AKC isn't the U.S. Calvary and Animal Rights Legislation isn't a movie. The AR fight is nearly over and the American Kennel Club isn't coming to the rescue
Sept. 16, 2009
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
In April, we speculated on the newly elected AKC Board's First 100 Days and how much of the American Kennel Club's $50 million cash reserve would be spent to preserve the sport of dogs
Superbly organized and funded, Animal Rightists upped the ante. Legislative Groups and Kennel Clubs fought valiantly; sure that rescue was on the way because we had just elected four new American Kennel Club board members (#1) offering new hope to AKC watchers. The fancy rallied to support them.
We did too. The Dog Press was sparred the barrage of press releases that emanated from New York, all dutifully printed in Dog News and other dog magazines. Thankfully, we didn't feel obliged to play the Judas role. The editorial decision was to refrain from comment, be positive, and fervently hope the bugle would sound and AKC would come galloping in to rescue the sport at the last minute. Just like in the movies.
The first 100 days passed (#2) as dog clubs and Legislative groups fought valiantly – alone. One by one, they realized that AKC rhetoric is a poor substitute for ammunition and supplies. It has now been SIX MONTHS and we are outspent, outmaneuvered, overwhelmed and overrun by HSUS forces. Where is the Calvary?
Wagons circled and hope of rescue abandoned, the battered dog fancy wonders what went wrong. The real leaders are in the trenches with us. They need tangible reinforcements with which to preserve the sport. They look to the horizon and see that AKC has raked in over $200 million in the last three years and spent virtually nothing fighting AR legislation.
Typical of Madison Avenue, AKC Executive salaries (#3) are comparable to that of our nation's Executive Branch. The Fancy handsomely supports AKC yet AKC fails to support show breeders.
Besieged and surrounded, the troops are deserting because any reasonable person with an ounce of business sense has come to the conclusion that AKC is determinedly ignoring Animal Rights legislation. It highly touted Government Relations Dept. only gives advice while clubs are putting up billboards and taking out newspaper ads to inform the public? When registrations are plummeting and clubs are folding, why doesn't AKC take direct action to protect its BUSINESS? And the most crucial question of all; What exactly is AKC's business? It pays no taxes, spawns other C-3s like an over-sexed salmon, and financially supports politicians that support Animal Rights legislative agendas. (#4)
Entries are so bad there are no majors except when die-hards build one. (A tenuous solution when judges like Houston Clark dismiss an entire class for lack of quality.) Low entries and dwindling membership have already signaled the end for many kennel clubs. This doesn't seem to matter to American Kennel Club because contrary to the PR drivel, show breeders are not the “core constituency” and as they abandon the sport, future entries will be comprised of commercially bred dogs. Puppy mills and backyard breeders have always been the “cash cow,” i.e. the core constituency of AKC. The American Kennel Club cannot refute copies of its own memos and quotes.
Most breeders and dog owners haven't a clue as to what goes on at 15 Mad Ave. Before The Dog Press, the political positioning, motivation and goals of AKC were a well kept secret. Today the cognizant understand that Animal Rights legislation actually hastens getting us bothersome “show breeders” out of the way. We offer glitz, glamour, and prestige for televised shows which bring in a lot of money for AKC coffers but we are also pain-in-the-neck, nickels and dimes compared to commercial breeder income. AKC has actively courted puppy mill business since the sixties, a delicate balancing act but suddenly, along comes HSUS and Animal Rights legislation and we are about to be history. The American Kennel Club hasn't violated its NY State Charter but is has already its constitution…
AR legislation is fueled and funded by groups like the HSUS. It is honorable and obligatory for purebred dog owners to fight animal rights but wait, has AKC ever gone on the record along with us? Think now. What counter-attack or purebred promotions have you ever seen in print, on television, billboards or any other media? We've been so busy circling the wagons to fight the Animal Rightists, we missed the bugle call? Hardly. It is simply not AKC's fight, in fact, Animal Rights legislation serves a purpose. It means the end of show breeders, most of whom have small breeding programs in their homes. The majority will give up breeding rather than submit to loss of liberty and unlawful fees imposed by “bought and paid for” politicians. How handy. That leaves only commercial breeders because they are immune to AR legislation. Think. They are already licensed, regulated, and inspected (?) by USDA.
AKC has done next to nothing to fight the anti-animal, anti-purebred, adopt-from-a-shelter, animal rights campaign. The American Kennel Club spends only pennies of its vast reserves to preserve “the sport.” AKC bemoans the freefall drop in registrations (down another 12% in the first quarter with slightly over 63,000 dogs registered) but does it address the real problem – the threat of animal rights legislation and whacko attacks? No. It launches a new, highly touted PR campaign to “Register Every Puppy” which in case you hadn't thought about it, subtly blames us for the problem.
The sport is in trouble because show breeders have cut back on shows and/or stopped breeding. They are afraid to breed and afraid to advertise!!! Keeping a low profile to escape animal rights legislation and local codes, breeders can't sell their puppies so why would they continue to show? Fewer people are buying purebred dogs.
The animal rightists have done their job well, convincing the public that buying a purebred means a shelter dog dies. AKC has done nothing to counteract PETA's clever concept. I was wrong in predicting that Allan Kalter would do his marketing magic on behalf of AKC and purebred dogs. He is, I'm told, the largest privately owned advertising/marketing agency in the U.S. AKC must have shackled his extraordinary talent. Ask yourself why.
Take a hard look at where we are today and what AKC has NOT done to preserve the sport. Then ask yourself the 200 million dollar question – why isn't AKC spending whatever it takes to defeat the AR agenda? It can't afford NOT to!
Once again, I beg any club or legislative group that has received AKC funding, court costs paid - actual dollars with which to fight proposed legislation, let us hear from you. No one wants to be wrong more than this editor and since no one on the AKC Board Of Directors (or staff) has ever responded to these questions, the press has to depend on you. Please email the editor and prove me wrong.
Dig up more GOLD on how AKC Supported PAWS and betrayed everyone who fought it
#1 New AKC Board Members History made with Board Expansion and Term Limits
#2 The First 100 Days What will AKC do with the $50 million it has tucked away?
#3 AKC Executive Salaries revealed, disgusting in a time of crisis for all breeders!
#4 AKC's contribution to PAWS co-sponsor Senator Rick Santorum.
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