Today, PETA sent a letter to the National Football League asking that convicted dogfighter Michael Vick be subjected to a psychological test as well as an MRI brain scan like the one now in use at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in order to look for evidence of clinical psychopathy or anti-social personality disorder. Based on the fact that Vick funded and participated in a massive dogfighting operation (playing a direct role in hanging, drowning, or shooting countless dogs—and even slamming dogs to the ground to break their backs), it might seem obvious that there’s something wrong with the guy. But whether or not Vick is indeed a clinical psychopath is an important piece of a bigger puzzle.
For the past 18 months, PETA has been meeting with Vick’s management and legal teams behind the scenes about having Vick deliver a strong anti-dogfighting TV spot. If Vick is truly remorseful for what he’s done, as he’s said publically and privately, then a message from him telling people to stop these crimes could get through to dogfighters who relate to him. However, that’s a big “if.”
The only way to know for sure if Vick can change his ways is for him to submit himself for a brain scan and psychological test. Based on a number of factors—such as the fact that the right side of the hippocampus is larger than the left in 94 percent of captured psychopaths—these tests can help determine if Vick can ever truly understand that dog fighting is a sick, cruel business. Or, they could suggest that he’s doomed to repeat mean, violent behavior in the future—whether with dogs or other human beings. And given that Vick plans to be around a lot of kids, to give talks to them, and to be a star in their eyes again, the world deserves to know who he is inside.
Vick’s lawyers have run screaming, but unless and until he passes such a test, PETA will not participate in the production of a Michael Vick anti-dogfighting PSA. We hope that the NFL will require such a test as a precondition to even discussing the possibility of Vick’s reinstatement. You can click here to add your name to a petition calling on the NFL to stick to its guns and maintain Vick’s suspension until he’s taken and passed a brain scan and psychological evaluation.
Written by Dan Shannon