Sunday, January 04, 2015
What pit bull activism says about our culture
Public-safety regulation is usually linked to what is deemed a critical number of injuries or deaths. Between 1971 and 1980, for example, Ford produced three million Pintos. Due to a peculiarity in the Pinto’s structural design, its fuel tank was prone to puncture in rear-end collisions. Consequently, over Pinto’s 10 years in operation, 26 people died in fires that a better design could have prevented. Ford was forced to retire the model in the interest of public safety.
By coincidence, there are about three million pit bull type dogs in North America today, representing 6% of all breeds. But about 26 people die from pit bull type dogs in the U.S. every year (out of about 40 from all 400 breeds combined). Pit bull type dogs maul, maim, disfigure or dismember hundreds more. By no coincidence, when pit bulls were few in number — 200,00 before 1970, most clustered in marginal districts — dogbite-related fatalities in the general population were freakishly rare. In my youth, when middle-class neighbourhood dogs ran loose, and average families didn’t own fighting dogs, years went by without a single fatality. If pit bull type dogs were cars, they’d be long gone. But unlike car victims, pit bull tragedies don’t arouse public outrage.
Read the rest here.