In the debate over whether pit bulls should be banned, Montreal's mayor has demonstrated rare grit. It takes backbone to stand firmly against every professional organization on the continent, and to embrace heroic ignorance. I stress: Mayor Denis Coderre is not rejecting "some" expert groups. He's not sneering at "the majority." He's rejecting every single one. Every. Single. One.
Bravo, mayor. Short may you prosper.
Ah, but the mayor laughs -- Ha! Je ris! -- at specialists who have studied the matter, and who have concluded that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) does absolutely nothing to reduce dog bites, and means the slaughter of thousands of innocent pets.
When local citizens oppose these worthless measures, they too are treated with royal contempt. I urge you to watch the video below. It's disgraceful. A Montreal resident, Kim Doucet, stands at an open hearing to confront the mayor with the proven fact that breed bans have worked literally nowhere in the world. Coderre's democratic response (midway through the argument) is: "Coupe le micro."
If you're français-deprived, that means: "Cut the mic." And the mic is duly cut. Thank you, Mayor. You're a peach. May your silenced constituents vote you into oblivion.
Sure, but what kind of mayor listens to mere citizens? That's hardly his job. So let's revisit those expert organizations, shall we. By "experts," I don't mean pompous pseudo-scientists who hate pit bulls, but qualified professionals who rely on peer-reviewed articles written by actual scientists and published in major international journals. Perhaps you require names? Well, I've written about this recently, but to recap and expand, the legislation Mayor Coderre is forcing down the collective throat of his city has been scorned by the following (and this is by no means a complete list):
1. Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec
2, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
3. SPCA Montréal
4. Humane Society International/Canada
5. Ontario Health and Safety Board
6. Toronto Humane Society
7. Canadian Kennel Club
8. National Animal Control Association
9. National Animal Interest Alliance
10. National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors
11. International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
12. International Association of Canine Professionals
13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
14. Best Friends Animal Society
15. Humane Society of the United States
16. American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
17. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
18. Association of Pet Dog Trainers
19. Animal Behavior Society
20. American Kennel Club
21. American Humane
22. American Bar Association
23. American Dog Owners Association
24. American Veterinary Medical Association
25. American Working Dog Federation
26. American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
27. The, uh, White House
Eyes glazed yet? Sorry, but sometimes ennui is instructive. Note that I'm restricting myself to a select group of North Americans here -- I'd hate to bore you even further with a more comprehensive list, but you're welcome to Google the entire civilized world.
Oh, come on: isn't there even one prominent group in Canada or the U.S. in favor of banning pit bulls? Not one? Okay, it's only fair to note that there is one. Not a professional organization, by any stretch, but famous. In the way that Kim Kardashian is famous. This would be PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA's argument isn't based upon anything remotely scientific, of course, but it's deeply felt. And that's what matters. Their caring founder goes further in the way of Breed Specific Legislation than most: she has called for every living pit bull taking refuge in a shelter to leave that safe haven in a body bag. (She's big on animals leaving shelters in body bags. It's more than just a hobby for her; you might say that it's a calling.) So, if you're the kind of person -- a sterling, Coderre-like type -- who stands firm with the vile, the confused, and the famous, you might wish to take this into account: PETA's on your side.
Don't get me wrong. I have a great vat of admiration for this mayor. A brimming trough, even. Let's face it: there's an unprincipled bias, worldwide, in favor of science. Far too many people have kneejerk respect for intelligence and rigor. It takes fortitude to lift the executive schnozz in disdain at those "science whores," and to insist that the city swallow mayor-approved medicine, even if it won't make constituents any safer, will seize and kill many of their pets, and will put a significant dent in the municipal budget. Hey, who cares about mere dollars? Or dogs? Or humans? What matters is to be stout, unwavering, righteously deaf, and benthically ignorant.
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