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To most animal lovers, the A.K.C. is best known as the go-to place for registering purebred puppies and as the governing body for dog shows, including the regal Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which opens Monday in New York. The A.K.C. is “dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function,” according to its mission statement.
But the A.K.C. is increasingly finding itself ostracized in the dog world, in the cross hairs of animal protection services, law enforcement agencies and lawmakers who say that the club is lax in performing inspections and that it often lobbies against basic animal rights bills because they could cut into dog registration fees.
As recently as 2010, roughly 40 percent of the A.K.C.’s $61 million in annual revenue came from fees related to registration. Critics say a significant part of that includes revenue from questionable breeders like the Hamiltons, or so-called puppy mills, which breed dogs en masse with little regard for basic living standards.

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Color it yellow: NYT uses discredited sources to dump on AKC | National Animal Interest Alliance

It’s happened again. The New York Times (NYT) has just published its annual hit piece against the American Kennel Club. Such articles appear like clockwork every February as the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) gear up for their annual celebration of purebred dogs at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The WKC show is the oldest dog event in the US, making it a perfect target for a flagging publication trying to gin up readership. It’s just too bad that the authors didn’t take the time to uncover the facts. The real story would have been far more interesting, even useful. But it would appear that the NYT was not interested in letting important details interfere with their predetermined conclusion. In this article, they omitted known facts that support purebred dogs and the AKC, the country’s leading advocate for dogs and dog owners in the United States.
Worse, the New York Times bases this foul piece of yellow journalism on discredited sources, organizations with well-established records of deceit and known biases, in this case biases against dog breeders and purebred dogs.
The most damning source quoted In the NY Times article is the ASPCA, a group that recently paid $9.3 million to Feld Entertainment (Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus) to settle a racketeering case. The RICO case resulted from a decade-long lawsuit alleging elephant mistreatment by the circus. After years of litigation the case ended in Feld’s favor, with the court discrediting ASPCA’s chief witness as a paid plaintiff and fact witness. The ASPCA paid Feld in order to settle both the RICO and Feld’s claim for attorneys’ fees in the original lawsuit. The remaining defendants in the RICO suit include other sources commonly cited by the NY Times: the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Animal Welfare Institute and The Fund for Animals to name a few. Kind-hearted donors responding to the sad-eyed puppies and kittens pictured in ASPCA and HSUS TV ads probably would be shocked to discover that their donations are often used to fuel the destruction of other animal lovers and the businesses and organizations with which they work. However, there is no excuse for a paper with the sophistication and resources of the NY Times to be so gullible. If they don’t know the history of these groups by now, they should get into a different business.
Here’s the unvarnished truth about AKC and its relationship with dogs and breeders.
Every February, you can count on an uptick of articles maligning AKC and purebed dogs.
No organization in the world does more for dogs than the American Kennel Club. At its heart, AKC is a purebred dog registry. Everything else that it does – dog shows and performance events; spending more than
$1 million a year to fund kennel inspections; founding the AKC Canine Health Foundation and then donating more than $33 million to canine health research; founding and then maintaining AKC Companion Animal Recovery (an identification database that has helped to reunite over 400,000 dogs with their owners so far); providing $ hundreds of thousands in scholarships for veterinarians and junior handlers; recognition for hero dogs, and disaster aid; offering school education programs about dog care and interaction; dog show judge education seminars; and more – derive from its mission to promote purebred dogs. This doesn’t mean that mixed breeds and mutts are left out – they, too, benefit from the canine education programs, the identification database, and health research funded or directly administered by AKC and a host of AKC events that they can enter.
AKC does all these things with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers who are members of local and national breed clubs, training clubs, and kennel clubs. These volunteers benefit all dogs by hosting AKC events, providing public education about dog care and training, donating to disaster relief and canine health projects, helping dog rescue efforts, and working with local and state lawmakers, law enforcement, and humane societies to improve canine welfare.
All of these efforts help strengthen the human-animal bond regardless of whether the dog is purebred, mixed breed, or mongrel. However, AKC and their many dedicated constituents believe that purebreds are special, that they offer predictability in size, coat type, trainability, and genetically-linked behavioral traits so that prospective owners can select a dog that fits their needs and desires. To ignore this basic tenet of the connection between people and dogs – i.e., that the relationship works best when the two are well-matched -- is to show an unmitigated bias in favor of those who tear down AKC for their own purposes, including raising money by making false claims and demonizing breeders.
It is true that AKC opposes many anti-breeding laws, and thank goodness they do. Dog organizations across the country are united in their opposition to the many misguided bills facing dog owners and breeders each year. If the NYT writers took time to study some of these bills, they might join the opposition themselves instead of criticizing those who do. It shouldn’t be news, but this country’s laws treat those accused of a crime as innocent until proven guilty. Laws that allow unwarranted raids on private property and seizure of dogs without a court order and those that permit agencies to sell or destroy those dogs before the case goes to trial, rob citizens of their constitutional guarantee of due process. We should fight such laws, just as we should oppose any other law that deprives citizens of their civil liberties. Also, like prohibition, laws that ban breeding only lead to underground markets and outsourcing of production to poorer providers. They don’t improve animal health and wellbeing at all.
The AKC Canine Health Foundation works to improve the health of all dogs.
The bottom line is that the fundraising animal organizations so often cited by the NYT do a good job at raising a ruckus, but AKC, the organization disparaged in the NYT article, is the one doing the actual work and providing millions needed each year to conduct kennel inspections and canine research, promote responsible dog ownership, provide events for evaluating breeding stock and performance ability, strengthen the human animal bond, honor breeders who do a good job, and deny privileges to those who fail to take good care of their dogs.
As hard as it tries, though, AKC cannot be expected to stop everyone who might abuse or neglect their dogs. There are two basic kinds of animal abuse found in kennels, the kind that can be improved by working with people to raise their standards of care, and the kind of horrific problems that develop suddenly as the result of major life changes and tragedies like physical and mental health breakdowns and drug and alcohol addiction. To their credit, AKC has developed the world’s best and most highly funded programs aimed at improving standards of care, but it can’t solve problems before they happen or when they’re subversively hidden from AKC’s view.
If you would like to comment on the NYT article, we invite you to do so below. Here's a link explaining how to send a letter to the editor of the NYT:

