If you are involved in the world of pets in any way -- dogs and cats, especially -- I'm sure you've heard or read some variation on the following theme:
If you buy your next pet from a breeder, you're killing a shelter animal!
Sometimes, it's toned down a bit: grudging exceptions are made for special needs (usually sporting or working dogs) or the rare "responsible" breeder -- and in these cases, you're merely keeping a shelter animal from finding a home, rather killing it. Other times, it's hyped up to the point where anybody who even considers buying a dog from a breeder is a narcissistic*, genocidal buffoon.
Regardless, the message is the same: adopt, adopt, adopt... and if you don't, you may as well be holding a sodium pentobarbital-soaked needle in your guilty hands.
This message isn't something you only hear from animal rights activists or the more extreme fringes of the rescue community, either -- a kinder, gentler form can be found in most pet supply stores nowadays, as well. In fact "most" is probably an understatement: I can't remember the last pet store I walked into that didn't have its walls adorned with at least one "if you don't adopt, shelter dogs and cats will suffer" message. PETCO even goes so far as to ask its customers to consider purchasing a pet only after every possible adoption avenue has been exhausted, and offers discounts for its customers who adopt.
I'd also mention some of the heart-wrenching adopt-a-homeless-pet commercials you can regularly see on Animal Planet or the fact that it's hard to find an online news article even mentioning breeders or purebred dogs that doesn't generate at least a few "Don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!" responses in the comments section... but I think you have the point by now: the adopt-or-else message has utterly permeated the world of pet lovers and even the pet industry itself.
It's so prevalent, in fact, that it's not even worth arguing about -- so instead, we'll just step aside at this point, and ask what you think about it. Do you think it's good, bad, or mixed that this is THE message being sent to all prospective pet owners nowadays? Does this message resonate with you, personally?
We have yet to advertise this blog outside of the circles of NAIA, and won't until January 1st; at this time, almost all of our page visits and comments are coming from our own members, in fact. This could be viewed as a limitation, but we view it as a rare opportunity to peer directly into the hearts and minds of our own membership. And considering the fact that we have people who are heavily involved in rescue/shelter work, as well as purebred-enthusiasts and even -- gasp -- breeders... well, the discussion is bound to get interesting.
Post your thoughts in the comments section. It's valuable and informative to us, and we promise not to bite!
* When, exactly, did "narcissistic" become the go-to pejorative for the anti-breeder/purebred crowd?