|Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 8:08pm PST |
|Gus, I'm by nature a big picture thinker, so I've contemplated this many times.
"In this 'utopian' fantasy scenario, would that leave us with (A) no more mutts? and (B) only a small group of purebred breeders who would be and could be very discerning about who they sell to?"
IMHO the answer is sort of yes, sort of no to both questions. There would be no more random-bred mutts because (as noted) all breedings would be planned and done by ethical breeders. There would not be any accidental litters, or unfixed dogs roaming around mating. So - the random mutt of unknown heritage would no longer exist. As a huge fan of mutts myself, I find that prospect sad; however, in the balance of guaranteeing a life of care for every dog born, what I would consider worthwhile.
The ethical breeders who would continue to produce dogs would not only plan breedings according to advance demand (they would have wait lists), but would ALSO take back any dog of their breeding, at any time during its life - thus providing the safety net and eliminating the need for shelters to exist.
Because they would have lifetime take-back clauses, they would probably be very discerning about who they sold to - yes. Not only because they care deeply about the welfare of each puppy they produce, but also because they don't want to end up with a bunch of returned dogs later.
Now, I see no reason (within the "utopia") that there will only be purebred breeders. Perhaps these ethical breeders will choose to outcross. Perhaps they'll decide to create more and more new breeds. Perhaps they'll keep making F1 mixes ("designer dogs"). If they are doing so only to meet the market demands, and are prepared to take back any dog at any time in its life, they will not be re-creating the shelter crisis. They might create genetic health and temperament messes, but that's a slightly different topic, I think.
"Which would mean many ordinary people who would be wonderful dog owners, wouldn't have the ability to get dogs . . .. because adoptable mutts have gone extinct and there aren't enough purebreds to go around . . ."
Most likely this is true. If, someday, the demand for dogs exceeds the supply, then dogs would be a commodity. By definition: everyone that wants a dog would not get to have one.
But who would not be able to have a dog? Well, that would be up to the breeders: people who care about each dog from the very beginning of its life. They would be the gatekeepers. So a person who yearns for a dog would have to impress a breeder, would have to show that he/she would be a good owner. If we are to imagine this as a real "utopia," then we would have faith that these ethical breeders would have good judgement on this. The puppy-seeker would probably have to at least demonstrate having put some research and thought into dog ownership and care.
I don't know that this would exclude many "ordinary people who would make wonderful dog owners." More likely it would exclude a great many people of the kind that currently own dogs and give them lousy unfulfilled lives.
Regarding costs of purchase - that would most likely increase, and be a barrier to some would-be owners. I don't think that would exclude most, however. It may mean - for example - for a lower-middle-class family, that a dog would be something to save up for. Aspire and strive towards. Plan and anticipate. And perhaps sacrifice some other luxuries in order to afford the dog. I do not think this would be a bad thing for dogs as a whole. And perhaps, even a very poor person could acquire a dog, if he were able to convince a breeder, over time, that he would make an excellent owner - the breeder, being in it not for money but for love of the dogs, might make an exception and give this special someone a dog for free.
That's what I imagine, anyway.
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