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Keeping Animals In Their Place

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
This was an article in a local Toronto newspaper......*sigh*

Keeping Animals In Their Place

There is a link at the bottom of the article to write a letter to the editor.....but what do you say to such a moron?

Edited to add:

You can also read letters being submitted to the editor here:

post #2 of 31
Wow I am speechless after reading this. I will think about this though and I will be sending a letter, rest assured of that.
post #3 of 31
I was going to write, but this person obviously doesn't have a brain, and therefore wouldn't understand anything we would say! Hissy maybe you can help us out to try and figure out what we can say as well?
post #4 of 31
I believe it will fall on deaf ears- but here is my letter:

Dear Sir,

A sadness crept over me as I read your article Keeping Animals in Their Place, because your attitude is one that knows no borders, for I have found in my life here in the United States, that it is shared by many misguided individuals.

You see Sir, people fault the animals wrongly for the problems that occur in what I term careless pet ownership. In a responsible pet ownership, the owner maintains control of their dog by keeping it on a leash, no matter where they might be, or by putting it through obedience class and learning how to control their animals by voice, not by domination. Our German Shepherds travel with us everywhere, and we leave them in the vehicle with the windows down. They are on guard, and they know to stay, and they don't bark, or threaten anyone who comes close to the truck, unless that persone is stupid enough to put their arm inside the truck "to pet the doggies." Then they bark and warn the idiot off.

In the United States, as I am sure it can be said for Canada it is irresponsible pet ownership that causes the problem you write about. It is people who treat the animal as a possession that they can discard at any time. It is not spaying and neutering, not following through with obedience classes not learning fully about a breed they choose before they choose it. It is backyard breeders out for a buck, and some of the pet stores that supply the demand for that buck.

It is a PEOPLE problem sir, that trickles down to the animals. But the animal is the convenient scapegoat, and easily blamed. It is veterinarians who refuse to lower their prices (even once a month to do a spay and neuter clinic), and it is money being stripped away from animal control, and animal shelters, making their job all that much more difficult.

People such as myself, during kitten season often find ourselves pushed to the limit caring for litters of pregnant cats dumped out in the world to survive, because after all the general thinking is "it is just a cat." It is a great lack of understanding on the public's part in understanding the dynamics behind responsible pet care, and the ones who pay the price in the end are the animals. The United States is killing approximately 15 million domestic animals every year, tell me sir, where is their place in all this?

Mary Anne Miller
post #5 of 31
Your letter reflects my sentiments exactly, Mary Anne!
post #6 of 31
VERY well-witten letter!!!
post #7 of 31
Thanks, I was a bit upset at this reporter's take of the situation and I think some of my letter could have been put together better.
post #8 of 31
This is my letter, I'm sending it right now. I was in absolute tears while writing this, I am in utter disbelief that someone could be so ignorant to the feelings of pet owners in our city.

After reading your article I was absolutely speechless. As an owner of three cats, I was appalled at your opinions on the pet poisonings.

"I'm sure we'll know soon who decided there were too many dogs in the city and figured they'd do something about it. It was a stupid thing to do. But desperate times call for desperate measures"

This statement literally made me sick. These are not sick, rabid dogs that we are talking about, these are people's pets that they love and care for. Animal overpopulation problems are due to irresponsible pet owners, who decide to have a pet and then do not properly take care of them. Spaying/neutering animals is the cure to this problem, not poisoning them.

"...that the vet-to-animal ratio has been increasing over the past decade while the doctor-to-person ratio has been steadily decreasing and that there are now 122 communities in Ontario with a doctor-shortage and about a million Ontarians who don't have a family doctor. "

I'm sorry, but the last time I checked, these two problems had nothing to do with one another and one is not a direct result of the other. Many people would say the doctor shortage problem has to do with factors such as braindrain, economic problems and overpopulation in urban areas (does this not seem more logical)?

"The real problem here is the nature and degree of our emotional investment in these creatures."

This is a statement of someone who has never owned or cared for a pet. Responsible pet ownership is all about an emotional investment, and I don't think people like me should be criticized for treating our animals with love and respect.

"We like to think cats purr because they're pleased to be with us, though based on the fact that they also purr when terrified in the presence of humans -- say, at the vet -- the more reasonable explanation is that they purr in order to placate us and ensure their own safety..."

