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An interesting read: (fwd'd)

The state that has no business in the bedrooms of the nation seeks to insert itself into the fallopian tubes of its poodles Catherine McMillan, National Post Published: Thursday, December 17, 2009
http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=2349733&p=1

I still recall my first visit to the Small Animal Clinic at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. As the young resident took down my puppy's health history, she advised that if I spayed my little dog before her first heat cycle, the risk of mammary cancer could be eliminated.

"Good to know," I replied. "But how will that affect her future as my
foundation bitch?"

Some 25-plus years later, "Peras" has hundreds of champion descendants across six continents, while I am quite likely the first and only commercial artist to co-author a peer-reviewed paper for the American Journal of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

That young resident's words were a warning, though I didn't know it at the time. Veterinary medicine, once an equal partner with breeders, sportsmen, and food producers, is being transformed by an activist viewpoint that reduces owners to "guardians" and elevates health providers to the self-appointed role of animal "advocate."

"Spay and neuter" has achieved cult mantra. Dog breeders are held in suspicion: The only good dog is the "natural" one. Defects are blamed on breed standards, despite the fact that the majority of purebreds are produced by family pets and commercial breeders, their puppies as far removed from the show ring as a second-hand pickup from the Formula One track.

This attitude is reflected by provincial boards that recently have moved to impose bans on ear cropping and tail docking. Though long the subject of some controversy, these procedures serve both aesthetic and practical ends, injury prevention and hygiene among them.

This current turf war over puppy tails is just a preview of coming attractions. The state that has no business in the bedrooms of the nation seeks to insert itself into the fallopian tubes of its poodles.

A Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) director recently recounted the hostile atmosphere at a recent meeting with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA): "These vets are not only speaking of cropping and docking. Several, led by New Brunswick, are openly critical of the CKC's breed standards, feel that breeders are poorly educated with respect to
health, genetics and breeding practices to support an animal's welfare and are censorious of breeders -- in particular those breeders who breed conformation dogs for show. They are criticizing our standards for individual breeds and are of the opinion that we are not supporting the puppy purchasers with healthy dogs."

To achieve this, they hint at legislation. After all, who better to condemn the docking of a puppy's tail than the person who will, in a few weeks time, slice open her abdomen to remove a healthy uterus? Who better to seek criminalization of ear cropping than a profession that declaws kittens for profit?

For as often as they're consulted by media and policy makers on matters canine, a veterinarian receives no training in basic breed identification, much less the diverse origins and forces that shape gene pools. It's unreasonable to expect them to -- it takes a lifetime of study to master a single breed, much less hundreds.

The film Best in Show presented the dog-show circuit as a caravan of loopy narcissists. Omitted from the script were the contributions of the fancy to everyday canine society -- rescue efforts, training classes, consumer advice, the millions raised, the efforts donated to health research.

There is no profit in showing dogs, for costs quickly negate the returns. It's an esoteric pursuit, driven by love of breed, competitive reward, and that appreciation of form and symmetry shared by all artists, a thing we know as "beauty." The Doberman's "look of eagles," the merle Collie's loud and luxurious coat, the silhouette of the Skipperke -- those things that
fill the eye can determine the fate of breeds, for it is their beauty that so often attracts and inspires human beings to devote resources to their perpetuation.

The distance between a breed and extinction is five years, for this is the average reproductive lifespan of a female. For rare breeds and those with limited genetic diversity, it takes only one ill-conceived edict on the part of policy makers to start it down the road to collapse.

It seems like a small thing, this battle for a veterinarian's liberty to practice as he sees fit, a dog breeder's quest for perfection. After all, no one needs to crop ears on a Boxer. But then again, no one needs a Boxer at all, or any sort of pet. Purebreds (of all species) carry health risks derived from their genetic founding fathers. Breeds weren't created to compile longevity records, but to perform tasks for mankind -- to dispatch vermin, predators, and enemy barbarians, locate game, retrieve over water, to pull sleds, or warm a dowager's bed on a cold winter night. And so, they remain imperfect.

The Borzoi is living history of czarist Russia, the giant Mastiff a modern echo of ancient Rome -- but they suffer high rates of bloat. Poster artists recruited the English bulldog as a symbol of resolve in World War II, but the massive head that encouraged a nation results in caesarian sections. The Dalmatian's spots are beloved of Disney and children everywhere, but the genetics that create them can result in deafness. The merry spaniel can wag an undocked tail to bloody pulp, but no one hunts woodcock in these parts. Better no cocker, they say, than no tail.

