Is “responsible breeder” an oxymoron?

For me “responsible breeder” is an oxymoron. To PETA it is also an oxymoron. To many other people it is not. An oxymoron, as you might know, is when two words are used together which are contradictory. The point that PETA would make is that it is impossible to be a responsible breeder because there are unwanted cats at rescue centres. If you breed cats you remove cat adopters from the cat rescue market because some of these people will buy purebred cats rather than adopt rescue cats. This outcome means that breeders are irresponsible if you are concerned about animal welfare. All of us should be concerned about animal welfare. It’s our duty.

For that reason alone breeders can’t be responsible. If you choose to ignore the thought of saving the lives of rescue cats and dogs, “responsible breeder” means a breeder who breeds healthy, well socialised animals under excellent conditions highly suited to the animals. This almost never happens because the conditions under which cats are bred are hardly ever ideal from the cat’s perspective. A lot of breeders keep their breeding cats in cages. And cat breeders focus on appearance sometimes with distinct and known health problems e.g. Persian flat-face.

Anyway, that really isn’t the point of this short article. The point is that to me and PETA, breeders can’t be responsible and therefore the phrase “responsible breeder” is an oxymoron.

I don’t think that I have an extreme viewpoint. I don’t think PETA’s viewpoint is extreme either. It is common sense. It is impossible to justify breeding cats when completely healthy and beautiful unwanted cats are being killed at rescue centres under the euphemism “euthanasia”.

For this reason there should be a law banning cat and dog breeders. It’ll never happen because such a law would be considered far too harsh and an unfair restriction on human freedoms and commercial acitivity. Lawmaking is a huge compromise and laws (in statutes) are heavily watered down to accommodate everybody’s viewpoint. Perhaps laws should reflect commonsense arguments and animal welfare and should not take into account commercial aspects when a business or practice lacks common sense and is fundamentally inhumane. I’m dreaming.

6 thoughts on “Is “responsible breeder” an oxymoron?”

  1. I believe the correct term would be ethical breeder. It would be a shame to see ancient and distinct breeds of cats vanish because people are shamed into rescue.
    What we really need are responsible pet owners. Again my SIL/FIL/MIL have probably through just their ignorant behavior produced more kittens than all the breeders in NM combined over the last decade.
    I’m also appalled at the designer breeds of cats being proffered for sale now. Some come with medical issues because they are bred to look like things instead of cats.
    Most of the people I know with dogs and cats have several rescues even if they have a purebred.
    We should spend more time shaming idiots like my In-laws and other fools that refuse to S/N their pets than the person who wants a purebred cat or dog.
    Puppy and kitten mills are also an ongoing source of overpopulation. They crank the females until they can’t reproduce and then probably dispose of them.

    • Good thoughts, ME, but I am one of those people who takes a black-and-white stance on this issue. I just don’t think that the domestication of the cat has worked out well enough for us to justify breeding cats and the people who are loosely in charge of breeding cats, the cat associations, in my opinion do a bad job. It is worse for dogs. There are far too many badly bred dogs who are inherently ill because of the way that they were bred. I’d be happy if the breeding of cats and dogs was phased out over a long period of time but I don’t believe there’s a place in the world for breeders. I really don’t.

  2. Until it is no longer profitable it will continue. CA is passing a law that pet stores can only sell animals from shelters, effectively shutting down the cruelty and abuse of puppy and kitten mills.

    • Hi Michele, yes, I have written about that namely the shutting down of kitten mills and regulation of pet stores. More can be done in my opinion and more should be done. We can’t ask people to self-regulate. Cat and dog breeders in general don’t want to focus on animal welfare and behave ethically. I don’t believe that there is a place in the world for cat and dog breeders. This too much wrong in our relationship with cats and dogs to allow ourselves the luxury of breeding them. Let’s get the pressing welfare issues out of the way first and then we can reconsider whether we are responsible enough to breed cats and dogs. I doubt whether we ever will be. I also doubt whether we will ever place at least stricter regulations upon cat and dog breeders.


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