I can tell you with conviction that animals DO have feelings and are capable of being happy and loving with their owners. People who do not feel this way view animals as objects and therefore end up mistreating them. Animals feel pain just as much as you or I and just because they are 1/10 our size does not mean that they are not important.

In closing, you have written a very ignorant article. It makes me sad to know that someone is poisoning animals but it breaks my heart to read this misinformed speech about how we should not care about them. I hope that every pet owner who reads your article writes you an angry reply.

PS I will no longer read Eye Weekly, this article was completely insensitive, as many pet owners I know are outraged by these poisonings. Free speech is fine, but this article crossed a line and I am disgusted that it was printed.
post #9 of 31
EXCELLENT letter!!!!
post #10 of 31
Good letters!

I can't believe this man's insensitivity. I hope he doesn't have children or pets. Can you picture him trying to comfort a child whose pet died? He probably wouldn't even try.
post #11 of 31
He does sound fed-up and I wonder what personal experience might have put him over the edge? I keep thinking about the reporter who did that piece on Samoa- and what happened over the course of having so many cat lovers bombard him about his less than insightful piece. How he turned his heart around and actually helped the cat in the end- so these types of people can have a change of heart.
post #12 of 31
I was thinking about the Samoa story, too. We can only hope lots of people send letters and this guy has a change of heart.
post #13 of 31
The letters are excellent. I doubt that they will change the author's opinion of pets, as he has obviously never formed an emotional bond with an animal, but they may cause the paper to think twice about publishing such one-sided views. And one thing was not touched upon - suppose a young child had found, and eaten, such an insecticide-laced hot dog?
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by jcat
And one thing was not touched upon - suppose a young child had found, and eaten, such an insecticide-laced hot dog?
When I posted this last night, I didn't have time to give any background to the situation. Withrow Park is a leash free park that both pet owners and non-pet owners use. There has been ongoing tension in this park because of dog fights and owners not taking reponsibility for their dogs. Neighbours are worried about taking their children to this park because of the lack of control by pet owners.

When this poisoning happened, two children who were playing in the area did become ill over the weekend, but recovered. Now the City of Toronto is going to put a chain link fence around the park till the snow melts and all poisons can be confirmed to be gone. Now the people are complaining that they don't want the fence to be built. Ummm....people...there are TOXIC substances in the park & the city is doing the right thing by keeping people away from the area until the snow clears. What's that old saying....you can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time. Get a grip people, you will have your park back by the spring.

Here are links with more info:

Withrow Park Poisoning Scare

Withrow Park: Fence Debate

** Also, the original article is found in Toronto's Eye magazine. This is a free magazine for people to pick up at subway stops in Toronto. I think that is the only reason an article like this would make it to print. Thanks everyone for your letters!
post #15 of 31
With so many new people, perhaps this thread should be posted here, so they can see the power of words spoken softly instead of angrily-

Osama/Samoa Story
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for including that M.A.! It's an excellent thread to show how effective words and actions can be when done correctly.

post #17 of 31
What an idiot!

Great letter
post #18 of 31
I feel SO sorry for someone who cannot see the love animals have in their heart or feel the love they give. What a sad life.
post #19 of 31
i am sad to say that the magazine has emailed me back about my letter and their response is absolutely ridiculous:

Dear Kate:

Thank you for your thoughful letter. I am, however, puzzled by your final remarks, which seem to betray a lack of
intelligence that was present throughout the rest of your letter. If you would not like to read eye Weekly in the
future, that is your choice. All of us have different preferences in reading material.

However, the comment "free speech is fine, but this article crossed a line" reads to any intelligent reader as "free
speech is fine, as long as I agree with the speaker."

In what way did Mr. Archer (who has been subject by lovers of animal life to several dozen death threats since
expressing his honest and reasoned -- if perhaps flawed -- opinon) cross a line? By offending you? By forcing
you to actually think about what you believe and come up with coherent reasons for why you believe it?

By the end of this week, as you will know if you look at the paper, we will have devoted more than twice (and by
the following week, more than three times) as much space to the opinions of animal lovers who disagree with Mr.
Archer than we did to his original opinion. It strikes me that the only reason to remain outraged at his expression
of his opinion, in the face of the publishing of yours and other dissenting opionions, is if you somehow feel that
your own argument is so irredeemably weak as to ultimately not bear consideration. In which case, I would say
that you have crossed a line (it's called fascism). And for that I feel sad.

