AT THE MICROSCOPE
Let’s talk about man’s/woman’s best friend, the dog. The human-dog relationship dates back hundreds of thousands of years. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The dog receives food, shelter, and warmth from the campfire while humans benefit from the companionship, guarding, hunting, and herding abilities of the dogs. Human civilization could not have evolved and progressed so much without the dog, and that is even an understatement.
The genetic makeup of the dog is so malleable that we have been able, within just a few generations, to selectively breed for particular physical and behavioral characteristics to make the dog more useful for particular purposes. So, we have different sizes, from tiny toys to massive mastiffs; different head and body shapes; various temperaments, from cuddly to fiercely protective; long-tailed and tailless dogs, erect or droopy ears, etc.
One thing should be clear. Dogs now depend on humans for their existence, having given up their independence for our welcome in exchange for their intimate role in human endeavors. There have been many examples of dogs defending their humans at the cost of their own lives. Yet we see many cases of humans mistreating dogs to the point of cruelty and/or extreme neglect. It’s no match for the pact we made with our best friends ages ago.
The first World Congress of the International Cynological Federation and the Federacion Canofila Mexicana (FCI-FCM) on the welfare and health of dogs in the world, held in Mexico City from October 31 to November 21. 2, 2022, addressed these concerns.
Topics covered by distinguished speakers from around the world included responsible breeding (my topic at the convention), DNA testing for inherited dog diseases, illegal puppy breeding, stray dogs and other health issues. .
Due to the relentless and screaming demands of animal rights activists, governments around the world have enacted dog legislation to the point of banning certain dog breeds. It’s a challenge for conscientious breeders who strive to raise healthy purebred dogs that are fit for their duties, whether it’s police work, hauling loads in the snow, rescue, drug smuggling or just companionship detection, which is so vital these days. alienation and loneliness.
Yet these activists and governments miss the point. Responsible purebred dog breeders are not the enemy. They are, in fact, allies in promoting the health and well-being of dogs. The national kennel clubs to which these breeders belong have rules and regulations on proper animal husbandry, follow strict guidelines on raising healthy dogs, and hold conformation and sporting events to assess fitness or reproductive function.
The real enemies are the illegal puppy farms and backyard puppy mills that breed dogs indiscriminately in horrible conditions. These unscrupulous entities skimp on basic health needs such as puppy vaccinations, proper nutrition, socialization, and proper husbandry. Puppies produced on these farms are sent to pet stores to be sold to unsuspecting customers. Many become very ill from appalling conditions and lack of basic care, and buyers end up paying huge vet bills to watch their pup die, a truly heartbreaking event. There are reports of these dogs catching rabies, thus posing public health risks for this deadly condition.
Another facet of these puppy farms is collusion with certain animal “welfare” organizations that operate dog shelters with the slogan “adopt, don’t buy.” In fact, the puppies they offer for “adoption” were purchased from puppy farms. These dog shelters, far from being benevolent champions of dog welfare, are actually themselves commercial enterprises that charge high “adoption” fees to make adopters feel good that they are making a good deed. These entities also run smooth public relations campaigns that earn them a lot of money thanks to generous donations from well-meaning dog lovers.
Meanwhile, they vilify conscientious breeders, who adhere to strict sets of rules in breeding a limited number of litters, primarily to show dogs for breeding stock evaluation. They offer well behaved and healthy puppies for sale. Responsible breeders spend large sums of money to acquire good breeding stock, provide clean, good quality quarters, purchase the highest quality dog food, and obtain the best veterinary care for their dogs with up-to-date vaccinations.
The misinformation plaguing the internet about dog ownership is also to blame for this state of affairs. It is high time to reverse the narrative with a well-planned public relations campaign to counter the lies, highlighting the best practices of responsible breeders who belong to national kennel clubs and contrasting them with the aforementioned modus operandi of dog breeders. puppies. houses the cabal.
National governments need to be educated on these issues. Animal rights activists have cornered the conversation with lawmakers. National Kennel Clubs should prepare by creating committees on canine legislation and ensuring lawmakers receive the correct information through ethical lobbying. Otherwise, there will be hell to pay for true canine welfare champions.
(Dr. LO has been a purebred dog lover for 52 years.)
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