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GMAT Question of the Day – 11/12/2020

QUESTION

The number of stray dogs picked up in Ford City last year by the city’s dogcatchers was 50 percent lower than the previous year’s figure. The mayor of Ford City attributed this decline to the city’s recent crackdown on unlicensed breeders that breed dogs dangerously fast and release any unwanted puppies on the streets. Over a dozen operators of these so called “puppy farms” have been incarcerated over the last year in Ford City.

Each of the following, if true, could weaken the mayor’s conclusion that the decline in the number of stray dogs picked up by the city’s dogcatchers is due to the crackdown on “puppy farms” EXCEPT:

ANSWER SELECTION

(B) Ford City cut the budget for dog catching one year ago, forcing the firing of over half of the Dog-Catching Department’s staff.

(C) The past winter was bitterly cold in Ford City, causing many unprotected stray animals to perish.

(D) One year ago, a privately funded organization began rounding up stray dogs in Ford City and putting them up for adoption on the internet.

(E) Ford City already had tough laws to punish operators of “puppy farms” long before the most recent year. (THIS IS CORRECT!)

ANSWER EXPLANATIONS

This as a Weaken EXCEPT question. The four wrong choices will weaken the argument; the one correct answer will either strengthen the argument or be irrelevant.

The mayor of Ford City states the crackdown on puppy farms caused the lower number of stray dogs picked up by dogcatchers.

Weaken a causal argument by finding information that says the causation may be reversed, that there may be another cause, or that there may be only correlation between the two factors, not causation. Once a weakener is found, eliminate that choice. In this case, the most likely candidates are the last two. Look for a choice that contains information that there may be a factor other than the crackdown on puppy mills that reduced the number of stray dogs picked up or information that indicates there’s only a correlation between the two factors. Reversed causation doesn’t make sense, as the drop in stray dogs picked up can’t cause the city to crack down on puppy mills.

(E) matches the prediction and is correct. When the law came into effect is irrelevant. It is possible that it was never enforced previously, so the “crackdown” was responsible for the decrease in the number of stray dogs picked up.

(A) weakens the argument by describing a comparable city that experienced a decline in stray dogs picked up but that did not crack down on puppy mills. This provides evidence that there may be some other cause for the decline.

(B) weakens the argument by providing another reason for the decline: there were fewer dogcatchers.

(C) weakens the argument by providing another reason for the decline: the number of strays decreased because of the severe winter.

(D) weakens the argument by providing another reason for the decline: the adoption agency has been collecting the stray dogs.

Clever Academy

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