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For years, October has been widely considered by dog lovers to be “Pit Bull” Awareness Month, but Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) is calling BULL on the status quo!
In its latest campaign, #ItsBullAwareness, AFF is challenging advocates to put a stop to singling out dogs by using the “pit bull” label, instead pushing for a world in which all dogs are seen as individuals.
In an effort to reduce breed-specific discrimination and promote seeing all dogs as individuals, Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) is calling BULL on “pit bull” awareness campaigns, starting with October, which is traditionally celebrated as “Pit Bull” Awareness Month.
Instead of promoting a month that brings attention to the “pit bull” label, AFF is encouraging all animal advocates to celebrate #ItsBullAwareness.
“We’re completely supportive of recognizing dogs as incredible companions,” said Stacey Coleman, executive director of Animal Farm Foundation. “But we can’t get behind singling out a loosely-defined group of dogs. Dogs that fall under the “pit bull” label are just like any other dog, and they should be seen for their individual characteristics rather than the label society assigns them.”
A new public service announcement drives this point home by sharing the confusion from a dog’s point of view over the silly things humans do, including celebrating “Pit Bull” Awareness Month. Santiago, the four-legged star of the PSA, is a former shelter dog and advocate for all dogs, including those labeled “pit bull.” He recently added being part of the cast of the film “The Wilde Wedding” to his impressive resume and is using his rising stardom as a platform to advocate for all dogs through the #ItsBullAwareness campaign.
Not only is it inaccurate to single out dogs based off of a label, it can also be damaging. Calling attention to an arbitrary label even with the best intentions still suggests that the group of dogs being identified is different from other dogs. Campaigns singling dogs out as different can actually perpetuate misleading stereotypes, which can often be used to argue for breed specific legislation.
While breed traits do exist, they are only a small portion of the factors that make up a dog’s personal traits. In fact, according to research from the National Canine Research Council, identifying a dog’s breed based off of its appearance is inaccurate. There is also evidence showing that a dog’s behavior or personality cannot be predicted by breed alone because of the wide variety of factors operating on each individual dog.
In response, AFF is taking action by challenging current advocates to change their approach and reinforce all dogs as individuals to avoid inadvertently hurting the very dogs they are trying to help.
To become involved, share the video to your social channels using the hashtag #ItsBullAwareness. Or, get involved by making a donation here to support AFF’s animal shelter, free internships for animal welfare professionals, educational resources and grant opportunities.