The Dog Breeding Dilemma: How VHS students can live ethically by application of science and and empathy


Garrett Jaffe

The Humane Society estimates that 2.4 million healthy cats and dogs are put down every year. Let that sink in. That is one LIVING THING killed every 13 seconds, not by the whim of indifferent and inanimate mother nature, not for another animal to gain sustenance and survive as a result of insentient natural selection. It’s because of Homo Sapiens, ourselves spawned from natural selection, whose domestication of dogs was once an interspecies mutually beneficial practice, (for dogs with favorable traits) but now remains unnecessaracy, unkind and unethical in its actions and appropriation.

Through natural selection, our species has been able to place ourselves atop an imaginative and easily dissolved plateau in control of and supposedly above the law’s nature. This has allowed for humans the capability to inadvertently and intentionally experiment with artificial selection. Because of this, humans, for thousand of years have practiced dog breeding, however, today it is undertaken with an unprecedented amount of knowledge and extremity.

Although many different organizations estimate varying numbers, one thing is for certain: the constant appearances of relating large numbers regarding the influx of life versus the involuntary exodus of it, shows the shear amount of favor the public gives to commodity over empathy. Information from: WECT News 6

We still breed dogs today for two reasons: One, our two species are now somewhat inseparable, one likes having the other one around and the other couldn’t survive alone, two, as species and as individuals that are curious and inventive, it is innate for us to seek out ways to toy with and exploit nature for our own fun, survival and now convenience.

This part of our nature is what has allowed for our success as a species. But we now have a chance to turn our backs on meaningless convenience and use our inventiveness and empathy to combat cruelty against the animals we love so much.

The practice of dog breeding as it has always been, even before humans knew of their unintentional artificial selection, remains a compulsion of curiosity and comfort and for many, an economic exploit. But more importantly it is a gross rationalisation of our behavior that comes alongside our current “value” and understanding of the importance of biological order and ethics.

We as a species and society continue this outdated and indisputably despicable undermining of ethics, within the hammock of “humility” and hubris that is this homogeneous and half hearted animal loving culture is.

Now you as the reader may ask, “How does any of this concern or even relate to Ventura High School and its students?” As in accordance with the regulations of this paper, that require any article published on this forum to have relevance VHS, I would beseech to you, the reader, VHS staffer, student, or stealthy parent in search of intel into their students day at school, that this argument for the unethical nature of dog breeding is not just “relevant to VHS” so that I meet my relevance requirements in order to rant and rave, no. This article is of the utmost importance to VHS as a mecca for the public’s education of arts and sciences and the underlying lessons of ethics that can be found in most types of study and all social and instructional situations.

VHS has in it with accordance and alongside its curriculum numerous intriguing classes, each varying in subject and difficulty. One class, or subject I should say, in particular I believe to be of major importance is Biology. Not only is Biology awe-inspiring in its insight into our being and the world around us, as all other sciences are by nature, it can teach us ethics regarding life, it’s evolution and its current states of being in their simplest and most complex forms. The two are inseparable, as ethics are a product of living things and biology is the study of them, as well as ethics in essence regarding how members of life live within certain rules of reason.

I believe that all humans, no matter what age, death-bed or diapers, CEO or student,  through the study of Biology can grasp even better now and surpass our limited adherence to ethics as our own creation.

By using biology to understand life as it is, in all its importance and as it came to be and by dismissing practices that are objectively unethical conveniouses of conscience, we can be actively ethical instead of cruel for commodity.

Not only are many of the puppy mills for dogs in demand or “breeding factories” so to speak, cruel, dangerous, unhealthy, physically and mentally distressing for the animals during their production and sale, the very demand for the animals comes from people who want a dog because they love dogs and they seek to adopt for their own happiness as well as the dog’s. They create demand for the suppliers by paying top dollar for dogs, every 8 to 12 years after theirs dies for one bred with traits that are not natural or advantageous for the animal so that it will look and behave certain ways, no matter what physical or mental ramifications the dog may face.

They create demand for an animal who is going to be manually made by another animal to have certain unfavorable traits in nature, and brought into existence and importance with a home already awaiting it. The disadvantaged and readily adopted animal is brought into a world already overpopulated with dogs who were already conscious before it’s conception and have spent their lives in cages, scared, beaten, awaiting death and haunted by neglect and rejection from the love of a dog loving family.

Those that create demand for dog breeders to capitalize on, encourage them in their ethically reprehensible entrepreneurship, all so that they can have a dog made to have a squished nose or golden fur or a bad heart, hip problems, aggressive tendencies, breathing problems and so on and so forth. Thus, leaving countless perfectly healthy, loving, already conscious and full of emotion dogs to woe with every bone in their body for emancipation by love until it’s their turn to face the needle alone.

Now you can probably infer, so far that I myself believe that dog breeding is an unethical practice of ostentatious and malevolent nature. This being said, I came to this conclusion last year when I was in biology class learning about artificial selection by humans, and already having been interested in and reading about natural selection as well as being a dog lover, I was given insight and perspective into the ethical tresspasses that humans were committing with dog breeding.

I believe that looking at dog breeding as objectively as possible and seeing the disadvantageous traits dogs are bred for and the health problems that are often by-products of these “preferable” traits, that even without dog overpopulation and the necessity for mass euthanization, that breeding still remains an unethical indulgence into some kind of an inherent perversion within humans for their dogs to be dependent and helpless, despite our better sense of ethics and empathy.

Because I believe that biology is of major importance and relevance in making ethical decisions regarding living things such as dogs and she was my teacher last year in biology (and a good one at that), I went to go talk to Mera Clobes, a Biology and AP Biology teacher, to ask her if she as a biologist thought dog breeding was ethical.

When I asked her what she thought as an biologist about the ethics of dog breeding, she took a moment to think, to formulate a well articulated scientific response. She then replied, “As a biologist, I would say that humans are forcing the evolution of a species to a form that is not advantageous for that species.”

If you have an understanding of biology and its natural processes or an undiluted sense of ethics and empathy, then it should be not without greatpains or of any success to be able to dismiss the clear biological barriers of ethics with all their elasticity being torn down and spat upon through the passive practice of partaking in or dismissing the wrongdoings of dog breeding.

All this being said, I believe that I, myself, a VHS student, as well as all my peers, as the next generation of legislators, lawyers, dog breeders and buyers, that through learning about science and ethics and applying both to everyday life such as the dilemma of dog breeding (that most will face), we can effectively use what information we have acquired through experience and through education to live a life not of pseudo ethics but of reason and morality.

And what better place to start using ethics in accordance with their makeup than by showing empathy and rationality in the simplest of forms by saving a life without a voice rather than damning it to depravity by paying for one to be made (with designer breathing problems).