Selective breeding is a cruel way of ‘creating’ the perfect pet.
This is the way humans choose specific traits or characteristics to be passed from parent(s) to offspring in animals. Most commonly used in the pet industry, dogs and cats are subjects of selective breeding, also known as artificial selection. People who purposefully breed pets to create a certain result are called ‘breeders’ and are private sellers. However, dogs and cats aren’t the only victims of this heartless trade. Exotic animals like tigers, bears, and elephants are also selectively bred.
Most of the time, these selectively bred animals are born unhealthy and disease-ridden. Traits passed down by parents can be mutated and offspring can be harmed as a result. In addition, parents that are nearly the same, carrying very similar traits, prohibit offspring from carrying genetic variation. Genetic variation is the diversity of an organism’s genes passed down from its’ parent(s).Genetic variation is a huge advantage to an organism’s’ survival. Varied genes allow organisms to adapt to a varied amount of situations. For example, a flower living in the wild has a thick stem that allows it to survive during the winter, but also has the ability to grow long roots to attain water in the summer. Genetic variation is crucial to a species’ survival in the wild, or even it’s independent survival in captivity. Selective breeding prevents genetic variation from happening. In fact, the whole point of selective breeding is to eliminate genetic variation in animals.
Health problems, disabilities, and diseases are a result of the lack of genetic variation in selectively bred animals. Many other problems may surface as the effects of selective breeding. Most of the time, certain breeds of a pet are created ‘purebred’ from being bred in the same litter over and over again. This results in multitude of health problems including skin problems, immune system disease, blood disorders, sensory disorders, heart disease, and cancer.
In addition, if a pet selectively bred is too sick or undesirable to be bought, most of the times the animal will be transferred to a pound or shelter where it will likely be put to sleep. Overpopulation is a huge problem in these shelters and that’s why selective breeding has to stop. Not only will there be too many animals for people to take care of, but they will be much unhealthier than the average mutt. These ‘pure breeds’ are high maintenance and have the risk of being disabled for life.
Next time you see a ‘purebred’ pet through the looking glass of a pet store, think again about the well being of this poor animal.