Mentoring:
A Way To Oppose The Animal Rights Crazies

Adapted from an article by Diane Klumb
Originally published June, 2003, ShowSights Magazine

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I just finished reading 'The Hijacking of the Humane Movement' by Rod and Patti Strand. If you haven't read it, please do so. Immediately.

It is critically important that each and every one of us involved in the dog or cat fancy understand what we are up against. Most of us are woefully ignorant.

THE END OF ANIMAL OWNERSHIP

There is a large, well-funded and well-organized network out there that believes we have no right to own cats - in fact, they believe domestic animals should not exist at all, and their goal is to see that they do not.

Yeah, we all know about animal-rights crazies... PETA jumps immediately to mind, because they are a media-oriented organization. Most of us do not support them. We think they are nuts.

But I'll bet it never occurred to you that you are unwittingly spreading their message...

Before you say "me? NEVER!" let me ask you this - have the words "companion animal" ever rolled off your tongue in the last year or two? Do you vaguely remember when we called them "pets"? Where'd that pretty term come from anyway?

Here is your answer:

"I don't use the word "pet". I think it is speciesist language. I prefer "companion animal". For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding... if people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets... But as the surplus of cats and cats (artificially designed by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship - enjoyment at a distance." Ingrid Newkirk, Co-Founder of PETA

Every time we use "their" terminology in place of our own, we spread their message and support their cause. Are you perchance telling people you "place" kittens in their new "adoptive" homes? With their new "guardians"? (Is that check you get the "adoption fee" for their new "furkid"?)

Not me.

I sell kittens that I have bred to the best owners that I can find.

I tell my pet kitten buyers in no uncertain terms that these not little people in fur coats - although they may act like it :-).

UNCONSCIOUS SUPPORT OF THE AR AGENDA

The most dangerous way in which we have brought in and supported the animal rights agenda to end animal ownership and the breeding of cats is by believing that responsible ("good") breeders produce less kittens than irresponsible ("bad") ones. And, following this dangerous logic, the most responsible ("very best") breeders presumably produce none at all!

The reason we believe that breeding less cats is responsible is because we all have been told that there is a pet overpopulation problem, and every year, more and more unwanted pets are euthanized in shelters across the country.

But is the problem really getting worse and worse, or have we simply been told that? (And by whom?)

Here's a fact that I learned, thanks to Rod and Patti's aforementioned book:

According to the figures of the American Humane Association, there was a 45% drop in dog and cat euthanasia from 1985-1990. That trend has continued today to such an extent that in many parts of the country, shelters are importing stray dogs & cats from third world countries to fill the demand!!!

Unbelievable? Not at all.

At the same time, public demand for purebred cats has increased to the point where the commercial producers (who presumably are not as gullible as us and never believed this claptrap coming from Animal Rights people in the first place) cannot keep up with the demand.

And here we sit, feeling smug about how very few cats we breed, as though this is somehow a measure of our moral superiority.

LESS IS MORE - NOT!

The less cats you breed, the better a breeder you are... how damn dumb is that?

Let's apply this weird logic to other endeavors for a minute...

The fewer books you write, the better a writer you are?

The less paintings you produce the better an artist you are?

The less cases you try, the better an attorney you are?

Or, how about - my personal favorite - the less surgeries you perform, the better surgeon you are???? Hmmmmm... Would you choose a cardiac surgeon because the guy only performs the particular surgery you need once every four years? (Not unless you are a total idiot...)

No, in a rational world, the measure of your competence in any given endeavor is not determined by how infrequently you do it... this idiocy was handed to us on a platter by the Animal Rights Activist, and we actually accepted it.

THE GOOD BREEDER

A good breeder is not one who breeds less cats - it is someone who breeds cats well. And, although it is probably the height of political incorrectness to point this out in the current climate, the odds of breeding cats well is probably increased by actually doing it!

  • A good breeder, in my humble opinion, is one who breeds only for the improvement in type and structure, as defined by the Standard for his breed. (If his cats don't need any improvement in those area, it's because it is his first litter...)
  • He screens his cats for all the health problems in his breed, and makes intelligent and informed choices based on the results of those tests to minimize the risk of producing unhealthy animals.
  • He takes the time to learn the basics of genetics, anatomy, and feline behavior before he starts breeding, and continues to study throughout his years as a breeder.
  • He socializes his kittens.
  • He stands behind his cats for life.
  • He shows his cats in competition, because he understands that the purpose of competition is the evaluation of breeding stock, but he does not breed only to win, because he is aware of the pitfalls inherit therein.
  • He recognizes that selling kittens one cannot keep is a business, whether IRS knows it or not, and he is businesslike and ethical when he sells them. (And if it is his business, he doesn't lie about that... let's look at the cardiac surgeon again - I've never met one who pretended it was just his damn hobby, either...! What exactly is wrong with making money doing something that you are extremely good at?)

It doesn't matter if one produces one litter a year or ten, or whether one makes money or loses it in the process - one is either a good breeder, or one is not. Anyone who believes otherwise is supporting the agenda of those who want to see breeding cats criminalized.

Criminalized??

Duhhhh... what exactly do you think these people are talking about anyway?

#10 on the Animal Rights Platform (reprinted from the Animals Agenda, a publication of the movement, and lifted from Rod and Patti's book) states unequivocally:

We Strongly discourage any further breeding of companion animals, including pedigreed or purebred dogs or cats.

(Are they going to ask us nicely? Uh-uh. They are trying to legislate us out of existence as we speak...)

And #11 includes this ominous gem:

#11 on the Animal Rights Platform (reprinted from the Animals Agenda, a publication of the movement, and lifted from Rod and Patti's book) states unequivocally:

We call for an end to the use of animals in entertainment and sports as horse and dog racing, dog and cock fighting, fox hunting, hare coursing, rodeos, circuses and other spectacles...

Obviously, cat shows would also be legislated out of existence if this ban were to come to pass.

The truth is, we need more good cats, not less. We need more good breeders, not less.

And this means we need to find some new ones, and mentor them.

But we want to make sure they will be responsible breeders, or we simply won't do it - we'll sell what we don't keep on spay/neuters until there are no more of us left before we'll risk having our cats placed in the wrong hands.

LIMITED REGISTRATION

The American Kennel Club has a program called Limited Registration. A dog may be registered with a number that limits its use for breeding - but the limited status can be lifted by the breeder once certain conditions have been fulfilled.

We would be much more likely to encourage new breeders if we could sell promising kittens on contract to novices with some sort of Limited Registration agreement with the cat registry preventing use of the cat for breeding UNTIL such time as the new owners showed and titled the cat and had it health-tested.

At this point the new owner would have demonstrated a sufficient degree of commitment (in some competitive breeds it's one hell of a commitment!) and the Limited could be lifted, sending another potential Good Breeder out into the world to fight the bad guys with our blessing.

BREED COUNCILS, BREED & SPECIALTY CLUBS

The Breed Councils, Breed and Specialty Clubs could maybe get off their collective posteriors and start helping potential owners of their respective breeds find a good cat instead of forcing them to go to pet shops or kitten mills, thereby keeping the bottom feeders of catdom in business and giving the Animal Rights crazies more video footage to work with in their campaign to outlaw the breeding of cats... you know... be part of the solution instead of part of the problem...

But I guess maybe that's another discussion entirely.

See you at the shows!!

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