Do we need dog breeders?
I thought this article may be of interest to you. I post the first half of it. If you like it, I will post the rest of the story tomorrow.
In Defense of Dog Breeders
How Animal Rights Has Twisted Our Language
by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
“You’re a dog breeder!!!!!!!!!!!!”
In today’s world, that is a very loaded statement. It’s more like an accusation.
“I told the television news reporter that I breed dogs,” a friend from Dallas told me recently. “He looked at me like he thought I was a harlot.”
Dog owners have allowed the animal rights movement to redefine our language in order to paint everything we do in the worst possible light. If we say that we breed dogs, the looks we get ask us if we own a “puppy mill” or if we are a “backyard breeder.”
If we reply that we are a “hobby breeder,” someone immediately asks how we can consider living creatures a hobby. Some of us try the word “fancier.” We fool no one.
The most pathetic response to the question is when we call ourselves “responsible breeders.” Responsible to whom? Who defines “responsible” and “irresponsible?” Some bureaucrat? A politician? Animal rights cretins who say there is no such thing as a responsible breeder? Animal rights fanatics would rather kill all animals than see someone love them. In fact, that’s their plan.
If we say we are not breeders, it makes us “pet hoarders.” We are tarred as mentally ill people in need of psychotherapy.
The entire language about dog ownership has been hijacked by the rhetoric of the animal rights movement.
The worst part is that we have allowed it to happen. We are too fearful and wimpy to stand up for ourselves. We keep searching for inoffensive euphemisms to describe what we do, so that we don’t open ourselves up to attack.
By doing that, however, we have engineered our own demise.
The animal rights movement will not go away. Its agenda is to destroy our right to own or raise animals. Animal rights groups have declared war on all animal ownership, and they won’t stop until they either win or we finally have the courage to stand up and defeat them.
They have not taken that kind of power over us. We have given it away. We have surrendered our beliefs to the enemy.
We apologize for what we do. We make weak excuses for things like animal shelter euthanasia, accidental matings, dog fighting and dangerous dogs. We take at least part of the responsibility for these problems onto our own shoulders, when in truth we have no responsibility at all for creating them.
I am sick and tired of watching dog owners constantly apologize and grovel, and allowing themselves to be put on the defensive.
Enough! It’s time to stop sniveling about who we are and what we do.
Let me state clearly and for the record: I am a dog breeder. I breed dogs. I raise puppies. I like it. I’m very proud of it.
If you don’t like it, you are free to take a flying leap. I don’t care what you think of me or what I do.
I raise two or three litters of English setter puppies a year. I wish I could raise more puppies, but can’t figure out how to do it without driving myself into bankruptcy.
My dogs work for a living, just like I do. They have to be good at their jobs, just like I do. If they aren’t good at their jobs, I don’t keep them and I certainly don’t breed them.
They are hunting dogs, and they have to be able to perform to a very demanding standard of excellence to be worthy of breeding. They have to meet the exacting standard of championship-quality performance in the toughest competition.
They are professional athletes.
Most of them don’t make the cut. Those dogs make wonderful hunting companions or family members.
I have never had a dog spayed or neutered, except for medical reasons, and I don’t intend to start now. If a dog is good enough for me to keep, it is good enough to breed.
Nor have I ever sold a puppy on a spay/neuter contract. With performance dogs, it takes two or three years to know what you have. There is no way that anyone can know the full potential or worthiness of a young puppy. I hope every puppy that I sell will become a great one that is worthy of being bred.
I do not feel bad (and certainly do not feel guilty) if someone decides to breed a dog from my kennel that I did not choose to keep for myself when it was a puppy. It still will be a very nice dog, and I have worked very hard on my breeding program for 35 years to assure that very high quality genetics will be passed along and concentrated in any dog that I sell.
On occasion, I have a puppy that has a serious flaw. I don’t sell those puppies, even though they would make many people very happy. I give them away free to good homes, and the definition of a good home is mine because it’s my puppy. I own it. You don’t.
My responsibility is to the puppy. It is not to you, and it’s not to some gelatinous glob called “society.” I consider myself to be personally responsible for every puppy I raise, from birth until the day it dies. It always has a home in my kennel, if its new owner can’t keep it or no longer wants it.