Like so many other small things in this brave new humane world -- history, property rights, individual liberty, and the beholder's permission to declare something "beautiful" -- the eradication of the purebred dog is underway, aided and abetted by those we once considered friends. And yet, to this breeder at least, so seldom has one small thing carried with it such symbolism for what it is we are allowing them to destroy.

There is an air of nihilism in what they do. Like "green" zealots who insist millions will die from climate change unless we reduce the earth's population by billions, their ideological sisters in veterinary activism would solve the problems of purebred dogs by eliminating them altogether. They seem oddly disconnected from the reality that for veterinary medicine to survive, the patient must reproduce.

- Catherine McMillan lives in Saskatchewan and runs the blog "Small Dead Animals." In 2009, Miniature Schnauzers descending from her "Minuteman" kennel line include those ranked #1 in the breed in the USA, Canada, Brazil and England, along with the #2 MS in Australia and the Jr. World Winner at the World Show in Slovakia.
 

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Great read!

There's a couple of AKC posters that illustrate the article quite well too.



and



This is a big concern for hobby breeding--so few new vets are proving good repro services. It's sad because the average person posts about breeders and breeding and looking for a good breeder, and yet if that good breeder is gradually losing his or her support system by not being able to depend on good vet care, well, we will see fewer and fewer good hobby breeders and fewer and fewer purebreds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great read!



This is a big concern for hobby breeding--so few new vets are proving good repro services. It's sad because the average person posts about breeders and breeding and looking for a good breeder, and yet if that good breeder is gradually losing his or her support system by not being able to depend on good vet care, well, we will see fewer and fewer good hobby breeders and fewer and fewer purebreds.

All to the great delight of the likes of PETA and H$U$.
 

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The HSUS (and it's "sister" organization, PETA,) have made great inroads in changing the public's attitude towards pets in general--and I, as a pet owner, and continued pure bred dog owner, will see the future impact--this thinking has invaded not only the veterinary schools, but also the law schools--more colleges are now offering studies in "animal rights law" so there will be more attorneys armed and ready to go after breeders and pet owners who don't fit the mold of how "they" (HSUS and PETA) think someone should treat their pet. Here's a link dated just a week or so ago--


http://http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/news/1/12460-rapid-increase-in-law-school-animal-rights-courses-reflects-growing-public-awareness-of-this-issue-.html

And should we as pet owners be afraid of this "animal rights" trend? I think so. We may all think we fit into that warm and fuzzy image of being good pet owners, but animal rights people have another image in their minds. It doesn't involve the use of crates:

http://www.peta.org/campaigns/ar-cratingdogs.asp

or purchasing dogs from ANY "breeder" or tethering your dog for any length of time or having dust bunnies in your home--or, in some cases, even having more than one dog (that's why we see so many "pet limit" laws).

But until the public wakes up, nothing will happen. Even breeders need to wake up. I'm glad you are aware of this, PG--and I know you do your best to make everyone else around you aware.
 

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Laura, Thanks for posting this! It was a great read, and very interesting! What I find particularly interesting after reading this is knowing first hand how willing to work with a client equine vets are, and to see the road blocks that dog breeders are facing. It seems as to me that this is one step closer to the elimination of breeds, and will reduce the number of reputable breeders.

Us crazy horse show people certainly put our horses through quite a bit that is in no, way, shape or form natural - think geldings on depo, and then the cheaters who import untestable drugs from Europe to keep the hunters quiet - there are plenty of vets willing to do these things, and many who suggest these. It's not uncommon to retire a mare from showing with plans to breed, only to find out she is sterile, because of all of the drugs she was on and other factors in her show career. So we've got one set of vets (canine) taking it to the extreme and not being open minded about the cleanliness and health factors certain things can do, and then another set with horses that seem totally unaffected by this movement (or at least in my personal experience do).


This is a big concern for hobby breeding--so few new vets are proving good repro services. It's sad because the average person posts about breeders and breeding and looking for a good breeder, and yet if that good breeder is gradually losing his or her support system by not being able to depend on good vet care, well, we will see fewer and fewer good hobby breeders and fewer and fewer purebreds.
I have two friends finishing up vet school, both went in wanting to be small animal vets. Both soon found a real attraction to reproductive sciences, and both ended up realizing the money was in equine reproduction not small animals, so they've both decided to become equine vets.
 

