From: Lisa Marie
15 Jan 2008
Subject: Update on I Buy Strays
Every so often, someone sets up a hoax website like Bonsai Kitten, which purported to be changing the shapes of cats by putting them in jars, Save Toby (that guy who claimed he was gonna kill his pet rabbit unless people sent him cash), and Kitty Beef (my personal favorite-- the title kind of speaks for itself), and a lot of people get (understandably) very upset about the whole thing. Well, there's a new kid on the block now, and this one may be the most interesting of them all, because it draws attention to a little-known aspect of the animal-experimentation business that really reveals a lot about the whole sick industry.
IBuyStrays.com is a hoax. Just to be clear on this, it's not a real site. The person who set it up doesn't really buy stray cats and dogs to sell to animal experimenters. So there's no need for alarm on that front. But sadly, the situation it describes is very real. As many as 115 million animals are experimented on and killed in laboratories in the U.S. every year. Not that it makes any difference, ethically speaking, but a large percentage of these animals are cats and dogs, and a great many of those cats and dogs come from the streets, from animal shelters, and from people's back yards.
Class B animal dealers, or "Bunchers," are licensed by the USDA to obtain dogs and cats from "random sources," which are defined as "animal pounds or shelters, auction sales, or from any person who did not breed and raise them on his or her premises." And many states allow "pound seizure," which means that the shelters are required by law to turn over certain animals to experimenters on demand.
So my point here is that anyone who's shocked or upset by IBuyStrays.com should direct their attention towards the animal experimentation industry itself.
Although it may be a bit tactless, the site isn't doing any actual harm-- in fact, if you ask me, it's doing a good thing by making people aware of the fact that the horrific circumstances which it ironically depicts are a daily occurrence. And there is something we can do about it.
To learn more about how you can help animals suffering in labs, check out StopAnimalTests.com, and if you haven't already, you can click here to pledge to boycott products that are tested on animals.
Bravo for Ibuystrays.com! Having at last just taken a good look for myself, I have no doubt that this website has produced an extraordinary animal rights message relating to unwanted pets and not just for activists, but for the public at large. However, it is cleverly disguised. So clever that it has had half-informed animal rescuers and activists scurrying around for the past week trying to determine if it is for real or if it is an urban legend. You have to read the material and go through all the links to see how clear the message is. This was an extremely busy week for me so please accept my apologies for posting all the emails on this without having taken a look at the website myself, until now. Well there's no doubt in my mind and if you take the trouble to carefully read the material on each of the links on the www.Ibuystrays.com website, you will undoubtedly come to the same conclusion!
Some really smart activist or organization, has made a thoroughly provocative attempt to call attention to the problem of unwanted animals, and to those who use every excuse in the book to justify abandoning an animal. It also points a bloody finger at all those mindless cretins who would sell their precious, beautiful animals for a fate worse than death and be happy to make a few bucks on the deal. And don't breeders do that every day!!! as well as all the pet shops that sell animals?
We should all be applauding the person/group that posted this message on Craigslist and got the ball rolling. As we all know, Craigslist is the dumping ground par excellence, for all kinds of unwanted merchandise, including pets. Let's hope it has had a positive effect on the heartless cretins...since most of us already know the drill.
January 05, 2008
<< I have been in contact with its [website's] owner, however, who insists that the project is more accurately described as "satire." ...the website lists no physical address, phone number, or other real-world contact information....>>
http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/webhoaxes/a/ibuystrays.htm?nl=1 Scroll about 1/4 down:
IBuyStrays.com - Hoax or Satire?
January 04, 2008
I disagree, but with reason. This is possibly one of the smartest education pieces in a long time and has gained serious attention of the general towards the issue that we face.
Animal Welfare often lives in a vacuum, shouting to ourselves. This site is sucking in the general public and educating them on the issue, then spreading it around.
Anyone who reads this site, follows the site thru with somewhat revulsion but learns within 4 clicks about the act and the lame laws in place. Very smart. Scarey, but smart.
