Monday, October 27, 2014

Stanley Milgram Dog Buyers and Breeders

I have written about the Milgram Experiment before. In that earlier post I raised the question as to whether a different kind of "Milgram Experiment" might be going on with 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?

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!


    Robert Ballard said...

    I take a Facebook website for Great Dane admirers and am daily amazed at the myriad of health problems these people contend with. My wife wanted one,but since we just buried her son from bone cancer, I convinced her that the same heartbreak in a dog 6 or 7 years from now should be avoided. We found a six month old pup at a shelter. Probably half pit half redbone. Maybe some Rhodesian.He'll be big,but no giant and looks like a little Dane.As for bloodhounds,your favorite villain Leon Whitney called the ruination of that breed in 1935 or so when the giant,wrinkled British caricatures took the show ring by storm. Such a waste.

    seeker said...

    I'm 61 and remember when farmers would 'cull' their pups. If one was identifiably problematic the poor thing was gently slipped into the freezer and let go back to 'puppy heaven'. Merles were not allowed to open their eyes, etc. The surviving dogs were healthy and did not carry on genetic problems. Then I went to work for a Toy Poodle breeder and I was shocked when told a parti-colored 'too valuable, must try to sell him' and now I see them everywhere along with merle dashshunds. Oh, well. Money talks and BS walks.

    Debi and the Jack Rat Pack.