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PETA to Obama: wanting a purebred dog is elitist

Lizzie_a_goldendoodle_2 It's no big secret that Barack and Michelle Obama have promised their daughters a dog once the presidential campaign is over. But with the family reportedly considering a hypoallergenic goldendoodle (Lizzie, at right, is one), animal groups have been offering loads of advice on what breeds they should buy--or adopt--instead.

The American Kennel Club has asked Americans to vote on list of five "hypoallergenic" breeds, and the Best Friends Animal Society wants the Obamas to adopt that dog from an animal shelter, saying that to buy an animal from a breeder would be unethical while millions of animals face euthanasia in animal shelters.

The latest to weigh in is Ingrid E. Newkirk, President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who wrote a letter to the Obamas today, urging them to adopt a mutt and saying, "This country is proud to be a melting pot, and there is something deeply wrong and elitist about wanting only a purebred dog."

"Millions of Great American Mutts—the dog that should be our national dog—are set to die in our nation’s extremely overcrowded pounds and shelters for lack of good homes," she wrote. "Compassionate people nationwide are choosing to adopt a homeless pound puppy—a grateful refugee from a society that has not always treated the true 'underdog' kindly—rather than cater to special interests who do not have dogs’ interests at heart."

So it looks like PETA is trying to appeal to Obama's pledge to keep special interests--in this case, dog breeders--out of politics. Which is interesting, considering PETA is a special interest itself. We'll probably have to wait until after the election to find out if the group's tactic worked.

The full letter after the jump....

--Tony Barboza

July 28, 2008

The Honorable Barack Obama and Family

John C. Kluczynski Federal Office Building, Ste. 3900

230 South Dearborne

Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Senator and Mrs. Obama:

We hope you are well. We understand that greedy dog breeders are panting and drooling over the prospect that prominent figures may unwittingly promote their business and may try to “sell” you on the idea of getting a purebred dog. I’d like to give you some important information before you make your choice.

Senator, no one needs to tell you that this country is proud to be a melting pot, and that there is something deeply wrong and elitist about wanting only a purebred dog. Millions of Great American Mutts—the dog that should be our national dog—are set to die in our nation’s extremely overcrowded pounds and shelters for lack of good homes. Compassionate people nationwide are choosing to adopt a homeless pound puppy—a grateful refugee from a society that has not always treated the true “underdog” kindly—rather than cater to special interests who do not have dogs’ interests at heart.

Adopting an animal not only saves a life, but demonstrates compassion, and the companion animal overpopulation crisis deserves attention from all Americans. Every animal purchased from a breeder or a pet shop takes a home away from a needy animal at an animal shelter, waiting and hoping for a chance at the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness Please let us know if we can assist you. I can be reached at 757-622-7382, extension 8302. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

President and Founder

Comments () | Archives (24)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I'm an animal lover, a dog owner, and I believe that dogs should be adopted from shelters and rescue groups before they are bought from breeders, but . . .

PETA. Meh. They make me want to go eat a steak and wear a leather coat.

I live in Chicago and I will definitely vote for Obama. However, John McCain is a big time animal lover and has an array of pets. Men of good character have many four legged friends.

You have to love ignorant activists. A Goldendoodle is a mix-breed dog.

Buying a pup froma reputable breeder is your best guarantee of long relationship with a healthy aniumal.

Mr. Mulroy you have GOT to be kidding. The so-called GoldenDoodle is what is being referred to as a 'vanity' breed...as if breeding wasn't bad enough, now we are purposefully breeding even beyond standard breeds. Every animal in a shelter is a 'vanity' breed...Adopting from a breeder perpetuates this arrogance and adopting from a pet store perpetuates the horrific cruelty of the puppy mills that stack their supply. Do your homework, Mr. Mulroy. Research puppy mills. Research the percentage of animals adopted from breeders who arrive with genetic abnormalities or worse. Most importantly, as long as over 4 million animals continue to be euthanized in US animal shelters EVERY YEAR, the term 'reputable breeder' is nothing more than an oxymoron. You may think that activists are arrogant but i believe you are misguided sir. It is compassion that drives any advocate to suggest a shelter adoption vs. a 'purchase' from the big money machine of purebred, AKC animals. If you truly care about animals, do your homework so that people will respect your comments instead of snicker at them.

First of all the man hasn't even won the race...To say that he wants a dog if he wins makes me laugh, how come he doesn’t even own one now....And do you really think that a President even has time to even care for a dog? ....I also agree with Tony on adopting a dog from a shelter, and it should be a buyer first decision... to help save my buddies…..

