Saturday, January 3, 2015

From Around the Web #1

new feature beginning in the inauguration of the new year 2015; 'From Around the Web'.  I will feature a round-up of SABSL pertinent posts, articles, and news with relevant commentary and highlights.

"...2014 brought new records for numbers of pit bulls involved in fatal or disfiguring on humans, numbers of human victims, numbers of children killed or disfigured, numbers of adults killed or disfigured, total number of fatalities, and total number of disfigurements. 
"The number of pit bulls involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks has risen since 2007 from 78 to 603; the number of child victims has increased from 30 to 264; the number of adult victims has increased from 23 to 279; the number of deaths directly inflicted by pit bulls is up from 13 to 31, one short of the high of 32 reached in 2012; and the number of disfigurements has soared from 37 to 451.
"Another 120 people were injured by pit bulls in 2014 but not killed or disfigured in attacks in which someone else was killed or disfigured. 
"...2014 was also the Year of the Shelter/Rescue Dog Attacks. At least 37 dogs in custody of shelters or rescues, or rehomed by shelters or rescues, killed or disfigured someone in 2014. Thirty of those dogs were pit bulls."

The math according to the statistics provided at the bottom of the article shows that 80% of the pit bulls responsible for 2014's fatalities were family dogs found to have NO history of abuse or neglect.  Of the remainder were strays and 'rescues' that had an unknown history.  None of these dogs were fight bust dogs, making the 'it's all in how you raise 'em' claim transcend the absurd into the obscene.

"...Criminals favour them, certainly; but most now belong to naive mainstream people who believe pit bulls’ association with thuggery has given them an undeserved “bad rap.” 
"In reality, pit bull type dogs stubbornly remain what they have always been: fighting machines bred for impulsivity, pertinacity in attack and — thanks to their peculiar “rending” style of bite — a capacity for inflicting extraordinary damage on victims, usually other animals (pit bulls are responsible for almost 100% of domestic-animal fatalities, including cows and horses), but frequently enough, people, disproportionately children. 
"Just as imperial Britain’s obsession with caste translated into a fetish with breeding lines, the counter-culture in America, dominated by tropes of moral and cultural relativism, liberation, anti-racism and civil rights, anthropomorphized dogs into victims for whom merely humane treatment was not good enough. 
"Now, applying rubrics designed for humans, no dog breed may be considered better than any other, and even fighting dogs — though in fact line bred for stereotypical high prey drive — must be accorded the same individual rights as the law guarantees us “mongrels” (since humans mate randomly, it’s what we are in canine terms). Out of this misguided cross-species projection, and because pit bulls are the dog of choice for young black men of the underclass, the pit bull achieved totemic victim status — perceived as negatively stigmatized by the media as their racialized owners often are by law enforcement.
"This is the first time in the history of human-animal relations that a movement has formed, not to promote the well-known virtues of a beloved breed, but to promote denial of a beloved breed’s well-known vices. 
"High I.Q., as history constantly reminds us, is no guarantor of common sense or civic-mindedness. The pit bull advocacy movement is vigorously championed by a number of “progressive” intellectuals, academics and journalists. 
"...Journalist Tom Junod romanticizes pit bulls in Esquire Online, also adducing the disingenuous race card: “The opposition to pit bulls might not be racist. It does, however, employ racist thinking.” (This is pure anthropomorphism; such logic would make it “racist thinking” to prefer huskies over collies as sled dogs.)
"Real critical thinking uncovers the truth transcending the nonsense the advocacy mill grinds out, however obscured by charming illustrations and rhyming verses: Dogs with a talent for fighting generally like to fight. When what they deem the right occasion presents itself, they will, with the same joy as greyhounds run and bloodhounds track, display the inherited motor pattern that gives them pleasure in performance."
Pit bull experts: scientifically unimpressive and technologically worthless--Craven Desires

" In 1960, Louis Leaky sent a secretary with no college education into the Africa bush to study chimpanzees. Despite the objections of "experts" Leaky persevered. Leaky felt that someone with little formal training would be more likely to describe what they were seeing rather than what they thought they should be seeing 
"I think everyone will agree that hiring Jane Goodall for the job was a brilliant move.
"DR JAMES HA, animal behaviorist at the University of Washington in Seattle and "expert" for hire. 
"The reason we're focusing just on pit bulls is that we hear so much about them, and that is not because of the breed difference, the genetic difference - that's because of the way they've been raised." 
That quote is from a 2010 KOMO news interview. Compare that to HA'S blog post in 2008, where HA cited research that stated red and golden cocker spaniels were more likely to display aggressive behavior than black cocker spaniels and that yellow labs were "significantly more likely to be reported with aggression problems" than the black or chocolate variants, yet dogs artificially selected for violence only require a loving gentle family.  
Also in the 2010 KOMO interview, DR HA stated that mastiffs, chows, shepherds, rottweillers and dobermans are "all more genetically aggressive than" dogs that had been artificially selected for combat for 200 years. HA goes on to add that genetics is roughly 20-30% responsible for temperament. YET, at the roughly 4:00 minute mark of his presentation on "Behavioral Genetics" DR HA stated that in studies of selected dog breeds, none were gripping breeds btw, for defence behaviors ie, guarding, attacking, biting there is a 14 - 20% heritability rate "which in genetics world is important". He immediately followed up with "there are different genetic predispositions in different breeds." Towards the end of this 2011 youtube video, HA states that 30-50% of behavior is genetics. 
"One unspoken assumption among early behavior geneticists, an assumption that was shared by most for many years, was that some psychological traits were likely to be significantly influenced by genetic factors, whereas others were likely to be primarily influenced by shared environmental influences. Most behavior geneticists assumed that social attitudes, for example, were influenced entirely by shared environmental influences, and so social attitudes remained largely unstudied until relatively recently. The evidence now shows how wrong these assumptions were. Nearly every reliably measured psychological phenotype (normal and abnormal) is significantly influenced by genetic factors. Heritabilities also differ far less from trait to trait than anyone initially imagined.  
"Shared environmental influences are often, but not always, of less importance than genetic factors, and often decrease to near zero after adolescence. Genetic influence on psychological traits is ubiquitous, and psychological researchers must incorporate this fact into their research programs else their theories will be ‘‘scientifically unimpressive and technologically worthless,’’ to quote Meehl again. 
"PETER BORCHELT, IAN DUNBAR, RICHARD POLSKY and JAMES HA believe that purpose bred dogs, artificially selected for violent combat for 200 years are not genetically predisposed to violence. BORCHELT, DUNBAR, POLSKY and HA believe it is equally wrong to think that nurture plays second fiddle to nature in dogs. Unfortunately, they have been able to convince others of their distorted beliefs too."