My thoughts on animal shows…

imageA friend of mine recently asked me about my thoughts on animal shows featuring competitive breeds.  Here’s an adaptation of how I responded:

Shows are generally breed specific.  I’m all for the appreciation of animals in any way possible in that I think we as a society have gotten away from the closeness that humans can have with them – even house pets.  And IN GENERAL – breeders are also staunch advocates for humane animal treatment and good shepherds of the species.  They usually strictly control breeding and manage their litters so that newborns are cared for appropriately and have good homes waiting for them.  The majority are exceptional stewards of animal ownership.  There’s always going to be exceptions but I’m not going to quibble about that matter here.

The problem I have with shows & what one person I know referred to as breedism is that it implicitly communicates that breed purity is somehow better than mixed breeds.  This sort of mentality easily infects uneducated individuals and encourages people to “only like Persians” or be “exclusive to Siamese”.  I know that everyone has personal preferences and normally this wouldn’t be that big a deal however people are generally lazy when it comes to “getting what they want” and breedism encourages the easiest route to obtaining one’s “preferred breed” which involves animal PURCHASES as opposed to adoption.

In Southern California, I’m repeatedly told that almost 9 out of every 10 animals in shelters are killed.  (Los Angeles Animal Services reports almost 5 out of every 10 are killed in shelters, but it’s purportedly really bad in the valley and rural inland areas)  It’s the ugly truth that most people either don’t know or choose to completely ignore when they buy an animal.  I just saw the most adorable affectionate 3-year-old Australian Shepherd at a shelter yesterday (I visit every other week) and it just tore me up that he wasn’t likely going to be around in 60 days if someone didn’t pick him up.  Meanwhile any family looking for a friendly pet would have loved to have had her.

I’ll get off my soapbox but that’s basically it:  Shows aren’t inherently bad and breeders IN GENERAL aren’t bad.  But while they help cultivate an appreciation for a species, animal shows do encourage a mentality that I think distracts from adoption and I think that the situation is so desperately, DESPERATELY dire in Southern California that anything that deviates from animal adoption in Southern California is hard for me to support.


In case it hasn’t been said enough, pet stores that sell dogs, cats, and rabbits are almost always, always, ALWAYS SHEER EVIL.  And y’all know who you are.  Every pet store that sells dogs, cats, and other animals lie through their teeth and say they get their animals from “professional breeders” and none of them ever do once their origins are traced.  Every time you see them investigated, it’s discovered that they get their stock from kitty/puppy mills i.e. mass production engines with generally horrible inhumane living conditions. 

It’s all about money:  For the pet stores, the profit margins are much better when buying from these awful “mills” because the overhead in properly caring for newborn animals is high with honorable, well-meaning breeders – hence the much higher prices they tend to charge.  Breeders, in my experience are usually orders of magnitude more expensive than pet stores because they use good food, have quality living conditions, provide vaccinations & veterinary care, etc.

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