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it often lobbies against basic animal rights bills
as it should because those in the animal rights movement and the critics of the AKC are all for ending pet ownership Peta HSUS etc and the bills they puurposes disguised as and present as simple animal welfare measure are not in reality as are just a step in the road to their elimination of pet ownership.

To bring this topic into clearer focus, NAIA offers this quick tour of the differences between animal rights and animal welfare, two distinct philosophies.
Animal welfare celebrates the bond between animals and humans; animal rights wants to sever that bond.
"It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership." -Elliot Katz, President, In Defense of Animals, "In Defense of Animals," Spring 1997
Animal welfare grows and improves as we learn more and more about animals, their behavior, and their management. Animal rights remains stagnant with its dogma of "no more animal use ever."
"Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles--from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it." - John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of A Changing Ethic (Washington, DC: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), 1982), p. 15.
Animal welfare is inclusive; its belief in stewardship of species and individual animals embraces a human connection to the Earth through interaction with animals. Animal rights is divisive; by separating the destiny of man from the destiny of animals, the movement shows it cares nothing for the Earth.
"...the animal rights movement is not concerned about species extinction. An elephant is no more or less important than a cow, just as a dolphin is no more important than a tuna...In fact, many animal rights advocates would argue that it is better for the chimpanzee to become extinct than to be exploited continually in laboratories, zoos and circuses." (Barbara Biel, The Animals' Agenda, Vol 15 #3.)
Animal welfare makes room for a broad spectrum of animal relationships that include raising and using animals for food, fiber, labor, and medical and behavioral research; managing animal populations by hunting; keeping animals in zoos and other educational venues; and enjoying animal sports and animals in movies, circuses, and on stage.
Animal rights opposes all traditional relationships with animals, from eating meat and wearing leather and wool to biomedical research, pet ownership, dog and cat breeding, circuses, zoos, hunting, trapping, ranching, fishing, and learning about animals by hands-on experience.
"If the death of one rat cured all diseases, it wouldn't make any difference to me." -Chris DeRose, director, Last Chance for Animals, as quoted in Elizabeth Venant and David Treadwell, "Biting Back," Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1990, p. E12.
"My dream is that people will come to view eating an animal as cannibalism." - Henry Spira, director, Animal Rights International, as quoted in Barnaby J. Feder, "Pressuring Purdue," New York Times Magazine, November 26, 1989, p. 192.
"Founded in 1980, PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." - PeTA's website, August 2000
Animal welfare requires humane treatment of animals on farms and ranches, in circuses and rodeos, and in homes, kennels, catteries, laboratories, and wherever else animals are kept. Animal welfare endorses a quick death when death is inevitable and a scientific approach to commercial use and management of wild populations.
Animal rights works for the day when we will have no interactions with animals but will view them from afar.
"I don't approve of the use of animals for any purpose that involves touching them - caging them" - Dr. Neal Barnard, Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine
"We don't want cleaner cages, we want empty cages." - Tom Regan, animal rights leader
In short, animal welfare works to enrich and celebrate human/animal interactions in an atmosphere of concern for animal well-being; animal rights yearns for the day when human life will be impoverished because we can no longer enjoy the company of non-human animals.
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