27 May 2013

The War Between Rescuers and Breeders

I was looking at various groups on Facebook the other day and became totally disenchanted with both rescue groups and breeders.  Both factions were calling for the other side to be "put to sleep" or "hung".  Both claimed they had the best interest of the animals in their decisions.

Here's examples from both sides:

Let's kill the breeders!
A lady buys a kitten from a breeder.  The kitten arrives and seems fine at first.  Then the kitten gets sick.  After a week or so, the owner takes the kitten to the vet whose diagnosis is girardia, coccidia, and ringworm.  After 2 months, the kitten is still sick so the owners give the kitten to a rescue.  The rescue publicizes the story, including the breeder's name, and the rescue supporters call for the breeder (and all breeders) to be put to sleep.

The breeder is then contacted and told about the group trashing her name and reputation.  The breeder, an older lady, decides to quit breeding.  The rescue supporters celebrate.

Interestingly, the rescue and its supporters fail to notice that the breeder had not been contacted previous to this about this sick kitten, to understand girardia, coccidia, and ringworm could have come from other cats that the owner has or from being allowed out in the garden, and to ask why the owner did not contact the breeder immediately or take the kitten to a vet upon arrival.

Let's kill the rescue groups!
A rescue takes in a sick cat -- no definite symptoms, just diarrhea and a high temperature.  The cat gets sicker and after 2 days is seen by a vet, who makes no clear diagnosis but wants to run more tests.  The tests are done and more tests are done.  The rescue finally is informed that the cat probably has FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) and the cat is put to sleep.  Some breeders then criticize the rescue for torturing the animal for a week by trying to treat it, for spending money on a lost cause, and for being idiots for not recognizing the disease at first.

What the breeders fail to understand is that when rescues get an animal in with no history, it takes time to figure out what is going on, that if a rescue doesn't try, then they will be criticized for not trying, and that FIP doesn't always come with a bloated belly of fluid.

Both sides in these little wars are myopic and irrational.  You can not try to add any rational comments or questions because you will then be the target.

And sorry, it's stupid!!!

I've done rescue.  I've got a number of breeder friends.  Perhaps because of this I can see the bigger picture.  Namely, both sides need each other.  The people supporting the rescues want specific breeds of cats for their own pets, and so they need breeders to continue to breed.  Breeders need rescue groups to take in and rehome purebreds (perhaps their own cats) which irresponsible owners dump.  What both sides should agree on is that backyard breeders and shady rescue groups are the problem, but this is too fine of distinction for most people involved in these 'discussions'.

My biggest fear is that all the good, ethical breeders will be run out of business, leaving only the backyard breeders who often abuse their animals.  This will then allow the rescue groups and animal rights groups to get passed draconian laws about keeping pets, such as the registration and inspection of all homes with pets.

Yah, so breeders and rescuers, please just keep fighting so we all lose.


Anonymous said...

You must have ESP Linda! I saw something very mean on Facebook yesterday about this same topic and started to write my opinion and then deleted what I wrote. I have friends that rescue and a very dear breeder friend. I personally buy pedigree cats from one breeder only now because she is tops in my book and also has her PhD in evolutionary genetics and tests her cats completely. I know exactly what I am getting. I also donate money regularly to CROM--cat rescue of Maryland to show my support for kitties in need. I think people need to do whatever fits their particular circumstance and mindset. To me, it is ALL good and I agree with you---we need both! Excellent article as always! Joane

L.M. Hornberger said...

I totally agree -- you do what fits your circumstances. I'm not the most understanding person, and I get it. I just wish these 2 groups of people -- both who want to help cats -- would work together instead of tearing the other down.