by Tori Floyd
In the United States, the routine breeding of animals, dogs in particular, has been a traditional practice for hundreds of years. But this intentional production of puppies walks a thin line and poses a few ethical questions. Where does tradition break ethics? Where does breeding become a burden? When does human intervention go too far?
Many people breed dogs to preserve a pure bloodline, but too often people breed dogs to make a profit. Each puppy bears a dollar sign. This fact is what makes innocent breeding escalade into puppy mills. This fact is what causes the horrible conditions. So many dogs are being born that the basic needs in living conditions, sanitation, exercise, and human socialization are all too great to be met.
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The pups are nothing but money to these kinds of breeders, and money is where all problems arise. Thoroughbred dogs are worth more than a pretty penny, and people are more than happy to turn over that money to receive their “perfect” pet.
Perhaps the biggest ethical question is why pure-bred pets hold so much importance to an owner when nearly half of all animals in pounds are euthanized due to a lack of good homes willing to take in “mutts” from the streets. Tons of puppies are being produced on purpose when there are already enough stray animals in shelters and pounds to fill every home in Sullivan. The same pet seeker who’s willing to pay thousands of dollars for the love of an animal will turn his or her back on that same love they could receive for free at a local pound or shelter.
Let there be no confusion. Not all dog breeders are running puppy mills. In fact, the vast majority carry out the process with nothing but the respect and well-being of the dogs in mind. The greedy ruin everything. Breeding is given a bad name because of those people who just want to make a quick and easy buck. Many breeders simply want to celebrate the health and beauty of their animal by creating more to be shared. Honest breeding is when the profit made is merely a small bonus instead of the driving reason behind the act. Procreation is a beautiful thing, no matter the species, and money has the ability to taint even the most beautiful process.
Reproduction is the simplest, most primitive form of natural expression. This fact raises an important question: how much human interference in nature is too much interference? This notion no doubt brings upon many varied opinions regarding religion and the true meaning of nature. How ethical is it for humans to “play God”? Should humans be able to control such a natural occurrence?
The bottom line is love is love, and the peoples’ love for their pets should not be gauged by the pureness of their ancestor’s blood. The breeding of dogs is a practice that should be closely regulated, participated in with caution, and used only in celebration of the animal.
Tori Floyd is a senior at Sullivan High School. As part of Heather Lindenmeyer’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition research paper unit at Sullivan High School, two student editorials will run for two weeks in the News•Progress, concluding this week. The views expressed in the editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sullivan School district, its employees, or the News•Progress.