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Biden Gets Puppy From Breeder, and Why That Matters

It's such a small thing to ask, and it's so easily done. And it's less
expensive, and in today's economy every penny counts. Am I talking
about veganism? I very well could be. But no, I'm talking about why
some people, despite the current mainstream debate and even Oprah
vowing to opt out–can't seem to stop supporting the breeding of cats
and dogs when we kill millions each year simply because they're homeless.

When I heard that Vice President-elect Joe Biden had bought a German shepherd puppy from a breeder in Pennsylvania, my first reaction was an incredulous laugh. What? Is that guy not paying any attention whatsoever? Has he not heard about the debate over Malia and Sasha's new dog, and whether s/he will be a mutt like their dad or a purebreed? Has he not seen the petitions and websites and statistics that are being flung over the Internets attesting to the millions of cats and dogs killed each year for their crime of homelessness and that 25% of them are purebreeds? Doesn't he know that he has just made an important statement, and it's not a favorable one?

Apparently not.

Here's why this matters, at least to me. I'm not asking the guy to stop eating and wearing animals. Okay, that's not true; that's my nefarious goal. Look, everyone's watching Biden's every move and he knows that. His choice tells me that he can't see why saving a life and giving an animal a chance is more preferable than creating one to suit his needs.

And that scares me.

There are 14 pages of comments over at The Huffington Post already, and the puppy is definitely damn cute, but of course he is–he's a puppy. Here's the "Contact Joe" page from Biden's site. Let him know how you feel.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. feelliketundra #

    Posted a bunch of comments – calm but hopefully informative.

    I guess I'm just continually startled and distressed by people's ignorance about breeding/adoption. It's always seemed pretty obvious to me?

    December 13, 2008
  2. It has been absolutely ridiculous most AR groups lapped up the idea that Obama would actually adopt a shelter dog, and the news media treated the shelter dog problem like a joke…lighthearted to silly. (As they do every serious issue regarding animals) Now, is anyone really shocked that Biden bought from a breeder. Hey…these are the men, we pay, to sponsor government financed torture on dogs and any other animal research can get their hands on. Industrial animal production/transport/slaughter pay for their campaigns and make sure animals will continue to be treated like "things" for profit. Afterall, that profit goes into the pockets of our elected (if you can call it that – with billion dollar campaigns) officials. Get a grip. Obama and nobody in Washington give a damn about the animal's plight. Enough money has been wasted on their stupid "campaigns" to alter every dog and cat in America, plus provide a TRUE Shelter for the abused, abandoned, sick and injured animals no one wants. Question…BTW: Why hasn't Obama ever had a dog anyway? Very odd, I'd say. A family who NEVER considered giving a dog a loving home until it was politicially correct? Congress stinks and all the other so-called public servants. We are the servants, the animals are their victims.

    December 13, 2008
  3. I first learned of the president's latent influence over the people when I worked in retail and asked my coworker why there was so many blue ties. He said simply "Bush." I thought he was kidding, but he defended it well, because Bush wore blue ties, the latest fashion trend for ties is bland patterned blue ties. Ever notice how men stopped wearing hats after JFK took office? He was the first president to not wear a hat as part of his suit.

    I mention this because I notice a lot of talk about "choice" in the comments. This goes to show how even when people think they are looking out for animals, they still are heavy with the prejudice of property. I wonder just how difficult it is for anyone to overcome that prejudice when the term "pro-choice" was used in defense of Biden's purchasing of the puppy. Other arguments questioned the dollar amount paid and such. I see very little concerning the establishment of those dogs as a commodity. In fact, I didn't see any comments.

    The president has a huge influence over the ethical choices of the people. Even more so that Obama is marketed as a sort of poster boy for the "ethical" president (as opposed to a president of the economy, or of experience as other candidates are marketed).

    I feel it's been a gloomy week for ARAs, gimme some good news, Mary 🙁

    December 14, 2008
  4. Mary Martin #


    For the most part, I agree. With that said . . .

    Saving a life–even one dog in a shelter–is important to me. And in the scope of Biden's life it's one tiny decision, and he can't even fake caring. And that's honest–this is who he is and he's simply acting in character. However, I would like to have seen a decision made in line with this new day I hear so much about. The change I hear so much about. I'm looking for decisions made from conscience. And I'm not finding them.

    "Now, is anyone really shocked that Biden bought from a breeder?"

    Actually, I was. First, I must say I didn't know he was getting a dog. But when I found out my thought was that after all the attention this issue has gotten, and after all the talk of them being different and not elitist, this was at the very least a stupid, contradictory move that confirms what YOU say, which is that he's just like the rest. (Hence, for the most part, I agree . . .)

    As for telling me to "Get a grip," that's rude. I thought that BECAUSE it's so easy, and though it saves a life it's also a gesture that would have been good politics, it was a no brainer. I don't think I'm being at all unreasonable.

    "BTW: Why hasn't Obama ever had a dog anyway? Very odd, I'd say. A family who NEVER considered giving a dog a loving home until it was politicially correct?"

    Violet was my first dog, adopted when I was 38 (I had a cat for nearly 20 years and no other "pets" until Emily at age 34). I don't think it's odd, particularly for a couple with 2 kids, to not have a dog. Kids are enough work on their own. My parents didn't think about my sister and I having pets until we begged them for cats–10 years into their marriage. It doesn't appear that political correctness is the issue, but kids-wanting-a-puppy that's the issue.

    December 14, 2008
  5. I also want to add, Kelev, that while I agree that one life is worth saving, this is much more than that. As I exemplified in my little anecdote about blue ties, Presidents set precedents, culture-modifying precedents.

    Sure there are numerous animals out there and big industries that need our attention, but some of the animals we save are right in our homes. If by persuading a vice president-elect to adopt a shelter dog as a statement as well as being a family man would teach Americans the importance of rescuing shelter animals, I think this is by far worthwhile.

