Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A visit is not an endorsement

I find it really difficult to believe that the ASPCA would endorse Cesar Millan's training methods, even after a visit to The Dog Whisperer set. But hey, you never know. Stranger things have happened.

For that reason, I contacted two individuals at the ASPCA, both of whom acknowledged that representatives from that organization had visited The Dog Whisperer set; one of those spokespersons said the visit occurred last August. However, that visit did not result in any changes in the ASPCA's position regarding Millan or his methods. Specifically, said one spokesperson in an email to me, "the ASPCA does not endorse Mr. Millan's training methods."

That said, the ASPCA has not made any public statement specifically criticizing Cesar Millan. Instead, the organization has a position statement regarding training methods in general. That statement is here.

Still, there's some slipperiness going on here. Not not only was the Dog Whisperer's initial assertion that American Humane had visited the set and reversed its position untrue -- equally untrue was any assertion that the ASPCA had reversed its position. In all fairness, the executive producer of the The Dog Whisperer did not make that claim when he explained to the BBC that Cesar Millan had confused American Humane with the ASPCA. But he didn't go out of his way to clarify the matter, either.

Bottom line: a first-hand look at someone's training methods is not necessarily an endorsement of such methods. Any statements or omissions that fuzz up that distinction are disingenuous, to say the least.

No comments: