Kate Hawkesby: Criticism of SPCA grossly unfair

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 9 March 2018, 8:26AM
The SPCA were criticised by some for this social media post using a French bulldog.
The SPCA were criticised by some for this social media post using a French bulldog.

I see our current climate of 'judginess' even extends now to man's best friend.

It was disheartening to see yet another outfit busy trying to do the right thing, getting pinged for ‘slipping up’ and having to issue the mandatory demanded punishment these days – a public apology.

The SPCA apologised after using a photo of a French bulldog dressed in a Batman outfit to advertise for 2018 street collectors.

As with everything these days, it sparked a backlash, this time from bulldog owners who said the animal protection organisation was being hypocritical and exploiting the breed's "cute factor".

Sorry? What? The “cute” factor. The SPCA, accused of exploiting the ‘cuteness’ of animals. Name me the person with an animal, a dog or a cat, or even a rat for that matter, who doesn’t think their pet is the cutest thing in the world? It’s like babies. We think our own are adorable, we exploit their cuteness up the wazoo. Because guess what? They are cute.

The hypocrisy claim was on the back of the SPCA's public support of Trade Me's ban on the sale of British bulldogs, pugs and French bulldogs.

Bulldog owners jumped up and down using words like insensitivity, hypocrisy, two-faced and so it went.

When we’re blinded by rage, we lose perspective.

The hard-working people of the SPCA were looking for volunteers. They weren’t inviting some kind of national attack against themselves, they weren’t purposely trying to upset people. They were just advertising for volunteers. Their message was lost, lost in the fury and the ‘offence’ of a handful of sensitive bulldog owners.

The SPCA chief executive had to ‘explain herself’, she had to apologise for finding bulldog’s cute, she talked about ‘tidying things up’, in apologising, she said they were ‘learning, and trying their best’.

If I’d been advising her, I would've told her not to waste her breath with all that. Front up to the media sure, but just say, ‘yep, so what? Bulldogs are cute. All dogs are cute. We’re focused on finding volunteers not apologising for images, naff off.’ That’s probably why I’m not in the corporate world, telling people to naff off probably isn’t very PC.

The SPCA weren’t being hypocritical about the French Bulldog breed in terms of back tracking on their support of Trade Me's ban, they were merely supporting the ones already in existence.

We’re a dog family, we adopted a guide dog a few years ago, and we’ve bought a puppy this year. We haven’t adopted an SPCA animal but I wouldn’t rule it out. (Don’t tell my husband that.) The work they do is tireless, thankless, and shows more dedication to our four-legged furry friends than most would ever bother with.

Their street appeal starts today, I have no association with the SPCA, but I do hope people can see past their outrage on ‘Batman bulldog gate’, and just donate.

ON AIR: Leighton Smith Show

8:30AM - 12PM