There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Responsible Breeder’

breedersPeople who breed dogs and cats profit at animals’ expense. There is no such thing as a “responsible” breeder, because for every puppy or kitten produced by any breeder, an animal awaiting adoption at an animal shelter loses his or her chance at finding a home. Breeders kill shelter animals’ chance at having a life.

Breeders run the gamut from “professionals” who continuously produce “pedigree” puppies and kittens in hopes of winning show titles and making money off them to “backyard breeders” who mate their animals indiscriminately to make a quick buck by selling puppies or kittens.

In addition to contributing to animal homelessness and suffering, many breeders endanger animals’ health by breeding dogs who are related to each other, which can cause life-threatening genetic defects, and by manipulating animals’ genetics for specific physical features, which can result in discomfort and severe health problems.

 Breeders Add to the Overpopulation Crisis

Why are there so many unwanted cats and dogs? There are three main reasons: Many people fail to spay or neuter their dogs and cats, who then reproduce, creating enormous numbers of kittens and puppies. When people buy animals from pet stores, they not only support the puppy mills that supply them but also create missed opportunities for shelter animals to be adopted, taking homes away from animals who need them. While millions of animals must be killed each year for lack of a good home, greedy puppy mill breeders churn out millions of animals for pet stores to sell. The same is true of individual breeders, who almost never require the puppies and kittens they sell to be spayed or neutered, so these animals can soon have litters of their own, further exacerbating the overpopulation crisis. Lastly, some people acquire companion animals without considering the lifetime commitment that caring for them requires. Sadly, these people often end up turning their backs on their loyal companions by abandoning them when they become “inconvenient” or “too much work”—many of these animals end up in shelters, and the cycle continues.

 Sacrificing Animals’ Health

Breeding for appearances also wreaks havoc on animals’ health. Dogs and cats don’t care whether their physical appearance conforms to a judge’s standards, but they are the ones who suffer the consequences of genetic manipulation.

Inbreeding causes painful and life-threatening genetic defects in “purebred” dogs and cats, including crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems, and epilepsy.

Distorting animals’ anatomy for specific physical features also causes severe health problems. The short, “pushed-in” noses of bulldogs and pugs, for example, can make exercise and even normal breathing difficult for these animals. Dachshunds’ unnaturally long spinal columns often cause back problems, including disc disease. No one who has animals’ best interests at heart would intentionally mutilate them in this way.


 Always Adopt

Why should you adopt your cat or dog from an animal shelter? Because adopting your newest family member from an animal shelter is the only way to ensure that your choice will not cause another cat or dog to be killed because of a lack of good homes. For those who feel partial to certain breeds of dogs—did you know that purebreds make up at least 25 percent of the dogs in animal shelters? Virtually any breed of dog can be found in a shelter or in a breed-rescue group. is a great resource.

 Pledge to Help End Animal Homelessness

Help animals in your neighborhood as well as in low-income areas get spayed and neutered (call 1-800-248-SPAY to find the low-cost spay-and-neuter clinic nearest you), promote adoption from animal shelters instead of buying from breeders or pet stores, and demand appropriate  in your community. Sign PETA’s pledge to end animal homelessness, and encourage everyone you know to do the same. You can help stop the cycle!

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