Monday, November 23, 2009

R.I.P. Uga / Deformed Breeds

 Uga (pronounced UH-geh) VII, The University of Georgia's beloved and hereditary mascot, has died at the hardly-mor'n-a-pup age of 4 years. By (capital B, no modifying adjective) Bulldog standards, he was gorgeous... But Bulldog standards are the problem. Note how extremeness is built into the show ideal. Callous human conceit from the showdog world deformed the original, functional bulldog into a collection of unhealthy, cartoonish exaggerations that have caused untold misery for the animals--and their sympathetic owners, the latter of whom, unless they were rescue-adopters, came to grievous lessons in the mistakenness of perpetuating signal deformity. At overlong last, responsible efforts are being made to correct these sources of affliction and grotesquery:

Several attempts have been made successfully, and continue to be made, of restoring the original, healthy bulldog type. Some can be found perusing breed links found here:

It's easy, seeing winsome pictures of dogs and cats with short legs and concaved noses, to understand some of the urge we humans have to DEFORM (that's what it truly IS) animals in ways that make them seem more endearing to us--like (breeding to perpetuate) achondroplastic dwarfism, which gives them a pseudo-babyish physiognomy, or other mutations that have served more functional purposes. Some of these selectively bred mutations are harmless, or even truly helpful to the domestic creature as well as to human wants. There are wild canids and felids and other carnivores with short legs. Whether the domesticated species ought to have them when their nearest wild relatives do not is at least questionable--though recognized histories of breed problems with such things should never be trivialized. There is also a kind of latent intelligent design that morphologically relates to selectively breeding wild species for a calm, friendly (thus domesticable) disposition:

But, when mutation and other breeding practices obviously have resulted in building ill health (including psychological ill health) INTO breeds, we should stop perpetuating those breeds, at least in the same unhealthy form.

The Ugas have been darlings, as have innumerable misshapen individuals, God bless 'em all. The Elephant Man was sweet and saintly, but arncha glad he didn't add to the gene pool! If his deformities were 'cute' but caused him as much affliction, the same principles should apply... And apply to animals, too.

We must stop breeding animals to have miserable lives (however nobly thy may bear them!) on account of our own conceits. I hope and pray that the University and the Sieler family will set a good example and choose the next Uga from one of the classically formed bulldog breeds. The Peachtree State even has its own breed: The Antebellum Bulldog!


  1. I agree that people who truly care about animal welfare should choose, in both buying and breeding of pets, breeds who do not have ill health bred into them, as is the case with the (Uga as exemplar) Bulldog. Kudos to responsible organizations like the Kennel Club of Great Britain for having now strongly modified breed standards to prioritize HEALTHY dogs over past standards which were full of "extremely"s taken to extremes by judges and "fanciers" in the grip of grotesque human conceits. The United Kennel Club (USA) defines itself as being about the practical PURPOSE of dog breeds over vain notions of cosmetic perfection. As you said, Uga VIII and thereafter should certainly be chosen from among the OTHER BULLDOG BREEDS whose standards are specifically determined to weed out the malformations in the (no-adjective-preceding, and, no, it's not "English") Bulldogs like Uga. Making animals suffer to maintain a "look", unnaturally hype an ability or inclination (for instance, a "fetch" obsession, extremely droopy ears or skin allegedly to "capture scent", or making an animal anxiously in need of always being in physical contact with his "imprinted on" humans), or even for some filthy conceit of blueblooded incest, is sicker than "keeping" your pet by having its corpse taxidermied.

    Yet, when such sentiments are issued by PETA, which has come out saying that the next Uga ought to be an animatronic robot - let's just say their "real' animal is the Trojan Horse: Many of their leading voices seem to have as their ideal the EXTINCTION of domestic animals, and of human beings, like the pseudo-ecology sickos who say "Nature" when they mean "death" and want everything to burn.

  2. The Gremalkin herself is posting for my friend and former student Lindenfir (my first commenter, above; unaccountably rendered "6p012875e8982f970c") who emailed me with this since either TypePad or Blogger was not letting him through. The Burrow doesn't seem to appear in G searches, either. A---OL- is bad enough that way in their news and MBs, although such things seem to work fine for raving bigots, spammers and flamers. Grr. Arrgh. Anyway, here is his post:

    "Bully breeds" have been made illegal or otherwise subject to exceptional/discriminatory legislation, largely because of the bad rep of Pit Bulls (Staffordshire Terriers or similar mixes). The Pit Bull rep is justified - but only because of irresponsible and often downright evil owners who (as in the past was true of Dobermans) would train their dogs to viciousness and breed with an aim toward pathologically "sharp" offspring.
    Of course this was because such owners wanted to participate in dogfighting for profit or got a coward's thrill in the vicarious veneer of toughness; of hoping to be thought of as intimidating because of having a (living) weapon. It's a continuous societal pandemic of psychopathology that people keep buying into such despicable notions; making heroes out of the likes of rot-brained gun-twerps like Billy the Kid and Babyface Nelson - or the local gangsnots. Pit Bulls - ironically small and normally winsome in appearance, compared to big, ugly, expensive, TOO HARD TO HANDLE molossers like Neopolitan Mastiffs (the breed that ate martyrs in the Roman Empire's hippodromes), Rottweilers, or various Central Asian flock-guard dogs - thus became, from misuse and mythology, bugbears-on-a-leash. And are thus, as individuals and as a breed, among the most need of SAVING.
    Here's a great article on a great show with some great people trying to do just that, while giving a second chance to some human beings who actually got penitent in the penitentiary. The soul of it is much like that of DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER - with real dawgs! Great site, too. Check out it and its links: