Well, I certainly missed this post first time around. I'll chuck my very unpopular 2 cents in, I guess.
I am one of those radical vegan types that you have heard of. Saying that always changes people's perspective of me.
Here's the unpopular part. I have so far kept my opinion about this out of other posts, and stayed out of the relevant threads as well, but after reading through this thread, I cannot stay silent. I do have a problem with breeders/breeding. I'm talking in very broad terms here - not personally to anyone on this thread.
I'll come back to the breeding part in moment, but I want to say that although PETA are extremists, and I acknowledge this - you must also acknowledge that society is so incredibly accepting of violence towards and mistreatment of animals, that in order to catch people's attention, extremism is required. Likening breeders to KKK members, throwing "blood" on celebs wearing fur, etc. None of these are nice things to do, but I can tell you that polite conversation about animal rights no longer gets the message across. Bumper stickers don't get the message across. Even the extremely graphic nature of the live export expose only captured the attention of the nation for a couple of days. Society is incredibly ignorant about so many things, that sometimes, causing annoyance or flat out offence to people is the only way to get them talking about the issue. So, whilst I do not agree with everything that happens in the world of animal activism, I do understand the motives.
I find that whenever I have a conversation or debate with anyone about my views on animal rights, and veganism, most people seem threatened by it, and feel like I am attacking them, and taking a “holier than thou” type attitude. I don’t. My entire family are carnis, as is my partner, and everyone else I know. I don’t judge them, or anyone else because of their choices, but I do take it upon myself to ask them to consider understanding the reasons behind mine.
I am a vegan, but I am not perfect. I try to live my life in a way that minimises harm to animals, and the environment as a whole. But, I understand that there is no way for me to live a completely cruelty free life. So I just do the best I can. And there are plenty of people, vegans, just like me, who are out there, trying to do their part – we are not all lunatics.
Back to the issue at hand. Clearly, I am a dog lover, not just an animal lover.
As I mentioned, I do have an issue with breeding. My issue is not altogether with the “master race” kind of idea though. I understand, and have read posts by many passionate members here, who are clearly devoted to their breed, and are incredibly responsible dog owners. This is the good part. Unfortunately, the industry is so incredibly poorly regulated, that it is not just backyard breeders that are the problem. Being a “registered” breeder means diddly squat. While puppy farms exist, and while animal shelters and pounds are overrun with discarded pets, I cannot, in good conscience, support a venture that seeks to not only bring more animals into the world, but also financially rewards those responsible.
I’m going to say it again, I know that there are good breeders out there. Just as I know that there are farms that take exceptional care of their livestock and use humane slaughter methods. The problem is that these responsible breeders are the minority, and not the majority. And unfortunately, there are breeders out there, who are in it for the love of money, and nothing more.
Of course most people on this forum are aware of puppy farms, but many, many people aren’t. They have no idea that the cute ball of fluff at the pet shop is a product of a puppy farm. No clue that the pup and his mother have been kept in disgusting conditions, mistreated and malnourished. And why should they? No-one talks about it.
Shortly after we adopted Chopz, the rescue that we adopted him from was involved in a raid on puppy farm from which 17 dogs were rescued, in very poor condition. We’re talking about a low budget, handful of people kind of group, who pay for rescues and treatment out of their own pockets, most of the time. If there were some kind of regulation, some investigation, some spot checking , even background checks on registered breeders, maybe then I could come to a more supportive mindset. There needs to be more to it than filling out a form, and paying a fee.
I understand that some people are breed purists. I have never owned a purebred, nor will I. I do struggle to understand why people think that purebred is better than crossbred though. I do agree with the statement at the end of the PETA video, that “all dogs are created equal”. I believe that for many, many people, having a purebred / hybrid / dog with a fancy name is a type of status symbol. They feel that paying more for a dog, makes it somehow “better”.
I am proud that my dogs are rescues. I don’t feel that this makes me “better” than someone who has a purebred, but it is a choice than eases my conscience somewhat. I am glad that I was able to take them, and improve their lives. There are so very many dogs in need throughout Australia, and this really is an issue to which the public turns a blind eye. An unwanted dog is euthanized every four minutes in Australian pounds. Every FOUR minutes. How can that not outrage dog lovers?