People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the useless cultural battle America didn’t know it needed until this past week.
So, here’s the setup, in case you haven’t heard: In arguably her least controversial move ever, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez got an adorable puppy.
“He doesn’t have a name yet!” she wrote in a Tuesday update via an Instagram Story, according to People. “We are thinking something Star Trek related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”
So, a) I didn’t know she was a Trekkie, but it pretty much confirms everything else I’ve thought about her ($50 says she’s a “Charmed” fan, too); and b) judging by your concept of “social good,” may I recommend Fido-el? Bark-shevik?
“The goal is to train him to be a community pup,” she later tweeted.
“Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc. But first, naps.”
Yes! 🐶 the goal is to train him to be a community pup. Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc.
But first, naps 😴 pic.twitter.com/ec8beJTrmZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 7, 2020
Who’s a good boy? Who’s a very good boy who doesn’t believe in redistribution like his pawrent does?
Well, anyhow, I have to admit that’s pretty darn cute. What’s even better is that this ended up triggering an entity I actually hold in lower regard than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — PETA, which is angry that the New York Democrat didn’t pick a rescue dog.
“After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced her new purebred French bulldog puppy on social media, PETA sent the lawmaker a letter urging her to visit a New York City animal shelter to see the scores of wonderful dogs there who desperately need homes,” the group said in a Thursday news release.
“The group also urged her to pledge to adopt her next animal companion (or to adopt a second one now so that the two can keep each other company while she’s busy on Capitol Hill) and to ask her followers to do the same and save a life.”
“AOC had a chance to set a compassionate, responsible example in the face of the homeless-animal crisis, but instead, she apparently inadvertently contributed to the problem,” Newkirk said in the release.
“PETA is urging her supporters not to follow her lead in this case and to stick up for the underdog by choosing to give a lovable mutt a new lease on life.”
See, you can tell Newkirk is taking this really seriously because she’s using dog puns. If that quote sounds out of touch to you, wait until you read the paragraph that followed.
“PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to abuse in any way’ and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview — notes that more than 6 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter shelters every year and that many are euthanized for lack of enough good homes.”
Does this mean that AOC is a human-supremacist? Is that like the alt-right of the animal world?
I don’t think Newkirk quite understood what she’s asking Ocasio-Cortez to do here. Given her legislative responsibilities, one would assume AOC is a one-dog woman. So, in order to pick a rescue dog, she’d have to abandon this French bulldog puppy somehow — which means it would either be returned to the breeder, sold or passed on to someone else, or get put into a shelter.
A three-paragraph news release would have sufficed, but the lecture continued in the form of a letter from Newkirk to Ocasio-Cortez personally that accompanied the news release.
This time, it centered on the travesty of getting a French bulldog in the first place.
“French bulldogs are inbred in order to produce ‘breed-specific traits,’ which cause health problems that many people who will be influenced by your purchase won’t be able to afford to address,” the letter continued. (Emphasis in the original.)
“They are particularly at risk because their ‘cute’ features plague them with a lifetime of breathing problems (you may have seen the media uproar this week after a disturbing photo of a pug’s MRI went viral), ear and eye infections, skin irritation, a weak stomach, and other issues—all ‘man-made.'”
I don’t think she saw the media uproar, because a) there wasn’t one and b) she’s a busy woman.
Newkirk really hammered home her belief that AOC desperately needed to get another dog from a shelter — not just for herself but to set the right example for her followers.
“On behalf of the more than 6 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats who enter shelters every year and the people who care for them, we’re asking that you please be a part of the solution to ending the cat- and dog-overpopulation crisis and consider setting the right example for your millions of followers by adopting a mutt and encouraging them to do the same,” Newkirk wrote.
“Not only will you be saving another dog’s life, the new dog will also provide your puppy with the companionship he desperately needs as your busy schedule takes you around the country. We’re also sending you a copy of the book Dogs Hate Crates, which explains why crate training is not humane or effective.”
Oh, well, thank God for that. According to the New York Post, this was likely in reaction to an Instagram video in which Ocasio-Cortez’s dog was shown in a cage, whimpering.
Just in case you didn’t get the point, this was the tweet PETA sent out to really hammer it home:
With millions of dogs, including Frenchies, homeless in shelter cages waiting for homes, @AOC’s choice to publicize getting a purebred puppy is disappointing.
As a person who fights for justice, we doubt she could’ve realized the implications.
Adoption is the ONLY option. pic.twitter.com/CiptDEaZmu
— PETA (@peta) January 10, 2020
As always, the nags from PETA believe they’re the arbiters of what you can and cannot do in terms of animals. You want to eat chicken? Well, here’s a 53-minute video showing the death of your chicken in graphic detail! Are you not entertained? Are you not ready for some tempeh?
I’m the proud owner of two rescue dogs. One of them had been abandoned in a warehouse district, the other was a breeder dog in a puppy mill that was never given a name in the three years she was kept in a cage out in the blazing sun. Am I happy that my wife and I were able to give them a chance to laze about on the couch with me, absentmindedly licking themselves as I putter around on my MacBook and watch football? Absolutely.
Am I going to work myself into some kind of towering rage if you decide to go for a French bulldog or whatever breed your little heart desires? Absolutely not. That’s your choice.
Ocasio-Cortez got the dog she wanted, not the dog PETA wanted her to get. And, thus far, she hasn’t apologized or even acknowledged PETA’s letter.
I almost hate to say it, but good for her.
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