Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Serious Links

Frequent commentor Matt Miller is blogging for The Nature Conservancy. Here he is on falconry. And here are his other posts to date.

Holly at NorCal Cazadora has the first original essay on why we love to hunt that I have seen in a long time. A hint, from a quote from Temple Grandin: "Wild animals don't want a free lunch. The reason they like working for their food is that it feels good."

What satisfaction anyone would get from poaching trophies from a helicopter is beyond me, but some New Russian big shots apparently didn't think that way. Karma is a bitch, huh?

There can be many unintended consequences that shake out from mandatory spay- neuter laws.


Heather Houlahan said...

The shelter dog shortage is NOT in places that have attempted to mandate pet sterilization. The pounds are still full in those places.

The shelter dog shortage is in parts of the country where voluntary neutering has been the social norm for decades, and where low-cost programs make it available for people who want to conform to the social norm.

In my experience, southern and midwestern rural pound dogs are less prevalently "pit bulls" than in some other places -- but they are not automatically better pets. There is a gross oversupply of coonhounds and beagles (and their mixed descendants) in rural Appalachia and the south. These dogs are quite often unsatisfactory in the role of suburban hearth ornament. In many ways, the average urban dog-pound "pit bull" takes on that role better than these active hunting hounds.

Yet no one rails about the "coonhound problem" or "those people" who insist on breeding beagles.

Steve Bodio said...

Please don't see me as one of the anti- pitbull faction! They are one of my favorite dogs after my tazis, and Bandit is a favorite book.

Just yesterday Libby kept a nice young pit male (who turned out to have dug under his fence) in the PO until they found his owners-- you can do that in small towns. We also have a friend here who breeds them. If we didn't have a pack of tazis (and new pups today-- post in draft) we would doubtless have one.

I love scenthounds but find them a bit dim.

dr. hypercube said...

I agree with Heather - Herzog pulls a switcheroo from spay and neuter campaigns (successful) to spay and neuter laws (mostly nonexistent here in the northeast). Anecdotally (n.b. plural of anecdote is not data), I see a lot of what he describes - most mixed breeds in my obedience classes are from away - southern US mainly, though the Caribbean is starting to supply dogs too. Thank goodness, not too many scenthounds or scenthound crosses - I agree with both of you - not the most biddable family pet.

I don't know what to suggest anymore when people are looking for 'just a dog'. The AKC has boned up the genetics of so many breeds (I'm thinking labs and goldens esp.), a mutt is getting harder to find, and I quail at the thought of paying a grand for a 'designer cross' - a Jack Shit(zu) or whatever the current state of the art is there.

No answers here (other than my determination to avoid the AKC when I can - which at this point is pretty much 100% of the time).

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks for the link, and thanks especially for the sentiment!