My friend Eric forwarded an interesting post by a Canadian dog trainer (not Gregg) who looks to the falconry permitting scheme as a possible answer for the mandatory spay/neuter situation in the dog breeding world. It reads in part:
“How come the falconers have learned to control the breeding of falcons without spaying and neutering their birds, yet dog people have not?”In the old days they had things like kennel masters and breed keepers. I do not see why a developed country like Canada can not create professional breed surveyors who regulate the breeding of dogs.”It takes time to become a falconer. You have to apprentice. Then you graduate to being allowed to own one falcon. And then over time you can have two and then three. And then finally you are allowed to breed falcons under conditions.”Why can they not set up a similar situation with dogs? Perhaps if it took more studying, apprenticing, mandatory training classes and so forth to own a dog then there would be less people getting them. That would control pet over population far more than mandatory spaying/neutering ever will.”
The blog post did not allow comments so I emailed the author my thoughts:
“As a falconer I appreciate your positive comments about our sport and the permit scheme we operate under (I’m an American, but I presume the Canadian system is very similar).
“We are facing a sweep of mandatory spay/neuter laws across the country and many of us find it as alarming as you do. We would welcome any relief from the growing threat to pet and working-animal ownership posed by the “animal rights” lobby.
“But be careful what you wish for in further governmental oversight and permitting. Falconry is the most highly-regulated field sport in our country, and that chafes us plenty. We have an honorable and ancient apprenticeship tradition, one that (given the difficulty of the sport in general) has served as an excellent “gatekeeper” and schooling mechanism for centuries. The federal and state permitting does little to enhance this existing system, and does much to detract from it by applying paperwork and legal penalties for non-compliance.
“We feel the government’s role is to regulate and conserve the public wildlife resources we use (the wild-trapped hawks and our wild quarries); we do not feel it should weigh in on the breeding and treatment of captive bred hawks or become a falconry police force.
“Since dog breeders and trainers use an existing domestic stock, which should be considered private property, we feel the government should have little or nothing to say about it—-provided the rights of others are not impacted.
“Preserving the traditions and techniques of your sport, and the dogs themselves, should be up to you.”
Anyone else care to weigh in?