That’s a contract written in blood between the puppy and me. It’s a contract written with a handshake with the puppy’s new owner.
I laugh cynically when someone from the Humane Society of the United States or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ask if I am a responsible breeder. HSUS and PETA are two of the most vicious, bloodthirsty and dishonest snake pits on Earth. Their moral credibility is a negative number. PETA butchers more than 90-percent of the animals it “rescues” every year, and HSUS supports programs and policies that result in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of animals every year.
By now, I assume that I have pushed all of the buttons of the animal rights crazies. I can hear them snort and see their pincurls flapping in indignation. It makes my day.
Can’t you hear them, too? They are calling me an exploiter of animals. They are saying that I ruthlessly cull and manipulate the genetics of my dogs. They saying that I make the exploited poor beasts work for a living and live up to impossible standards. They will say that I do this to feed and gratify my own fat ego. They will say that I sell them for money and exploit them for personal gain. Then, of course, they will say that I use them to viciously hunt innocent wild animals.
Terrible, terrible me! My mother should have a son like this! She was such a nice woman.
Well, I plead guilty to all of the charges. Know what else? I don’t feel guilty, not even a little bit. I do it. I like it. I feel good about it.
Now I will speak in my own defense – as a dog breeder.
I happen to love dogs. I love being around them. I love working with them. I love watching a puppy grow up and discover its potential. I love having the privilege of experiencing a truly great dog in its prime. I love sharing supper with my dogs, wrestling with puppies, and sacking out with them on the couch. I lose sleep when they get sick, and work myself unmercifully to care for them. I spend almost all of the money I have on them, and some money that I don’t have. My heart breaks when they grow old and die. I have a dozen lifetimes worth of beautiful memories.
What do the animal rights freaks have? They have their ideology. They look in the mirror and feel smug and self-righteous, as if God has personally anointed them to protect animals from the likes of me.
What they have is nothing at all. Utter sterility. A world devoid of life and love.
They can keep it.
My life is filled with love and joy and beauty, and I owe most of it to my dogs. They have helped to keep me sane when sanity was not a given. They have given me courage on the days when all I wanted to do was lie down and quit. They have given me strength to endure on the days when all I wanted to do is run away and hide.
I owe them my life.
The animal rights folks are right. I ruthlessly cull and manipulate genetics. To make the cut, my breeding dogs have had to live up to the most exacting possible standards and pass the most strenuous tests.
I am very proud of doing that.
The result is that the vast majority of people who buy a puppy from me love it. When I sell a puppy, chances are that it has found a home for the rest of its life. The puppy will have a great chance of leading a wonderful life. I produce puppies that make people happy to own them and want to keep them. That’s my job as a breeder.
I have done this through rigorous selection. My puppies today are the result of 35 years of my stubborn insistence about never breeding a dog that does not have a wonderful disposition, perfect conformation, great intelligence, exceptional natural ability, breathtaking style and that mysterious ingredient called genius.
Every puppy born in my kennel has six or eight or 10 generations of my own dogs in its pedigree. All of those ancestors possess a high level of each of those desirable traits. I have raised, trained and grown old with every dog listed in several generations of each puppy’s pedigree.
Simply put, my puppies today are a lot nicer than my puppies of 35 years ago. Today, there is a much higher percentage of good ones, a much lower percentage of deficient ones, a much higher average of good qualities, and a much higher percentage of true greatness emerging from my kennel today.
Its the key difference between human rights and animal rights as movements: not the target, but the underlying attitude. Human rights are about life, about the struggle to prevent human suffering and death though the embrace of fundamental principles about the value of human life and freedom. Animal rights have become about death, about the struggle to prevent animal suffering by though the embrace of death and authoritarianism. That may not have been the original idea . . . but their extremist logic has forced that conclusion: animals are better off with no human contact, because humans cause suffering. Therefore, if an animal can not survive without humans, it is better off dead. The desires of the animal itself (and anyone who has seen an animal fight for its life knows they want to live) is irrelevant . . . death, or extinction by non-reproduction, are their only salvation.
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not YOUR lawyer. Nothing I say should be taken as legal advice.
The Court's extensive review of these pages serves as a useful reminder that loaded guns, sharp objects and law degrees should be kept out of the reach of children.
-- United States Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary
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