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I support the breeding of purebred dogs by hobby breeders but I do think that in some instances breeding for the most extreme examples of certain traits in some breeds has resulted in many if not the majority of individuals of that breed having chronic health problems. I am thinking of pugs with their respiratory problems and dalmations with kidney stones for example. I hope that some compromise can be reached between breeding for extreme physical characteristics and overall health of the breed.

The main problem in goldens seems to be a high incidence of certain types of cancer. This is more difficult to select against since by the time an individual developes cancer he/she may have many decendents.
 

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That's a pretty good article. I believe in the right to own and breed purebred dogs, though I must confess, I am not a fan of docking/cropping.
 

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In that article about crating...

"PETA does not oppose keeping a dog in small area if it is in the dog's best interests (e.g., when cage rest is ordered by a veterinarian or when confinement will keep the dog safe during travel)."

Well, couldn't we make the argument about it being in the dog's best interest to be crated if we were cleaning, or away from home... or something? Like... it could be dangerous for the dog to be free in the house. I know no matter how puppy-proofed my house is, they could still manage to get into trouble. The couch. The floor. The baseboards.
 

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In that article about crating...

"PETA does not oppose keeping a dog in small area if it is in the dog's best interests (e.g., when cage rest is ordered by a veterinarian or when confinement will keep the dog safe during travel)."

Well, couldn't we make the argument about it being in the dog's best interest to be crated if we were cleaning, or away from home... or something? Like... it could be dangerous for the dog to be free in the house. I know no matter how puppy-proofed my house is, they could still manage to get into trouble. The couch. The floor. The baseboards.
It's PETA, nothing they say makes sense!
 

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I've never read or heard of anything from PETA before... but wow.

http://www.peta.org/campaigns/ar-petaonpets.asp

"The international pastime of domesticating animals has created an overpopulation crisis; as a result, millions of unwanted animals are destroyed every year as "surplus." This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. Their lives are restricted to human homes where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to."

I guess I didn't realize that my "making them love me" pissed them off so much.
 

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Huh, I guess when Breeze goes into Twisters soft crate (two sizes too small for her) she is doing this....on her own....why? Because dogs are den animals. Stupid PETA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of certains types of cancers because there is a high incidence of Golden Retrievers. Cancers are not necessarily more prevalent in Goldens than many other breeds, and even less so than some.
And in most all cases where there are identified genetic diseases, doing clearances and not breeding affected animals has greatly decreased, if not eliminated, their occurances. Obviously, in extremely popular breeds, because of their potential to be profitable to those "breeders" wishing to make quick money, those diseases become more prevalent, because clearances are not done (doing so would shrink their profit margins.)
 

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I support the breeding of purebred dogs by hobby breeders but I do think that in some instances breeding for the most extreme examples of certain traits in some breeds has resulted in many if not the majority of individuals of that breed having chronic health problems. I am thinking of pugs with their respiratory problems and dalmations with kidney stones for example. I hope that some compromise can be reached between breeding for extreme physical characteristics and overall health of the breed.

The main problem in goldens seems to be a high incidence of certain types of cancer. This is more difficult to select against since by the time an individual developes cancer he/she may have many decendents.
Not to mention that we really don't understand the causes of cancer-environmental? genetic? And different cancers have different causes.
 

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Not to mention that we really don't understand the causes of cancer-environmental? genetic? And different cancers have different causes.
A little off topic, kinda. I just had an aquaintence who lost their dog to cancer and she smokes. How much of the cancer in dogs is due to second hand smoke? Has there been a thread on this?
 

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Obviously, in extremely popular breeds, because of their potential to be profitable to those "breeders" wishing to make quick money, those diseases become more prevalent, because clearances are not done (doing so would shrink their profit margins.)

No matter who is making diseases prevalent in different purebreds if AR has their way they will use those diseases to help stop/limit reproduction of the whole breed, not just substandard breeding practices. The substandard breeding is just an excuse for total elimination over time. IMO, it is easier to go after commercial and hobby breeders now as they are more readily known. They won't stop there. Once they get a good handle on this they will go after mixed breed dog owners that have those opps breedings.
All dog owners need to wake up or be aware that they and their dogs are all at risk.

Goldens are just as much at risk as cavaliers and bulldogs from the AR agenda.
 
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