Are We Helping to Criminalize Dog Breeding?
"The following article was written by Diane Klumb for ShowSights Magazine, June 2003. Though this pertains to dogs it should be of interest to anyone breeding purebred animals. It is VERY thought provoking and fits into our current discussion regarding mentoring new breeders as well as what a good breeder is!!!
Please give it some thought and give thought to the importance of mentoring, teaching and developing new breeders by encouraging those who are new to the breeding world. ...Because if we do not, we could be encouraging the END of breeding purebred pets. The article below is riveting in many respects!" (anonymous)
"I just finished reading 'The Hijacking of the Humane Movement' by Rod and Patti Strand. If you haven't read it, please do so. Immediately.
What it did was convince me that allowing dogs to be shown on Limited Registration (the topic of my column last month) was not just a good idea, as a lot of you actually agreed, it was vital to the continuation of our passion....purebred dogs.
It is critically important that each and every one of us involved in the sport of dogs understand what we are up against, and most of us are woefully ignorant.
There is a large, well-funded and well-organized network out there that believes we have no right to own dogs - in fact, they believe domestic animals should not exist at all, and their goal is to see that they do not.
Yeah, we all know about animal-rights crazies....PETA jumps immediately to mind, because they are a media-oriented organization. Most of us do not support them. We think they are nuts.
But I'll bet it never occurred to you that you are unwittingly spreading their message......
Before you say "me? NEVER!" let me ask you this - have the words "companion animal" ever rolled off your tongue in the last year or two? Do you vaguely remember when we called them "pets"? Where'd that pretty term come from anyway?
Here is your answer:
"I don't use the word "pet". I think it is speciesist language. I prefer "companion animal". For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding....if people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets....But as the surplus of cats and dogs (artificially designed by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship - enjoyment at a distance."
Ingrid Newkirk, Co-Founder of PETA
Every time we use "their" terminology in place of our own, we spread their message and support their cause. Are you perchance telling people you "place" puppies in their new "adoptive" homes? With their new "guardians"? (Is that check you get the "adoption fee" for their new "furkid"?)
I sell puppies that I have bred to the best owners that I can find.
I tell my pet puppy-buyers in no uncertain terms that these are ten-pound pack-hunting predators, not little people in fur coats, and if they do not understand that right out the gate, they will have an unhousebroken little monster on their hands in short order.
But that's a mild example... the most dangerous way in which we have brought in and supported their cause to end animal ownership and the breeding of dogs is by believing that responsible ("good") breeders produce less dogs than irresponsible ("bad") ones. And, following this dangerous logic, the most responsible ("very best") breeders presumably produce none at all!
The reason we believe that breeding less dogs is responsible is because we all have been told that there is a pet overpopulation problem, and every year, more and more unwanted pets are euthanized in shelters across the country.
But is the problem really getting worse and worse, or have we simply been told that? (And by whom?)
Here's a fact that I learned, thanks to Rod an Patti's aforementioned book:
IT AIN'T TRUE.
According to the figures of the American Humane Association, there was a 45% drop in dog euthanasia from 1985-1990. That trend has continued today to such an extent that in many parts of the country, shelters are importing stray dogs from third world countries to fill the demand!!!
Unbelievable? Not at all.
I actually have first-hand experience with the shortage - our own local shelter, on whose Board I served for many years, sends a fair number of our strays to a shelter in New York that's in constant need of adoptable dogs, where they end up as pampered pets in Manhattan...and these are mostly crossbred hounds...these shelters get little dogs from Puerto Rico, honest to God.
At the same time, public demand for purebred dogs has increased to the point where the commercial producers (who presumably are not as gullible as us and never believed this claptrap coming from Animal Rights people in the first place) cannot keep up with the demand and are also importing purebreds from third world countries to supply many of the upscale pet shops in the country. And trust me, they are selling for a lot more than you are getting for your pet puppies out of top show lines!!
And here we sit, feeling smug about how very few dogs we breed, as though this is somehow a measure of our moral superiority.
The less dogs you breed, the better a breeder you are... how damn dumb is that?
Let's apply this weird logic to other endeavors for a minute - The less books you write, the better a writer you are? The less paintings you produce the better a painter you are? The less cases you try, the better an attorney you are? Or, how about - my personal favorite - the less surgeries you perform, the better surgeon you are???? Hmmmmm...Would you choose a cardiac surgeon because the guy only performs the particular surgery you need once every four years? (Not unless you are a total idiot...)
No, in a rational world, the measure of your competence in any given endeavor is not determined by how infrequently you do it...this idiocy was handed to us on a platter by the Animal Rights Activist, and we actually accepted it.
A good breeder is not one who breeds less dogs - it is someone who breeds dogs well. And, although it is probably the height of political incorrectness to point this out in the current climate, the odds of breeding dogs well is probably increased by actually doing it!
A good breeder, in my humble opinion, is one who breeds only for the improvement in type and structure, as defined by the Standard for his breed. (If his dogs don't need any improvement in those area, it's because it is his first litter...) He screens his dogs for all the health problems in his breed, and makes intelligent and informed choices based on the results of those tests to minimize the risk of producing unhealthy animals. He takes the time to learn the basics of genetics, anatomy, and canine behavior before he starts breeding, and continues to study throughout his years as a breeder. He socializes his puppies. He stands behind his dogs for life. He shows his dogs in competition, because he understands that the purpose of competition is the evaluation of breeding stock, but he does not breed only to win, because he is aware of the pitfalls inherit therein....
It doesn't matter if one produces one litter a year or ten, or whether one makes money or loses it in the process - one is either a good breeder, or one is not. Anyone who believes otherwise is supporting the agenda of those who want to see breeding dogs criminalized.
Duhhhh... what exactly do you think these people are talking about anyway?
#10 on the Animal Rights Platform (reprinted from the Animals Agenda, a publication of the movement, and lifted from Rod and Patti's book) states unequivocally:
We Strongly discourage any further breeding of companion animals, including pedigreed or purebred dogs or cats.
(Are they going to ask us nicely? Uh-uh. They are trying to legislate us out of existence as we speak...)
And #11 includes this ominous gem:
We call for an end to the use of animals in entertainment and sports such as horse and dog racing, dog and cock fighting, fox hunting, hare coursing, rodeos, circuses and other spectacles...Anyone inclined to pick and choose here, and there is much to pick and choose from, should remember that although they personally find dog fighting loathsome, one of the greatest "spectacles" in the sport of dogs is Westminster...
So what does this have to do with Limited Registration?
Easy. We need more good dogs, not less.
And we need more good breeders, not less. Which means we need to find some new ones, and mentor them.
But we want to make sure they will be responsible breeders, or we simply won't do it - we'll sell what we don't keep on spay/neuters until there are no more of us left before we'll risk having our kennel names show up on an auction list somewhere because we called one wrong...
And, as I pointed out in the last column, we would be much more likely to encourage new breeders if we could sell promising puppies on contract to novices with Limited Registration until such time as they are finished and health-tested. By this point the new owner would have demonstrated a sufficient degree of commitment (in some competitive breeds it's one hell of a commitment!) and the Limited could be lifted, sending another potential Good Breeder out into the world to fight the bad guys with our blessing.
And then the Parent Clubs could maybe get off their collective posteriors and start helping potential owners of their respective breeds find a good dog instead of forcing them to go to pet shops ......, thereby keeping the bottom feeders of dogdom in business and giving the Animal Rights crazies more video footage to work with in their campaign to outlaw the breeding of dogs...you know... be part of the solution instead of part of the problem...
But I guess maybe that's another column entirely. See you at the shows!!"