I never, usually, respond to letters to the editor. And I disagree with Mr. Archer (who owns four pets) about the
feelings and worth of animals. Yet I feel compelled to respond to some of you who have responded to him
because of the incohate, misdirected rage that Mr. Archer has been subject to.

And for the record, nowhere in the article does Mr. Archer suggest that poisoning pets is a good thing. In fact
he calls it stupid and says that it should be a crime. He merely offered that in a world where millions of humans
starve and we are actively killing thousands of others through warfare, we may want to consider where our moral
priorities should lie.

If you disagree, that's entirely fine. But to say he has crossed some line of acceptable speech is just absurd. And

Best regards,

Edward Keenan
Associate Editor
eye Weekly

what does everyone think of this???
post #20 of 31
I think that pisses me off to no end and the editor is just as stupid, and maybe even more so! If he was so against the article as he says he was, then why was it published? And he obviously doesn't read the articles he edits fully because Mr. Archer DID say that posioning was right in one way or another, he said that it needed to be done, am I not right? I wish I could give him my full opinion without being so rude, but it is hard to think of anything. I think I will go right something though....this makes me sooooo mad!
post #21 of 31
Well, I think the letter is fine except for the fact that it's completely condescending and rude. I think if he cannot keep from replying to certain letters that ruffle his feathers in such a way, he needs a new line of work.
post #22 of 31
Shocking!!. Obviously not an animal lover.

post #23 of 31
To consider pets mere property, disregarding their pain, is just dense. And to say that someone who is cruel to animals shouldn't be punished? Hasn't it been proven that there's a connection between cruelty to animals and escalating aggression & violence toward people?

I appreciate that others have written back to make their own more compassionate points. He does have the right to free speech, but it's always good to have others exercise their right to rebuttal.

Thanks, guys.

* That park poisoning is scary! I strongly suggest that anyone who has dogs teach them "leave it" - not to pick up tidbits or treats off the ground unless you tell them it's allright. It can save an upset stomach from picking up unidentifiable gross stuff off the sidewalk, and in this case, might save a life.
post #24 of 31
We at TCS have, well, won a battle today! Here is what I found in my inbox this morning:

Dear Kate:

The response I sent to your letter on Friday was, I realize, rash and innapropriate. It is the policy of eye Weekly
not to respond to letters to the editor -- and that is my personal policy as well -- because we believe that once we
have published something, it is our pleasure and obligation to hear what our readers think about it. You
responded in an emotional and thoughtful way, and I thank you for sharing your opinion with us. Sorry for any
offense I may have caused in the frustration of the moment (frustration actually not caused by you, but by
others) when I responded to your letter.


Edward Keenan

This makes me feel better, i wasn't mad that he "disagreed" with my letter, i was upset at the language he used (calling me a faschist!). i felt that he was treating me like my opinion was stupid because i care about animals so much. i guess what i'm saying is he didn't HAVE to apologize (i sure as h*ll didn't for my letter) so this email came as a nice surprise!
post #25 of 31
He probably got told off by his boss and was told to apologise.

I can't believe that this is happening.
post #26 of 31
I think that is wonderful. After I read his first reply to you I wrote him and, I tried my best to not be rude. So hopefully when we responded he understood what was going on? I respect him for writing his second reply to you, I am glad he did!(and there is no reason why you would even need to think about apologizing for your letter!)
post #27 of 31
Originally posted by Kiwideus
He probably got told off by his boss and was told to apologise.

That was my reaction as well. If this was the fellow who approved the op-ed piece, he has probably gotten into hot water with the owners of the magazine. I was looking at the recent edition and was surprised when I realized that this was an arts/entertainment weekly publication. While a newspaper/magazine certainly can publish something on any topic it chooses, to publish an obnoxious & offensive opinion about something that has absolutely nothing to do with the subjects covered by the publication really makes me wonder about this editor's judgement. I'm sure that they have lost subscriptions over this.
post #28 of 31
The editor just called me. They are going to publish my letter.
post #29 of 31
Hey! That is too cool! You go girl!!!
post #30 of 31
Kate, I'd keep that first reply safely tucked away just in case this debacle gets ugly.

It seems to me that objective reporting isn't done in this particular publication.
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