Those who took college psychology classes might remember a study called the Milgram Experiment in which it was found that people would blindly follow orders from an authority figure when told to administer what they believed to be painful -- even lethal -- electric shocks to other humans. As Milgram himself wrote about his 1963 experiment:
Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not.
The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation
Now, more than 45 year later, the Milgram Experiment has been repeated again, with much the same results reports The San Jose Mercury News.
It turns out that people are so conditioned to follow authority (even when the authority is entirely contrived and asserted without documentation) that humans will routinely apply painful and potentially life-threatening jolts of electricity to people when told to.
Almost all people will apply 150-volt jolts to other humans (significantly more than household current), and about half will crank it up to more than 450 volts, even when the person they are shocking is no longer responding and may in fact be dead or passed out from the pain.
Why do I bring this up here?
Simple: think about dog breeds and breed standards.
People know that breeding very large dogs and very small dogs results in a very high, and very predictable, amount of painful canine pathology, ranging from cancer and bloat to syringomyelia.
People know that breeding achondroplastic and brachycephalic dogs results in a very high, and very predictable, amount of long-term breathing problems, joint problems, and heart disease.
People know that breeding Bloodhounds results in dogs that will often be in pain due to bloat, gastric torsion and cancer, and that more than half of these dogs will be dead by age 7.
So why do people do it?
Simple: they are simply "following directions."
The directions are written down in a "breed standard" created by a nameless faceless group of people who claim "history" as their guide even when the history is entirely invented.
The directions say that no dog can be bred outside of the Kennel Club's closed registry system.
The directions say that a pure breed dog is better than a "mongrel" gotten from the pound
The authority is the Kennel Club.
The pain administered to the dogs is minimized by "expert breeders" and Club potentates who spend considerable amounts of time and energy denying, rationalizing and explaining away defect, deformity and disease in their breeds, and who also routinely lie to potential puppy buyers about breed longevity.
Deaf dog? Never had one.
Uric acid stones? Not in my line.
Heart problems? Oh, that occurs sometimes among "backyard breeders" but never in the kennels of the board members of the breed club.
Cancer, skin conditions and eye problems? That just comes with the breed.
In fact, only the best Chihuahuas have moleras, and only the best Finnish Spitz's have epilepsy, and only the best herding dogs have the merle gene which is so often linked to deafness.
Defect is proof of quality!
In a world in which people will administer killing levels of electric shock to other people on voice command alone, it should come as no surprise to find many people are able to rationalize breeding dogs that will be in pain or discomfort for much of their lives.
After all, it's not like every dog in even a deeply troubled breed will have a painful defect.
And if it happens, it can easily be fobbed off as a "bad break" . . . for the owner of the dog.
And yes, that is how we say, isn't it?
Oh your [cancer prone breed] is dying of cancer? I'm, so sorry for the terrible expense.
Your dachshund has to be put down with a spinal cord injury? I'm so sorry for your loss.
Are you getting another one?
Oh good! It would be a shame if you let that one dog change your opinion of the breed!
. . . . Related Links
- A Modern Milgram experiment
- Does the Breed Standard Require a Rape Rack?
- Deformity and Disease Due to Exaggeration
- The Dalmatian Club Embraces Purity and Pain
- The Boston Terrier: Defective by Design
- The National Dog Show Salutes a Genetic Wreck
- Breeding Dogs for Intentional Defect
- Great Scots Magazine: Pushing for Better Health
- Massive Recall of Defective Pugs
- Inbred Thinking
- Making and Breaking Dogs in the Show Ring
- The Kennel Club: When Truth is Inconvenient, Lie
- Kennel Club Inbreeding: Data Revealed
- The AKC, Facing Extinction, Banks on Misery Pups
- AKC Registrations Down 53 Percent in 15 Years This is a re-post from 2008.