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Bernard Rollin and Barbara de Mori

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.

Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research

Ethics for Animal Welfare, Veterinary Medicine, and Conservation

Edited by Bernard Rollin and Barbara de Mori

The Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research is an international and interdisciplinary scientific publication. It publishes the results of original peer-reviewed research, technical studies, and reviews that bring to the light the ethical issues involved in all dimensions of animal welfare, ranging from theoretical to applied contributions. Emphasis is placed on research that explores practical ethical issues related to animal care and management in veterinary medicine, conservation, companion and laboratory animals, animals involved in agriculture, sport, applied ethology and welfare science. The journal also publishes papers that examine and discuss ethical frames, tools and methodologies applied to moral issues in the human/animal relationship.