Fellow breeders: Awake from your Sleep! Sound the Alarm! There is a War going on and we are LOSING!
by C. Pruss
One reason breeders are losing the fight is because we have BOUGHT INTO to the rhetoric of the Animal Rights movement. Words like "responsible breeder" (who doesn’t want to be "responsible"?) and "puppy mill" have caused us to change our own behavior- for the worse! No one wants to be considered a "puppy mill" and everyone wants to be "responsible" but we have opened the doors- WIDE- for the animal rights to move right in. We have embraced the rhetoric that "responsible breeders" only sell on spay neuter and limited registrations. We have been policing ourselves so hard, that we ourselves verge on Animal Rights Activists.
How breeder’s have bought into the rhetoric:
1. We have labeled fellow breeders who have a few more litters a year than we do "puppy mills".
2. We have labeled breeders that sell to "novice people who also want to breed a litter" as "irresponsible".
3. We have chastised the breeder who houses their dogs differently than we do
4. We have chastised the breeder who owns more dogs than we do.
This list far exceeds 4 – but I am going to stop there.
How AKC bought into the rhetoric:
1. Lowering the litter threshold for inspection. AKC might send an inspector out to visit a breeder when as few as 4 litters have been registered. This really has nothing to do with the integrity of the registry. This is the AKC stepping up and saying “hey USDA, if you are going to make it mandatory to inspect “breeders” then we want to be the ones to do it- and see- we are already tougher than you are, so let us do it.”
- well AKC- what about those who are not using your registry? Do you really want to drive more breeders away? That is what this action is likely to do.
2. Embracing industries that are “anti” breeders such as Pet Health Insurance. How many breeders can purchase pet health insurance for each puppy they want to grow out. So often puppies that had “show potential” “go off” and are then offered to pet homes. Pet Insurance is not designed with the breeder in mind- yet more and more the breeder is expected to do expensive health tests on each breeding dog.
• The good news* Recently the AKC has been putting out “position statements” stating “The American Kennel Club opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans, or the mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously. Additionally, we strongly support and actively promote a wide range of programs to educate the public about responsible breeding practices and the responsibilities of dog ownership.”
We are still faced with the question of who decides “who take their responsibilities seriously:
How Veterinarians bought into the rhetoric:
1. Too bad AKC is not spending time and energy educating our Veterinarians. Far too many Vets are experts at spaying and neutering and far too few are experts in pre-natal/post-natal care. Veterinarians are bombarded by the Animal Rights rhetoric in Vet School and when they graduate, they frown on “breeders”. They support rescue operations, shelters, and spay/neuter of everything.
The Veterinary industry should be on the side of the breeder. They should be supporting the breeder by providing the best possible health care they can- why? Because BOTH the breeder and the Veterinarian LOVES ANIMALS- that is why they both do what they do- isn’t it?
None of this is helpful to our cause. The results have amounted to a "takings" of our rights (The Fifth Amendment provides that private property shall not be taken without just compensation. What actions of government constitute "takings"?). While the "takings" cause really only refers to actual property- the concept remains the same. Our ability to breed as we choose (to show or not to show, to test for certain health ailments or not, to have 1 litter or 20) is at stake.
Who is the appropriate decision maker? You?...... the Government?.......... a private interest group?
What can be done? Well, ALL of US (and this includes you AKC) must FIGHT for the BREEDER. AKC says "we're more than champion dogs, we're the dog's champion"- does that include the dog BREEDER's Champion too?
1. AKC must take a Stand (and I do think they are moving in that direction)
2. Infiltration into Vet schools and Law Schools is a MUST. The Animal Rights have already done it.
3. Provide appropriate “rhetoric” of our own for distribution at shows, to each dog that is registered, to breeders to put into puppy packets
4. TV commercials need to be purchased – ESPECIALLY during the showing of televised dog shows
3. At EACH AKC sanctioned event- the “junior handlers” must be empowered to ACT.
a. This is mostly the responsibility of the show giving club
4. Breeders must take a Stand (not enough are actually doing this)
a. we need to stuff our puppy packets with information on organizations that are working to protect our RIGHTS as breeders
5. We need to INVITE our legislators (State mostly- but Federal also) to dog shows being held in their Districts. ---- Hey- this would be a good opportunity to empower the Juniors! Invite the politician to a lunch with the exhibitors- and PLAN judging schedule so that there is a REAL lunch break.
6. Clubs have been great at getting together to hold “clusters” of shows- why not organize to have a “Capital Day” and invite the Politicians from the represented districts to a lunch.
There are many, many things we can do, but hiding the number of dogs we have and hoping it won’t reach our community is not one of those things.