AOC’s Purebred Puppy Purchase Prompts PETA Pushback

Lawmaker Missed an Opportunity to Give a Homeless Dog a Chance at Life

For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York

After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced her new purebred French bulldog puppy on social media, PETA sent the lawmaker a letter urging her to visit a New York City animal shelter to see the scores of wonderful dogs there who desperately need homes. The group also urged her to pledge to adopt her next animal companion (or to adopt a second one now so that the two can keep each other company while she’s busy on Capitol Hill) and to ask her followers to do the same and save a life.

“AOC had a chance to set a compassionate, responsible example in the face of the homeless-animal crisis, but instead, she apparently inadvertently contributed to the problem,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is urging her supporters not to follow her lead in this case and to stick up for the underdog by choosing to give a lovable mutt a new lease on life.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that more than 6 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter shelters every year and that many are euthanized for lack of enough good homes.

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PETA’s letter to Ocasio-Cortez follows.

January 9, 2020

The Honorable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

United States House of Representatives

Dear Ms. Ocasio-Cortez,

We really couldn’t believe our eyes, because you are a role model for how to live, so we understand that you just didn’t realize what you were doing in this case—you couldn’t have. With the millions of homeless dogs out there, you apparently chose to buy a purebred puppy instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Right this minute, on Petfinder alone, there are more than 110,000 dogs—including French bulldogs—who need homes. Animal shelters are bursting at the seams with hundreds of thousands more, many of whom will be “put to sleep” for lack of a home.

French bulldogs are inbred in order to produce “breed-specific traits,” which cause health problems that many people who will be influenced by your purchase won’t be able to afford to address. They are particularly at risk because their “cute” features plague them with a lifetime of breathing problems (you may have seen the media uproar this week after a disturbing photo of a pug’s MRI went viral), ear and eye infections, skin irritation, a weak stomach, and other issues—all “man-made.”

Please, please, visit any NYC Animal Care & Control shelter to see the rows and rows of animals desperately awaiting homes. On behalf of the more than 6 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats who enter shelters every year and the people who care for them, we’re asking that you please be a part of the solution to ending the cat- and dog-overpopulation crisis and consider setting the right example for your millions of followers by adopting a mutt and encouraging them to do the same. Not only will you be saving another dog’s life, the new dog will also provide your puppy with the companionship he desperately needs as your busy schedule takes you around the country. We’re also sending you a copy of the book Dogs Hate Crates, which explains why crate training is not humane or effective. (PETA’s website offers tips for positive training methods.)

With kind regards,

Ingrid Newkirk

PETA President

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