|Sarah Palin and dead bear, sport hunted. Photo: smiteme|
Cat breeders and animal rights activists are really the two sides of the same coin or they should be. But you wouldn't believe it the way they attack each other. Cat breeders should (and most are) sensitive towards animals. They care about their cats. They grant their cats lots of rights. They are, in one sense, animal rights people.
However, although I am not against cat breeders I don't like they way that some tend to brand people who fight for animal rights, "AR extremists" (Animal Rights extremists). Some cat breeders tend to brand all people who fight for animal rights as extremists. It seems to be some sort of defense mechanism. Breeders sometimes feel under attack from AR people and defend themselves by insinuating that animal rights people are "extremists", meaning unbalanced people of criminal intent thereby insulting them and giving the impression that they are not worth listening to.
This is clearly wrong. Only a very tiny minority of people who are concerned with animal rights become "extremists" and most of that tiny minority take peaceful and legal action. This is a good thing, surely, and cat breeders should welcome it. In the eyes of some people, even the AR people who break the law have a good reason to do so. The law, after all, is not always that effective is it? How effective are animal rights laws in protecting vulnerable animals? Take laboratory experiments, for example. I would bet that a decent number of cat breeders are against animal experimentation but feel powerless to change things. It is legal after all. Yet they would criticise AR extremists who fight at the sharp end to change the law and protect innocent animals (including cats) who are experimented upon in the name of commerce, the making of a buck.
For me the point is this. Cat breeders and animal rights should and most often do go together. I don't see an absolute reason why cat breeding should not exist. Provided it is done in a highly responsible way and the global and wider picture is noted. I don't think cat breeders cause the feral cat problem; it's the buyers. Anyway cat breeders breed purebred cats and buyers of purebred cats are usually, nearly always, very responsible people in relation to caring for their cats.
So, AR people should lighten up a little on attacking cat breeders and cat breeders should start talking to AR people and find a common method of proceeding. Cat breeders and animal rights people should be two sides of the same coin.
Update 16th Jan 2009: A visitor made a comment saying I didn't know the meaning of animal rights. I think this person has a narrow view of animal rights. This is a definition: The concept that animals are entitled to certain fundamental rights such as the right to be spared undue suffering. Such fundamental rights are not necessarily compromised by cat breeders. The small wild cat of his/her own volition became domesticated and lives a more secure life domesticated than in the wild. That is why they became domesticated.
Update 12th Feb 2009: I have just noticed Ingrid Newkirk's views on breeding and pet ownership. I agree with her that we should use the term companion animal and not ownership of animals. The law is slow to change on this. But she is against the concept of companions animals totally it seems. I wonder why. The concept of companionship is a positive one. The idea being that both sides benefit. After all, as mentioned, the wild cat would not have allowed herself to become domesticated if the process did not benefit her. Yes, pet ownership and the domestic cat situation has got out of hand. There are a number of negative these days for the cat that is domesticated. For instance, the cat has to live indoors to be safe. We have created a world hostile to the cat outdoors. Humans have screwed up, no doubt, but at the beginning of domestication many thousands of years ago the relationship worked well. We shoudn't throw out the baby with the bath water but modify the process of cats or dogs as companion animals not eliminate it.
Update 21-2-09: A thought: Do cat breeders of purebred cats (responsible cat breeders by and large) affect the rights of feral cats? - ANS: No. Do cats have rights before they are born? ANS: No. Do purebred cats receive excellent animal rights? ANS: Yes nearly all of the time.
Cat Breeders and Animal Rights to Home Page
Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions
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