'I Buy Strays' Website
By David Emery, About.com
Screenshot of 'I Buy Strays' website, as of 01/02/08
Urban Legends Ads
Netlore Archive: Ibuystrays.com website purports to offer cash for unwanted pets to be resold to companies engaged in animal experimentation
Description: Web hoax / Satire
I Buy Stray Dogs and Cats
Reply to: email@example.com
Do you have one too many cats? Or maybe a litter of unwanted puppies? I can help you out and put a little money in your pocket.
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Though it purports to represent a legitimate enterprise, the website lists no physical address, phone number, or other real-world contact information. I could find no evidence that a company doing business as "IBuyStrays.com LLC" even existed prior to the date of the domain registration (December 21, 2007). I've found no compelling evidence of its existence since that date, either.
While not entirely preposterous, the basic premise of the site stretches credulity. It is true that under U.S. law, licensed "Class B" animal dealers may legally purchase animals -- including pets -- from private individuals as well as pounds and shelters and resell them to research facilities. But they stay in business by cruising under the public radar, not by overtly soliciting family pets for purposes of laboratory testing. In fact, this website appears to be drawing precisely the sort of attention most animal dealers seek fervently to avoid.
Hoax or political satire?
So it seems there is a serious point to all of this. When I contacted the operator of the site, who replied to my messages using the initials "IBS" (for "I Buy Strays," presumably), he (or she) took umbrage at my referring to the enterprise as a hoax. "The word you're looking for is 'satire' (and militant satire at that)," IBS wrote. "The goal of a hoax is primarily either humor or to defraud someone. Though amusing to some, I would not call my site 'funny' and I'm not trying to steal anyone's money. So, by definition, it's not a hoax."
All well and good, provided the site actually meets the definition of satire, namely: "A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit." So, what human vice or folly is being attacked? The unscrupulous practices of certain parties who actually do buy and sell animals for research.
"The Animal Welfare Act allows Class B animal dealers to legally purchase from random sources and resell them," explains IBS. "Pets truly are purchased every day and sold to laboratories. If people are upset with the type and style of my business, they can feel free to just write me more hate mail instead of contacting their Congressman about the Pet Safety and Protection Act."
Which I take to be a roundabout way of urging support for the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which was re-introduced in Congress earlier this year. The legislation takes aim at unscrupulous Class B dealers and their middlemen, called "bunchers," the latter of whom are not currently subject to USDA regulations and stand accused of many abuses. "Class B dealers and bunchers have been known to acquire lost, stray and 'free to a good home' dogs and cats, as well as pets from their owners' backyards," writes Stephanie Edwards of the Humane Society. The new law would clamp down on these practices, as well as research facilities which continue to purchase animals from illegitimate sources.
Website focuses attention on a real problem
So, while the nature and purpose of the enterprise touted on IBuyStrays.com strains the boundaries of both reason and good taste, it highlights a real problem for which a real solution may be in the offing. Judging from the sampling of vicious comments IBS shared with me, public revulsion toward the site has run spectacularly high. When I asked IBS to respond to the avalanche of criticism, I received this characteristically cagey reply:
"I urge the public to contact their Congressman immediately and urge him NOT to support The Pet Safety and Protection Act, S. 714. This bill would prohibit the practice of Class B dealers and unlicensed individuals from selling random dogs and cats to laboratories and be very deleterious for my business."
Translation: If you hate IBuyStrays.com and everything it stands for, do write your representatives in support of the Pet Safety and Protection Act, and put the real offenders out of business.
Pets: U.S. Facts & Figures
National Pet Alliance Presentation
Pet Owner Survey Results
Animal Care Guide: Random Source Dog & Cat Dealer Inspection
Laboratory Animal Sources
The Shady Bunch: Seedy Dealers May Be Cruising for Animals Online
Pet Safety and Protection Act Introduced