Our stand against breeding farms and pet shops that sell puppies and kittens remains that it is a detestable practice, and that these farms should be closed down and illegalised, and pet shops selling live animals should be boycotted.
A gray area however is that of home breeding. It is not legalised in Singapore, whereas pet farms and shops that breed pets in inhumane conditions are legal. But there are so many gray areas in the legislation governing animal welfare and animal control, that we as pet lovers have to make our own moral stand and act accordingly, policing ourselves and those in the spheres of our influence, since the government cannot police unethical breeding and treatment of animals adequately.
If you are a breed fancier – the term differs from animal-lover, because it means you support a certain pedigree breed of dog or cat and admire its royalty and lineage, but you don’t love all animals – then it is actually far better for you to go to a home breeder of repute, best one that is certified by Singapore Kennel Club or the cat version Feline Fanciers’ Association. This is because pedigree breeding is not a simple act of putting one on top of the other, so to speak, but veterinary resources and scientific know-how are crucially necessary to ensure optimum conditions for the animals through the stages of maternity, birthing and nursing. Reproductive health will be compromised through breeding activity, so special care is needed to ensure a breeding animal is always sickness-free, and removed from breeding when it is ill or harbours a hereditary defect. These practices are carried out by ethical pedigree breeders, but not by pet farms and pet shops, simply because it is far too costly to care for the reproductive healths of breeding animals. Breed fanciers who breed pedigrees do it more for the sake of admiring the breed of cat or dog, rather than for profit, and these fanciers truly love their selected pedigree pets.
You may disagree and feel that even ethical, reputable pedigree breeders should be shunned and remain illegal. This is probably because you also do not support eugenics in the human race, where humans choose genes they would like to be in their offspring. Pedigree breeding is similar to human eugenics. If you believe that it is the right of a human being to select a sperm donor based on ‘hair colour, education level and creativity’ or even baser, to select a mate based on ‘how good our children would look’, then home pedigree breeders are essentially entitled to the same. If you think that there are already more than enough homeless children in the world, on the streets of Asia prostituting themselves for a dollar a day, then you probably will be against the notion of eugenics, and therefore pedigree breeding. Both concepts are in the similar strain of sociological discussion.
Personally, I do not support home breeders, and I also believe that the world is overpopulated with humans and I should not create any more. I believe in adoption through and through, both of animal companions and of children, should I ever have the means to.
But my opinion aside, there will be people who enjoy certain breeds and showing their pedigree dogs or cats. There will be people who choose to procreate human beings despite the world already being overpopulated and there being already so many homeless children. We cannot put a stop on preference, but we can as vigilantes stop unethical breeding. So, when in our line of voluntary work we do meet breed-fanciers, who are enthusiasts about a certain breed of dog or cat, we do not harshly rebuke them for this interest, as we are all different. This is because we have made the moral stand and know for ourselves whether we love cats, plural, or only the (insert pedigree name) cat. What we can do is make sure that these breed-enthusiasts consider adopting the many pedigrees that are often abandoned or neglected and needing new homes, or only supporting ethical breeders and not unethical ones, which is what most pet shops and all pet farms are.
Unethical breeding is when there is no regard for reproductive health. Unethical breeding is when even base living conditions of food, water, toilet and activity space are compromised. Unethical breeding is when one does it for profit, not for the love of the pedigree of the animal. Unethical breeding is when a life of an animal is completely disregarded, and the animal becomes merely a cash-cow. An unethical breeder does not make plans for animals that are produced not true to the breed’s lineage or those that have past their healthy reproductive age, spurning them to already overcrowded shelters or to a cruel life of abandonment on the streets. A true ethical breeder of repute will have veterinary reports to share, pregnancy ultrasound scans to show, a spa-like resort home for the animals to live in whether or not it is breeding season, and a forever home for any animal that falls ill, gets born with a defect, or has reached its senior years. Breeding in itself is not abuse per se, but unethical breeding is, through and through.
Our boycott against pet shops that sell cats and dogs continues the message that we do not support unethical breeding. Our united public front with other animal welfare groups is that breeding farms in Singapore are not regulated to standards of ethics and thus should be closed down, else the legislation should change to eradicate animal abuse in these farms. You need to make your stand, and if you were once unsure, I sincerely hope this article helps you in finding it out.