The growing anti-vax movement is spreading beyond calls to stop vaccinating children, to even family pets.
Veterinarians in Brooklyn say that some residents of the city’s most populous borough are now withholding life-saving inoculations from their cats and dogs, which may cause the spread of dangerous diseases.
“We do see a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their animals,” said Veterinarian Wellness Center’s Dr. Amy Ford in an interview with Brooklyn Paper. “This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are applying to their pets.”
The rise of the anti-vaccination movement stems from scientifically disputed fears that vaccines may cause autism in infants and young children. Dr. Ford says that she has seen an increase in clients refusing to have their pets vaccinated because of their beliefs. At present, biologists have found no links between autism and vaccines.
Over recent years, Hollywood celebrities like Robert De Niro and politicians like Jill Stein have promoted skepticism towards vaccines, which they claim causes autism—an emphatic statement from the CDC states the opposite.
New York pet owners are required to vaccinate their pets with rabies shots and will be fined if they don’t. Cats and dogs sometimes come in contact with wild animals like squirrels, which carry the disease.
According Dr. Ford, hipsters who promote a more holistic lifestyle for their pets tend to be the most vocal anti-vaxxers. “I really don’t know what the reasoning is, they just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems,” said Dr. Ford to Brooklyn Paper. His complaints were echoed by other veterinarians.
“I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate the dog for the same reason,” said Dr. Stephanie Liff of Pure Paws Veterinary Care, who added that the growing anti-vax movement is trickling down to animal healthcare. “We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could.”
According to the publication, some of these hipsters aren’t simply content with withholding inoculations from their pets. They’re also encouraging others to adopt their stance.