Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Respond to Absurdity?

After reading this item in today's Field Notes I first assumed it had to be some kind of joke, maybe something someone picked up from the Onion.

But then I realized the article wasn't satire. On the contrary it was, as they say, serious as a heart attack, which in turn engendered somewhere deep within the common-sense lobe of my brain that most modern and ubiquitous reaction to unbelievable news: "WTF? They can't be serious. They simply can't be."

Oh, but they are. Of course, this has fuckall to do with animal welfare and everything to do with harassing dog owners and controlling, stigmatizing and eventually severely limiting or banning dog ownership.

From the story:

The leader of one of the state's sporting dog organizations says a recently approved Kanawha County (West Virginia) ordinance may very well be a covert effort to eliminate hunting with dogs.

Gary Knapp, president of the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association appeared before the Kanawha County Commission last week to raise his concerns about the stiff stipulations of the ordinance, aimed at preventing mistreatment of dogs...

Knapp says the ordinance, as it was approved, requires dog owners to bring their animals in the house when temperatures outside go above 85 degrees or below 40 degrees. The range would encompass more than half the year in West Virginia. Knapp say it also renders the dog ineffective on a hunt if he or she isn't in proper condition.

Nobody seems sure of just where the writers of the ordinance came up with the arbitrary figures of 40-degrees and 85-degrees. Knapp says he was told by the attorney for the Humane Society it was a recommendation of their organization. The Humane Society of the United States has long been opposed to any and all hunting. Knapp says there was a not-so-veiled indication that may be what's at play here.

So here's what I proposed to the F&S editors as a response: "The First Annual Field & Stream Cruel And/Or Inhumane Treatment of Canine Companion Animal Photo Contest."

The rules? Simple: your photograph must show a canine companion animal (preferably one bred for and used as an accessory in the harassment and murder of small creatures) in cruel or inhumane temperature conditions as defined by the Humane Society of the United States and Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Got pics of your ice-coated labs? Send 'em in. Late-season bird hunts? They're game. Those 90-degree dove openers? They're eligible. Hell, take a pic of your kids walking the dog on a cool fall morning or throwing bumpers for them in the park If it's under 40 or over 85, you too have a shot at the prize.

The winners would receive the wrath and condemnation of the HSUS (which in my book is priceless) and - if you happen to live within the borders of Kanawha County, West Virginia - jail time.

Eh, the editors didn't go for it...
And just to clarify for the record (seeing as how the above photograph was obviously taken in conditions well below 40 degrees) I do not reside in nor have I ever visited Kanawha County, West Virginia.
If I did I suppose I'd be writing this from the clinky...

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