From the living-creature angle, yes, all dogs are equally worthwhile and equally loveable until proven otherwise on an individual basis. (Yes, that's a sneaky little anti-breed-ban moment there.)

From the practical investment angle for an addition to your family, however, well, which car would you buy? The one at the used-car lot that has a lot of personality and no guarantee, or the one with the background report, a reliability record, and a warranty? A REAL reputable breeder can give you those. A backyard breeder or a puppy-miller doesn't know what those are. And at the animal shelter, you're taking your chances on what someone else threw away.

I have four dogs. Two are from shelters; two are pups from breeders. I love all four to bits, but in future I'm sticking with breeders who can answer ALL my well-researched questions with better answers than, "Well, it's never shown up in our lines so we don't look for it." Like any other choice in life, there's a chance involved, and after several sets of neuroses in the dogs I didn't raise myself, and some pretty darned good results and luck in the researched ones I did, I'm not taking those big chances anymore. Not every animal in the shelter is a good dog, any more than every human in jail secretly has a good heart and can be rehabilitated. Claiming otherwise puts people in danger.

The fact of the matter is, a BREED has a set of traits you can count on having. For instance, if you have cattle, you want a cattle dog, not a yorkie; if you have a fragile aunt who visits often, it's the other way around. That cute puppy at the pound may have drives you can't consider when you have no idea what its parents were. It's not about "elitism." It's about keeping your family safe by knowing whether this model has an off switch or not.

viewallsides, you're adorable. I just love your passionate peta rhetoric that come straight from the pages of their fliers and pamphlets. Truly inspiring. But out of those four million animals that are euthanized every year, how many of those dogs went to puppy heaven at the hands of peta? Be sure you do your homework!!

This is America, we have a choice to do what we want so don't force your morals upon me or Senator Obama. Your energies would be better spent on the morons who get a dog or cat then bring them to the shelter because they are moving and can't have a dog, or "she chewed my shoes", or I don't have room for them, etc, etc.

True, there are many fine dogs and cats at the shelter, but if I want a purebred because of tempermant, appearance, whatever, it is my choice. Don't impose your values on me! By the way, I have a purebred Cairn Terrier I got from the Animal Shelter 7 years ago, does that make me elitist?

If you want a poodle mix, then by all means get it from your shelter/pound/rescue, and not from a petshop or disigner breeder. But do it to save a life and ward off the suffering of countless dogs in the comercial breeding system, not at the request of an organization which would have ALL domestic animals eliminated.

I agree: Sen. Obama, you should get your daughters a dog from the pound or a rescue group.. You are setting a bad example for your daughters...

Viewallsides, how does PETA feel about shooting fish in a barrell?

PETA can stuff itself up its own nose. They're wrong about fur (the little dead bodies go to make, guess what, PET FOOD, also fertilizer and a bunch of other stuff) and they're wrong about this. They're a bunch of uppity, self-important, self-aggrandizing control freaks who want nothing less than to impose their will on the entire world. I say we make pets out of THEM...

Um, Obama specifically mentioned "hypoallergenic" -- exactly how likely is it that he will find a hypoallergenic dog in a shelter? Even if there is a hypoallergenic dog in a shelter, how do you get any indication of that before you take the dog home? If he knows a family member is allergic to dog dander, he's better off going to a reputable breeder.

I wouldn't trust a man that has no pets. What does that say about his level of compassion for the less well off. John McCain has many animals, he gets my vote!

Has anyone even considered that wanting a dog for VANITY reasons is NOT a reason for getting a dog? Just because the Presidents of the past have had dogs doesn't mean they all need one.... not that Obama will ever get that position.... But in my opinion, if they don't already have a dog, they don't NEED a dog.

Who would take care of the dog if they get one? The Secret Service or other government workers who we would be paying as taxpayers ? Dogs need to be bought/adopted for the right reasons and from what I see, everyone is viaing for a position of notority not for a position of placing a dog in a loving home.

WAKE UP PEOPLE ! BREEDERS and PETA ALIKE are screwed up on this on ! All they want is the publicity and media attention. That is NOT why we should be adopting dogs !


Rebecca, Obama mentioned that it was his girls who asked to have a dog -- I think he promised them a dog after the campaign was over, no matter the outcome. It doesn't sound like an image thing, just two little girls wanting a furry friend.

