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Candace C. Croney

Abstract

As the dog’s popularity as a human companion has grown, demand for purebred dogs has likewise escalated. Commercial breeding of dogs, which currently helps to meet such demands has become a point of social contention. The co-evolution of dogs and humans and the unique, familial relationships people have developed with them suggest that they are owed special consideration of their needs and interests that is independent of their utility to humans. Not surprisingly, opposition to commercial breeding enterprises has increased dramatically in the past decade in the US and abroad, spawning a growing number of legislative initiatives aimed at regulating such operations, which are widely believed to harm dogs. Among the most significant ethical problems embedded in commercial dog breeding are the potential for insults to the human-dog bond, failure to duly consider and meet duties of care to dogs, including dogs’ welfare needs and interests, and insufficient regulation of dog care standards. The shortage of published science on the actual conditions experienced by dogs in commercial breeding kennels complicates understanding of the nature and severity of problems as well as solutions. It is argued that despite the concerns associated with commercial dog breeding, abolishing the practice without identifying an ethically preferable alternative that meets demands could result in even worse consequences for dogs. Given this problem, commercial breeding could be ethically defensible under conditions that vastly reduce or eliminate potential for dog suffering, and with strict regulatory oversight of corresponding standards of care for dogs.

Series:

Hugh A.G. Houghton and Catherine J. Smith

Signs & Media is a peer-reviewed, academic journal focused on semiotics and media studies, two fields that complement each other. The journal includes full-length research articles, review articles, short communications, or such other materials which explore the linguistic, philosophical, sociological, anthropological, and other scientific dimensions of semiotics and media studies. With the radical changes of the forms of media and communications in the modern society, as well as the dazzling spectacles of signs, symbols, and texts being produced, read, and interpreted in this cyber age of globalisation, Signs & Media seeks to promote the developments of semiotics in China by breaking its confinements to linguistics and embracing the traditional sign theories in China and East Asia as well as the international trends in contemporary semiotics.
The journal is relevant to researchers and practitioners of semiotics and media studies who are interested in the generation and mechanism of meaning, as well as the structure of communications through all forms of media. The journal constitutes a unique scholarly platform for scholars from a range of academic backgrounds, including but not limited to literature, linguistics, cultural studies, communicology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, cognitive sciences and biology.