    December 14, 2008
  6. In response to the comments to my post: First of all, no where did I say that it is not a good thing for ONE shelter dog life to be saved. Every life is precious, and I rejoice for any/every one saved.
    Too bad he, Obama, has to have so much "persuading". Too bad the masses can't think for themself. They accept any tidbit thrown to them that makes them think they are actually a part of the powerful political guys/girl's decisions, as well as purchase anything the media currently praises.
    Too bad some believe that we need to "teach" the person who was elected by majority – like..
    – how to be a family man!! that there are thousands of dogs murdered every night in shelters!! and what else? Where have these men been all these years? "ure there are industries"out there we need to teach them about too, but why would they want to change this system, when its profit is their profit?
    And, I don't need a man/woman in the White House to determine/change/alter or provide my culture, morals or opinions.
    I am sure there are circumstances surrounding family's decision to have or not have a dog, but I, my siblings, my entire family – no one has ever been without a dog, dogs and/or cats.
    My point is that there is too much silliness involving Obama's glorious decision – like its a scientific research project. I find it peculiar and will continue to doubt til I see the dog in their new house. (Perhaps he will teach America how a dog should be treated…..don't hold your breath.)

    December 14, 2008
  7. Interesting selection by Biden… for me anyway as I have a personal story (regarding a GS puppy) and the events that lead to my animal awareness and my veganism. One year ago a (then) friend/neighbor decided it was time to replace a departed German Shepard Dog with… a "puppy mill" German Shepherd puppy. In the course of getting to know that puppy (I fell in love) – he was sweet, beautiful and playful. Well, obviously too playful for his new found guardians as I was told on our annual New Year's Eve get-together, that they had decided the dog was "too much" for them and he was placed with another (mill-type) "home". I was shocked and disappointed… but I shrugged off my dis-approval as being "too judgemental" – After all, it was "their" dog and their choice.

    It was only a few days afterward that I was exposed to "factory farms" and all the other unthinkable cruelties I had been blind to before. Suddenly the realization of the full meaning of "their" dog and the commodification of all animals connected to that voice inside me that said it was all wrong. That that little German Shepherd puppy was just a "thing" that didn't work out –

    I'll never forget that little puppy "Lucky" – it was my last experience with cognitive dissonance. Needless to say – My husband and I are making different plans this New Year's.

    And as far as the damage created by Biden's choice is concerned: look out folks – here come the blue ties.

    December 14, 2008
  8. Mary Martin #

    In the future, please provide a valid e-mail address. I have your IP address, which of course leads to the other comments from the IP address, but my policy is for a valid e-mail address (and civil discourse).

    My only comments are that: 1) I never said you didn't think it was good to save one shelter dog. I merely emphasized that I think it is. So while this whole thing about a puppy does border on the absurd, if one puppy is saved, it was worth it. (I'm not a utilitarian.) 2) You are clearly an exception, as probably all vegans are, in that you do not look to others (such as a person in the White House) to determine your culture for you. But the fact that so many people do is the very thing that makes it relevant to talk about this.

    December 15, 2008
  9. Kelev #

    My email address is valid, the same address where I receive Animal Person's posts, etc. ?? Was I uncivil? I was merely stating my opinion – raised by the mass adoration of a tidbit thrown out, or forced on Obama, to relieve the suffering of animals, – in this case, to maybe adopt a Shelter dog. True, I may be an exception, and my intollerance of blind acceptance by the public, and false hopes for constructive direct action by our elected officials is a little harsh for your site. Most AR organizations and individual activists have been more than civil for decades and for their patience and courtesy,only scant rewards for Animal Rights/Welfare/Protection have been achieved. Of course, we need encouragement from activists like yourself and look on the "good side", but for me, it is difficult to see in the long dark shadow of legalized, government supported animal cruelty. I apologize for commenting, and say Shalom.

    December 18, 2008
  10. Mary Martin #

    There was no e-mail address on the comments, hence my comment. I can do without things like: "Get a grip," but considering what has come my way in 2 years it wasn't too bad. It is indeed "difficult to see in the long dark shadow of legalized, government-supported animal cruelty." Sometimes it's overwhelming. And I try not to become a vengeful person, though I think that mentality is perfectly reasonable given the enormity of the harm done.

    We all are in a tough spot and have to choose the tenor of our commentary wisely.

    Sometimes I want to dispense with that, though, and just be as angry as I really am.

    December 18, 2008
  11. Kelev #

    No problem. I understand your position. Thanks for providing the info. and your commentaries on important subjects. I'll save my uncivil remarks for those who deserve them. Keep up the good work – for the animals. (:

    December 19, 2008
  12. UPDATE: Biden is getting a second puppy–"a pound dog . . . that is hopefully a Golden,"
    after "taking some heat for his choice."

    December 20, 2008
  13. Mary #

    I feel that this choice was not done by accident. Obama is trying to please everyone, he invites people for gay marriage and against it to his inauguration. If you look at his choices he has picked all types of people, black, white, asian, republican, women, he has picked some who are for animals and some who are not for them. He wants to please everyone, I think because he is thinking down the line when the country has to vote again. Why would Biden buy a dog now when there is such controversy around the Obamas choice of dog. If Obama adopts he knows he will be upsetting the breeders so if Biden buys a dog then the breeders won't be that upset. Obama will sacrifice the few issues that are not his main focus, gays, animals etc to keep enough people happy so he will have the support to focus on the issues that really matter to him like health insurance, the economy, the war, global warming, alternative energy etc. Who knows perhaps a lot of breeders helped pay for his campaign, I'm sure the animal shelters couldn't afford that much.

    January 4, 2009

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