Participaction Canada CEO needs to change her tune

Last Sunday morning I stayed in bed a while longer than usual. It was raining out and it was sort of nice to laze around for a while.

I turned on the CBC weekend news program. A piece on children not being as active as they once were and how it is affecting their health. The CEO of Participaction, Kelly Murumets, was being interviewed. During her interview she made the analogy that “if a 'pitbull' was attacking your child, a parent would do everything in their power to get that 'pitbull' off thier child; but parents do not take the risks seriously of not keeping their kids active”.

Well holy hell. I jumped out of bed. I think this propoganda, fear mongering is finally getting to me. The thing that really ticks me off, is Ms. Muruments is in a postion of influence and spouting lies and feeding the fear mongering beast just isn't acceptable.

Now I realize this is now Thursday and this was last Sunday. The reason I have waited a few days to post something about it, I sent an email to Ms. Murmet immediately following the show. I have not heard back anything, therefore I thought I would let the rest of you know the ignorance we responsible dog owners have to deal with on a daily basis.

Here is a copy of the email I sent Ms. Murmuets.

Please feel free to drop Participaction a line as well. They didn't seem to have any direct contact info, but I emailed them through the comments section of the website.


April
19, 2009

To:

Kelly Murumets

Participaction Canada

 

Dear Ms. Murumets

 

I happen to catch the weekend CBC
news this morning. There was a segment featuring you speaking about children’s
physical activity and Participaction.

 

You made the analogy something to the effect that; if a
child had a “pitbull” attacking it, a parent would do everything in their power
to pull the dog off their child but that parents do not take the child’s
physical activity level as seriously where health is concerned.

 

Now I have no issue nor do I dispute the level of
seriousness that Canadian parents have for the physical activity of their
children; however I do take issue with stereotypical, fear mongering,
irresponsible statements comparing a specific type of dog to children’s
physical activity (or lack thereof).

 

By making this bold statement, you are feeding the
propagandized, fear mongering campaign that has been media driven over the past
several decades pertaining to “pitbulls”. All dogs can bite and if an analogy
to dog bites compared to physical activity were to be made, if hypothetically
the situation of children’s inactivity is as serious as you say, a Golden
Retriever, Labrador Retriever or Cocker Spaniel would be better analogies to
make since they are most frequently involved in biting incidents in Canada.

The comparison of dog attacks to the effects of inactivity
in children is a poor analogy to make and serves no real purpose other than
breeding fear or playing on a parent’s emotional response to “pitbull” attacks
that are the only ones reported in the main stream media.  I suppose your statement wouldn’t have held
the same impact if you had used the factual data:

 

“If a child had a Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever
attacking it, a parent would do everything in their power to pull the dog off
the child. Yet parents shrug the inactivity that will see their children’s life
span reduced”.

 

I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not particularly
knowledgeable where dogs are concerned. I realize physical activity is your
specialty and I suspect motivation and encouragement, programs educating
parents and children along with the factual data may have an effect in turning
poor activity habits into better ones. Fear mongering and feeding stereotypes
that center out dog owners that own a certain shape or type of dog will have no
effect on your objective. You have given another spec of permission for people
to irrationally fear dogs and again I suspect it had no positive effect on what
your objective is.

 

Here are several facts you may take into consideration
before passing judgment and making irresponsible statements you cannot back up.

Fact #1 There is no such thing as a 'pitbull'. It is a slang term for a
shape or type of dog. One of the most common mutts you see on the streets of
Manytown Canada.
Since the purebreds that are the usual typecast target are so ridiculously
rare, it is unlikely there is any bull or terrier in any of these short haired
mutts. Who knows for sure and who cares since a dog is a dog is a dog.

Fact #2 There is NO science to back up that any dog has a “worse”
bite or any dog is capable of a more “severe” bite than another. The
bite pressure thing is BS. Science proves that; and yes I can back it up. The
locking jaw is BS and yes I have a research paper to reference that as well.

Fact #3 Dogs reported in so called “pitbull” media reports are misidentified
as such. The dogs commonly referred to as “pitbulls” are mutts or one of over
25 separate breeds that have short hair. Commonly the breed identification
comes from an eye witness or the victim themselves.

Fact #4 Many people have limited knowledge about dogs and dog owners must be
evaluated on the training/socialization they have provided for the dog. Dog
issues are dog owner issues, not dog breed issues. There is no such thing as a
“dangerous breed” and certainly no such breed as a “pitbull”. American Pit Bull
Terrier yes; but that is not what we are discussing.

Fact #5 Many people have an irrational fear of dogs based on the media
propaganda for the past couple decades. This is a double edged sword since
people allow children to improperly approach “friendly breeds” again which do
not exist.

Fact #6 The typical owner of a short haired mutt (what people LOVE to refer
to as a “pitbull”) are middle aged, well educated women; however they
can come in all shapes and forms.

I realize I have given you quite a bit of information but I would like you
to consider yourself on the road to being educated about the propaganda
campaign against so called “pitbulls”.

In the future, I hope you will think better of making an unsubstantiated
statement about dogs in a feeble attempt to play on the emotions of parents.

 

Lori Gray

Update:

I did get a response back from Kelly Murumets. Thanks to Ms Murumets for your reply and I sincerely hope you will use a better analogy next time.


Dear Ms.
Gray,

 

Thank you very much
for your email and your interest in ParticipACTION.  We are glad that you had
the opportunity to watch the recent CBC News: Sunday story, which
underlined that we all need to work together to get our kids moving more, in
order to abate our country’s inactivity crisis.

 

We always
appreciate hearing from Canadians across the country, and we especially
appreciate the fact that you took the time to share your opinions with us.  Your
points are well taken and we have learned from them.

 

We hope that you
will join with us in our fight against Canada’s inactivity crisis. It will take
all of us together to ensure a healthier, more active Canada.

 

Yours very
truly,


Kelly D.
Murumets

President &
CEO

ParticipACTION

 


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