By: Thomas Horvath
According to studies conducted around the world, the most popular household pet is the dog. This is not very surprising, as it seems like everyone has a dog. With everyone loving dogs, the demand is very high. Some people adopt from animal shelters, or they rescue strays, while the most common way is from a breeder. Breeders take a specific breed of an animal, inbreed the animal, and sell the babies to customers. While many might think that there is nothing wrong with this, there have been recent protests against breeding and breeders, claiming that it is unethical.
One point made is that inbreeding leads to the animals developing traits and deformities that were not once part of the bloodline. One example is the pug, which has become one of the most popular breeds of dogs in recent times. People loving the squishy faces and round bodies of the pug have caused breeders to inbreed pugs too much. If you look at the original pug, it is larger, thinner, and never were the breathing problems that currently affect most inbred species. There are other instances, such as the bull terrier and pitbull, but the main point is that inbreeding is unhealthy for dogs.
Another point is that the domesticated animal population is higher than ever and that constant breeding could lead to overpopulation. This overpopulation is most affecting animal shelters, with there not being enough space and resources for these animals. This leads to what would be the hardest pill to swallow for most people, being that if breeders keep getting customers, then the animals in shelters will likely not get a home and have to be put down. If we can’t take care of the animals in our shelters, then why would we continue to breed dogs that most likely won’t get to be taken care of?
There are, of course, counter arguments to these statements. One is that selective breeding leads to dogs becoming healthier than their species was before. This could help many breeds, such as the pug (as mentioned earlier) and many other dog breeds. Another reason is that this can help reserve rare breeds that could be going extinct. To sum up, the counter-claim is that with good, qualified breeders, they could make dogs healthier and more well preserved.
This issue is heatedly debated, and while there is no correct answer, at the end of the day what matters is that animals are treated with care and love, whether they are bred or adopted.