Stop saying “Responsible Breeder”.
Yep! I said it.
And stop using other terms too. More on that below.
My stomach turned as I recently just read an open letter to breeders being proffered and circulated over the Internet. I am sure it was well-intended. We have also seen the sanctimonious FB posts over the years. I know. I have authored several gratuitously sanctimonious posts myself!
Up till recently, I would have agreed with the author. My former elitist self would have been right there sharing and commenting with my nose stuck high in the air in self-righteous indignation. How dare you not do every health test! How dare you breed a bitch more than twice, let alone more than two cycles in a row! How dare you you reckless backyard breeder! How dare you!…the list goes on and on.
I am just as guilty as anyone of falling into the trap of Political Correctness when it comes to the sport I love. However, we are being beat up by some very bad people. We are also beating each other up. Over time, I have had to humble myself and reevaluate what we do so I can finally “see the forest through trees”. Now that I have been showing and breeding AND invested in the politics of Animal Husbandry and Commerce long enough, I now know better. The big picture tells us that our Rights are FAR more important than any opinion we may or may not have of breeding and showing, how much money we have, our experience, success, levels of commitment, etc.
No Rights to Animal Husbandry and Commerce, No “betterment of the breed.”
It is just that simple.
…that is a loaded phrase by the way. [“betterment of the breed”]
Over the years a Politically Correct narrative has proliferated and become part of the vocabulary of the Dog Fancy. Some of these terms were crafted and focus-grouped by the animal rightists and their animal shelter partners, i.e. “Retail Rescue”. Others terms we created ourselves. That has ended up sabotaging everything we enjoy in the Dog Fancy. Some of these terms roll off the tongue with just a little too much ease. As a result, we play right into the hands of Retail Rescue as its activists and enforcers roll in sweaty cash at our expense.
We really need to stop cannibalize each other.
So here are some terms that you must STOP using. Get them OUT of your vocabulary. As in yesterday.
“Puppy mill “
What is it? Everything. All of us. If anyone is guilty of catering to puppy mills, it is Retail Rescue. They are the ones sourcing from foreign "puppy mills". That and sickly strays. They have no accountability. We do. “Puppy mill” is a stupid term. It is their word. Stop using it.
“Over population problem”
Not for a long time, otherwise Retail Rescue wouldn’t be importing over a million dogs per year into the United States to keep their shelves stocked with product. (See USDA Report on the Live Importation of Dogs into the United States, June 25, 2019)
Right. And the word "responsible" is probably THE most self-righteous way to segment and isolate ourselves. Everyone has a different story. Let’s not delude ourselves by saying that just because someone does not have a state-of-the-art kennel, they are somehow cruel or irresponsible or a “backyard breeder”,...whatever that means. You are playing right into their hands. Just stop.
Ultimately, We the People are all equal under the Law and equal in the eyes of God. Now if someone is truly cruel and criminal (as Retail Rescue obviously is) that is different. We should be mature and confident enough to know better, to know the difference.
The term has been appropriated by Retail Rescue. It was originally intended to differentiate between Animal Rights and the rest of us that actually DO care about the welfare of animals. Our enemies simply started using it too. They took it for themselves. It's what they do. Therefore, "animal welfare" doesn’t mean anything anymore.
“Betterment of the breed”
…this should be matter of fact. It does not need to be mentioned, let alone preached. And let us not forget that Animal Husbandry is a skill. What's more, everyone is at a different stage of experience and knowledge. We all had training wheels at one time. And the best of us occasionally have to put those training wheels back on! Perspective folks. Animal Husbandry is humbling. You should be too.
Never had an accidental breeding? Good for you. Now be a cool person to those who have. Offer to help them tie their shoes instead of burning them in effigy.
“Breeding for money”
Good one! Congratulations on being independently wealthy. Should the rest of us Dog Fanciers stop breeding for poverty?! Perhaps you wealthy Dog Fanciers could contribute just a few pennies here ‘n there to fight legislation in between your self-congratulatory social-climbing and quest for Best in Shows and #1 Dog All Systems? I am going to continue...
Seriously! Unless you already have a fortune and most of us do NOT, then YOU BETTER BE BREEDING FOR MONEY…if only just for the cash flow to pour right back into your program. You also have to be prepared. For anything! Animal Husbandry is expensive. However, if you are able to breed and sell enough dogs to supply the general public so people don’t feel like they have to “adopt” some diseased shelter import from Retail Rescue, by all means…breed for lots of money! Do it. Breed for money. Contribute your amazing dogs in exchange for well-earned dollars. That is called Mutual Exchange. That is called Capitalism. That is Liberty! That is called improving the lives of families that want beautiful dogs. No one gets something for nothing unless you are a swindler. Or as a friend of mine likes to say: “If you charge nothing, you are worth nothing.” Breed for money. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!
Ok. Now that we have successfully erased these terms from the Politically Correct Animal Dictionary of Terms and Other Divisive Disorders, our philosophy and narrative going forward should be this:
“I am an American that loves to breed and show dogs.”
It’s what you do. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Be matter of fact and move on.
Don’t be a politically correct ass. You can’t win with these loaded terms and narratives. That is their game. So, don’t even try.
Support each other.
You will rise above.
All the best and God Bless!
Nick Van Duren
Dog Fanciers Action Network