"If we start now, we'll have the country's first database, complete with owner demographics, in 10 to 15 years". Gordon Stull, DVM, NJ Animal Welfare Task Force, Pet Overpopulation Subcommittee
Whoooaaa, Bessie. Did I hear that correctly?
He wants a database, populated with data collected from a microchip program, driven by adoptions from the state's shelters. Then he says he wants to make the microchip program mandatory for every pet (read pet owner) in the State Of New Jersey. Then the information from the mandatory microchip program would then feed the first database of its kind in the country - tracking all pets and pet owners in the State of New Jersey.
"He" would be Gordon Stull, DVM. New Jersey Animal Welfare Task Force Member. Pet Overpopulation Subcommittee. Oh yes, and as I later discover, an animal rights activist.
Let's see - he wants a database, replete with "demographics", with 24/7 access by the state.
I was in the audience of the presentation of the New Jersey Animal Welfare Task Force's recommendations at the New Jersey Bar Association. ( See page 79 of the report, which will display as page 88 of the PDF).
"Does anyone here have privacy concerns or constitutional objections to this proposed database?" I asked the panel members at the Q & A period. The panel members exchanged glances. Nope.
No? Well, the members of task force may not have a problem with such a database. But I certainly do, and so does every privacy expert who hears about New Jersey's proposed "pet database".
How do you spell P-R-I-V-A-C-Y?
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There are HUGE privacy concerns, even constitutional concerns, with regard to this database. What, does this type of information somehow fall under The Patriot Act?
We have serious questions about this database, and so should every pet-owning citizen in the state (which according to the American Pet Products Manufactureres Association, is 44.9% of us).
In fact, pet owners in New Jersey should be alarmed, as privacy lawyers are, that the state is even considering such a move. Do elected officials in New Jersey have a clue about this? And just who is running the show?
Let's muse on just what kinds of data would be in New Jersey's pet database?
Would you include, for instance, pet name, age, vaccination records ? But if you have that information, it's then assumed you'd have to have the owner's information too. Like the owner's name, address, phone, driver's license.
Oh - and let's be sure to include whether or not the pet is spayed or neutered. Not that I don't think it's a good thing - I do. In fact all of my pets have been fixed.
But we're talkin' database here - so why?
Would it have anything to do with the fact that MANDATORY STERILIZATION FOR ALL COMPANION ANIMALS (PETA-related site) is at not only at the top of the animal rights agenda, but is at the heart of the task force's recommendations as well?
Or how about the fact that the person leading the state's task force's subcommittee, Gordon Stull, an animal rights activist, and is pushing the animal rights agenda in the the state's recommendations? The report states -
“ It is anticipated that, if a mandatory microchip policy were implemented, the State’s pet population would be fully microchipped and accounted for in approximately 10-15 years. New Jersey would also have access to more complete data concerning its pet population than it currently has and would be better able to quantify needs and provide adequate services. Currently, companion animal demographic data is largely based upon license or food sales data and does not include data concerning feral cats, which can represent upwards of 50% of the total cat population. The data is also often incomplete, as it does not include other important demographics, such as breed, age and medical information and reproductive status.
Without reliable data concerning companion animals, the size and scope of New Jersey’s pet population can only be estimated, thus impairing the State’s ability to plan for and respond to the problem of pet overpopulation. If, however, a microchip program were to provide accurate population and demographic data, the State could use this when projecting how much money would be needed for animal control and welfare purposes.”
But, hey -enough about the animal rights people - there's something for everybody, right? Let's go on..............
So while State of New Jersey is busy collecting more data on it's citizen pets & pet owners, please be sure to include dog breed.
That's because the insurance industry, big on almost every politician's list of donors, will want that served up. Good for jacking up rates, plumping up those profits.
Gee, then the state (or it's vendors) could matrix the new data with other great stuff - like data from other databases? Like voting records. Parking tickets. Maybe even health records.
And then, since it's a state-owned database - would that information be available to the public? Or how about state contractors, marketers, credit card companies?
I have a problem with goverment wanting to be in my living room, bedroom and even on my deathbed. Now that the state wants to track me and my dog (or is it really the animal rights people?), they even want to be in my dog's bed.
I gotta problem with that. What about you?