Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Power of Ignorance

The SuperBowl ad pulled by GoDaddy was widely criticized by animal lovers.  The ad profiled a puppy that fell out of a pickup truck and braved wilderness, train tracks, bridges and a rainstorm to make it home.  The puppy's owner was overjoyed to see him and then stated that she'd just sold him off the website she'd created through GoDaddy.  You can see ABC News' reporting of it here. 

The outrage the ad created was due to the fact that websites selling puppies are typically through puppy mill operations.  These commercial breeders raise puppies for profit without concern for the genetic health of the parents, typically house their dogs in small caging without toys or beds in unsanitary conditions.  Many times the breeding dogs aren't groomed, given veterinary care, and suffer from neglect.  Breeding females are breed with every heat cycle until they are too old to produce.

I think it's amazing that the magic of the internet and social networking worked so fast as to get GoDaddy to pull the ad before it ever made it to the Super Bowl, something that had never happened before.  In this age we have the ability to communicate instantaneously and make changes almost as fast. 

While I agree that the ad was horrible and absolutely promoted the wrong message, I do think it's a symptom of a different problem.  I have a hard time believing that anyone would knowingly create a commercial promoting such an abhorrent practice as mass commercial breeding of puppies.  It makes more sense to me that the commercial was created out of pure ignorance.  And when you think about how many people had to have been involved in it's production, it's a tremendous number of ignorant people who didn't see anything wrong with the ad. 

Those of us involved in animal welfare are immersed in what we know, and it's easy to forget that others don't have the same knowledge that we do.  Education is the key to making changes, and we have to keep in mind that many times ignorance is the cause of problems and we have it within our power to enlighten others.