A postscript: Kudos to Art and Joy for suggesting a rescue group. In those, the dogs are evaluated to see if they're good with kids and able to handle stress well -- the latter being important to any family dog but especially to a political-family dog. My own breed is notorious for handling the stress of animal shelters very, very badly and needing a lot of work to rehabilitate after even a short time in. Having a foster sort out who has which temperment issues can save the final owner a lot of pain, risk, and heartache, and helps that owner get what he or she really wanted. It rescues a dog from a pound, but also protects the family from some of the biggest dangers of doing that.

Dear Obamas: Try a Poodle rescue!

I Support Senator Obama, and I also support his decision on a Goldendoodle...........I have one......best dog in the world.
I would like to have more information on his position in shutting puppymills down.

God Bless Senator Obama and his family........and he will be getting my vote this November!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a truly non-allergenic or hypoallergenic dog. All dogs (and cats for that matter) produce allergenic proteins that can be found in their dander and saliva, regardless of their breed or the length and color of their hair, or lack thereof. Some may produce more - or less - allergens than others simply because of their individual nature. Allergen immunotherapy may be an option for those who wish to be desensitized to such allergens.

Too Bad if Obama lets Peta and HSUS run things his grand kids will never get to enjoy Pets in their life.

It's all about choices-Obama originally made this promise to Dr. Jana Kohl, the author of “A Rare Breed of Love” — to adopt a shelter dog. Obama even posing in a photo while holding "Baby": A poodle that had its vocal cords severed because this breeder dog was kept in a small cage, bred like a chicken, and dog was crying a lot. The owners were sick of hearing her. So they took a knife and severed her vocal cords. Albeit there really is no such thing as a "hypoallergenic" dog-the skin flakes or the flea poo stuck on doggie hairs-are actually the culprits to trigger reactions. Though some dogs TEND to have less reactions than others-a poodle too is also hypoallergenic, thus would have served the same purpose and is easily obtainable in many pounds.

This "water dog" costs about $5,000.00 so it is extremely doubtful it would have any difficulty finding a home. Saying that is like saying leaving $5,000.00 on the sidewalk and nobody will ever pick it up. This dog is, in fact, must be guarded due to its purebred rarity. It will further encourage breeders to keep on breeding, and keep puppy mills busy.

Bottom line-the president PROMISED to adopt a shelter dog, and turned around and got this dog.
So it leaves me with this uneasy feeling, gee, if he can't keep a promise that small which is 100% within his control, what about the other much larger promises of change I heard about?

Killing pets-perfectly adoptable dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens, is staggering all across our nation costing tax payers a billion dollars a year-just to kill pets. Breeders are adding to this misery of countless tons of pets being dumped into county dump yards (after euthanasia, often with gas) all across this nation. With the economy the way it is, people are dumping literally millions of animals onto the streets and shelters are over run with unwanted pets: They get destroyed, many get gassed to death.

And a president is the role model for the people - undoubtedly breeders are delighted with increased sales of their wares of cruelty, and the shelters will continue to fill in epidemic proportions, and the ceaseless destruction of loving, helpless-dogs and cats. How very tragic.

On behalf of the countless millions of dogs and cats, unwanted and homeless-I cry for you all every single day and is an agony I carry in my heart.

"And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one weak creature makes a void in any heart so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up.." Charles Dickens

I am disgusted with the secrecy and hypocrisy of Obama-he said he wanted shelter dog and then went back on his word. Why/? Unable to resist the siren song of purebreds? I don't believe the story of the second home-I think this was a plan from the beginning. Where was the influence of his good buddy Oprah?

" Millions of Great American Mutts- the dog that should be our national dog- are set to die in our nation's extremely over-crowded pounds and shelters for lack of good homes. Compassionate people nationwide are choosing to adopt a homeless pound puppy- a grateful refugee from a society that has not always treated the true "underdog" kindly- rather than cater to special interests who don't have dogs' interests at heart."
- Ingrid Newkirk

Wow. First let me say that this was a handful to write. Next let me say that PETA has some of the biggest hypocrites I have ever heard of in my entire life!!!They talk about compassion for pound pups like they are some type of saints when they kill most of their own, in some cases in their own vehicles. All because they'd rather not spend the money (or time) to find these perfectly healthy dogs nice and caring homes. PETA needs to get off Obama's back ( I mean come on the whole fly-swatting senario was just pathetic. A humane bug catcher, that's ridiculous!!!) But hey, anything for the publicity, right?

I know my comment is very late, but I will leave it anyways.

I purchased a purebred labrador from a kill shelter for $150. I guess I am an elitist, too.


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