The Collective Responsibility of Cat Breeding

Does the collective responsibility of cat breeding outweigh the individual cat breeder's self interest in personal success? The answer depends on whether we think short or long term. The answer depends on whether we think that short term financial gain is the best way to do business or whether long term thinking and a more stable long term but less spectacular financial gain is the better route.

The bankers of this world (the ones who used to be the masters of the universe) took the former route. Their primary interest was in promoting self (personal) interest. How much can I get out of the bank? This is what ultimately caused the credit crunch. The bankers at the top, the directors, wanted to grow the banks as fast and as big as possible to benefit them personally by way of the value of their share holdings and bonuses etc. What they failed to notice was that long term it was against the interest of the share holders generally, to whom they were responsible. The end result, we know about. When individuals in authority act in a way that is too focused on personal gain within an environment where there is a collective responsibility all can be the losers.

The same principle applies to everything we do. In the cat breeding world of Bengal cats there is a responsibility to oneself to make money. There is also a collective responsibility to the Bengal cat breed as a whole. If the breed suffers then all Bengal cat breeders, in the long term, suffer. A balance needs to be struck. In respect of cat health, and I am thinking mainly of HCM, which affects the Bengal cat (a genetic disease inherited throughout the breed to varying degrees). The long term communal gain (including the gain for the cats, most importantly) of dealing with the disease openly and collectively is bigger than dealing with it on an individual basis.

Individual cat breeders will naturally pull in different directions on this. Do they disclose HCM in their breeding program? Will that hurt business (yes, I guess). Do they keep quiet and ignore it? Does that mean that the breeders continue to breed from cats that have HCM and therefore continues to spread and entrench the disease more? The latter method will eventually hurt the Bengal cat breed as a whole and future cat breeders. It will probably, though, be the better course of action on a short term basis for the individual breeder.

Looking at the bankers we know what "shortermism" can do. It can undermine the bedrock of the business. For stability, long term reliable growth, moral wellbeing and above all the wellbeing of the cats, all cat breeders should think collectively and long term whilst balancing personal needs and gains. And someone needs to take charge of that and the only people to do that are the associations, which in the case of the Bengal cat is TICA. All Bengal breeders should be required to provide a test certificate that their show cat is HCM clear (negative) before showing.

The number one criteria for show cats should be health and character and it is those cats that should be the Grand Champions even if they look less good as a result. This will benefit all Bengal cat breeders and they will feel better for it too. It is also worth mentioning to, I think, that when people work together in a positive way there is a general sense of wellbeing amongst the group. The great difficulty is getting people to do it as it is against human nature, hence the many problems in the world.

The Collective Responsibility of Cat Breeding to Bengal Cats for Sale

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