new exemption
provision and other changes secured through AKC’s work with Sen.
Santorum and other interest groups helps PAWS achieve that
The verbiage is deliberately
confusing. In October 2005,
we dared speculate that AKC would benefit from a never-ending
flood of PAWS-generated money. The December AKC press release
indicates that will be a done deal!! Twelve words buried in glowing
“AKC's kennel inspection programs and standards
are certified by the Secretary of Agriculture.”
ya go. The stage is set.
Rolling right on past that earth shaking statement, AKC proudly points out “The kennel standards certified by the Secretary must be at least equivalent to those required by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act.” Amazing, we're told after-the-fact and matter-of-fact, as though its no big deal.
While digesting that bit of news,
one might wonder if that “standard” is the same one which proscribes
calling the puppy mill to notify of an inspection appointment?
Would those be the standards that ignore incredibly inhumane
conditions despite “USDA inspection” as recorded and broadcast a
few years ago a two-part special entitled Doomed Dogs Of Missouri? Have things changed
significantly? Well yes, if we believe the AKC officials who
were the guests of the ever-growing, mega-miller Hunte
These are my opinions based on both solid AKC
information and the knowledge that the new inspection deal
represents a fountain of funds that never run dry. If PAWS isn't
defeated in its entirety, we will rue the day big business and
political handshakes put hobby breeders in the same category as
puppy mills, oh, excuse me, High Volume Breeders
So go ahead, talk to yourself. Ask yourself
(and answer) some questions before you register your next litter
with the American Kennel Club, which notably, is the
registry participating or benefiting from PAWS. Others
may cave, but only the American Kennel Club wants PAWS.
I have happily invested forty years
exhibiting our dogs. I would never knowingly misjudge AKC. I am
told by a higher-up in AKC that I’m “known to be critical of AKC” and I plead guilty but
it is my self-inflicted job to question and report what AKC
does! I've done so in my columns since the late sixties
and if I’ve ever been wrong (on any observation regarding AKC), it has not been brought to my attention by anyone,
least of all by the AKC. Questioning the method
and motivation behind PAWS makes me less than popular at the
moment but like any hot potato, it needs to be opened up.
When journalists report something
sick and the
bad guys are excised for the overall good of the people it’s like cutting away a cancer. It may
be painful but it's healthy in the long run. Having been told
I’m fighting a hopeless battle and been warned to “stay out
of it” signals something inherently wrong with PAWS and the
motivation behind it.
You should make up your own mind. To that end, I share this self-congratulatory quote from the American Kennel Club, “AKC is extremely pleased with recent developments regarding PAWS. As Mr. Menaker stated in his Chairman’s Report last month 'The success of any legislation in Congress is uncertain, but we will continue to represent the needs and voice the concerns of our breeders in this legislative process. We are proud to continue to sit at the table as an equal, as we have since the introduction of this legislation, and strive to make a real difference that benefits our responsible breeders and the welfare of all dogs.”’
you to the AKC website for more information.