July 20, 2011 by staff
Michael Vick, Robert Siegel talks to Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles and Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States on a bill to crack down on criminals that finance – and bring the children – fighting Dogs and roosters.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is all things considered. I’m Michele Norris.
Robert Siegel, host:
And I’m Robert Siegel.
Today in Washington, an interesting team expressed support for a bill in the House of Representatives. The bill HR 2492. Repressed in cckfighting and dogfighting.
There is already an Animal Welfare Act, which makes it illegal to knowingly sponsor or exhibit an animal in a place of animal fighting. The new law criminalizes the attending or cause a child to attend an animal fight.
The team consists interesting talks about Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, Michael Vick, star quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, who served a prison sentence for dogfighting at his Virginia home.
And after holding a press conference in Washington and called on members of Congress on Capitol Hill to support the bill tougher, Wayne Pacelle and Michael Vick came to our studio. And welcome both.
Mr. Wayne Pacelle (President of the Humane Society of the United States): Thank you.
Mr. Michael Vick (Football Player): Thank you.
Siegel: First, Wayne Pacelle, the bill that you specifically mention the promotion among underage viewers in animal fighting. How big is a problem of dog fighting among young people?
Mr. Pacelle: Well, it’s a widespread problem in society. It is mainly adults, who participate in the company, but some of them bring children to the fights, I think it only compounds the injury.
I mean it’s bad enough that the animals suffer, but then to expose children to this and to numb their sensitivity cannot be a good thing. So that’s why we are actively supporting HR 2492.
Siegel: Michael Vick, I read that it was involved in when they were eight years of fighting dogs.
Mr. Vick: Yes, I was quite young.
Siegel: When you were eight, who were old enough to know that this was – it was illegal, there were people who said you should not do this?
Mr. Vick: Well, nobody ever said it was illegal; it was the right thing to do. I thought it was wrong not feeling well, but at the same time, everyone was involved. So it was just sort of follow the leader game the game and then the older ones.
Siegel: You were the following types?
Mr. Vick: Yes
Siegel: I’d like to ask you both for the association of their own. Wayne Pacelle, who visited Michael Vick when he was in prison, where – I guess you pitched the idea to help the Humane Society of the community programs that reach urban youth. You mentioned this before in this program and elsewhere. They were skeptical at first.
Mr. Pacelle: Well, of course, you know, I was. Michael, of course, was involved in some things that human society hates. Our electorate was very, very angry about what happened. Many people told me not to do. They said it was too radioactive.
But I felt that this was one of the ways in which we reach these young people in urban communities where dogfighting has been increasing.
And we are a movement of sinners, frankly. There are many people who have done bad things to animals, and we want people moving in the right direction. I thought back to him was a mistake.
Siegel: Michael Vick, what was your idea here when I was in jail? Why do you want to see Mr. Pacelle?
Mr. Vick: First, I thought only things I could do to enlighten the children and do not end up in a situation, which ended in. First place went to go out and try to be the best ambassador for my community that can be.
And I know what is happening in my hometown and I grew up and started thinking of ways to try to be a difference making, being an instrument of change.
And I thought about the things I’ve done, and if I had the proper orientation and used correctly, if I have done in the situation you are in. So I was grateful that Wayne had the meeting. It was not an easy meeting. You know, I think he understands that, you know, I wanted to be part of the movement and assist in the eradication of dogfighting as a whole.
Siegel: This was a meeting, as you say, in a federal prison, when you were a prisoner doing, I think what turned out to be 19 months. You were there for dogfighting. We kill dogs that did not perform well. In her-there ‘s a time when, according to Wayne Pacelle’s book, you say look, I love dogs.
Mr. Vick: Yes
Siegel: It seems a strange – a difference of what it means to love dogs.
Mr. Vick: That’s absolutely correct, so now I’m still confused why my participation was so detailed. But, you know, everything is back, and I cannot do anything about it, but part of the solution not the problem.
Siegel: But the dog lover, I wanted to say I love being with dogs. I love the stronger, harder, the greatest gladiator of dogs. I love watching the dogs go and make a fight with others and be brave. It’s a different kind of dogs love.
Mr. Vick: Yes, it’s a different kind of love. And you know, I’ve always wanted and loved animals and dogs. And my mother always allowed me to keep one in the house, and have always had a family pet. And to go the way that I was really discouraged by all my family, because they knew of passion.
So you know, like I said, is something I have to live with and demons and, you know, trying to move it.
Mr. Pacelle: You know, go back to the subject of Michael told me, and, you know, when we met he loved animals, obviously, people are involved, cckfighting dogfighting really the value of animals in some way.
I mean, the value of the musculature, tenacity, bravery of animals. But as Michael and I have discussed, that is not complete. Empathy is not found. Remember that these animals feel and think, and who suffer and to cause them pain and misery just for our amusement is deeply wrong.
Siegel: Michael Vick, who has made a major comeback of all time. Not just in football. I mean, it’s hard to imagine that other people have done what he did. And I wonder what he would tell a listener who questions his sincerity, saying that Michael Vick has to talk about this, you who claim to have changed his mind in order to escape bankruptcy, to return to soccer after people, you know, thought he was too old to return to the game, to get guarantees again. There is something in it for you. What do you say?
Mr. Vick: Well, I should say – and Wayne and I have discussed this before – do not have to do this, or could have done for a year. And every time I called Wayne, or if there is anything I can do to help, I’m always there.
Siegel: Are you saying that not only in Congress but have you gone to schools, which spoke to school groups?
Mr. Vick: I have spoken in many places, and we have no contract. It is based on how they both feel and what I feel is right, because my thing is I do not want this to continue. I do not want the animals continue to be hurt. We do not want children end up in jail behind the meaningless activity.
Siegel: Do you await the day that people will say once again that Michael Vick, you know, the great quarterback, first for the Falcons, but then the Eagles, unlike Michael Vick is who made 19 months in federal prison for dogfighting?
Mr. Vick: Yes, hopefully one day they will say that Michael Vick, the great man and the man who believes in himself and changed his life.
Siegel: Wayne Pacelle, the Congress at this time, you know, this deficit is treated. I still have to get a reconciliation of what they are doing about the financial institution regulations, and the Republicans want to change health care. Will they be able to find any time or energy to modify the laws on animal fighting?
Mr. Pacelle: Well, Congress has provided some circumstance of national emergency to deal with. And it has many committees that continue to work in many ways, the policy of many.
We’re not saying it rises to the level of the issue of debt ceiling or health, but we are saying is important, however, and cruelty to animals is an important issue for our country.
Siegel: Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States and author of “The Bonus: our kinship with animals, our call to defend,” and Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles. Thank you both.
Mr. Pacelle: Thank you.
Mr. Vick: Thanks.
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