Thursday, June 10, 2010

Think, think, think

One of my neighbors who owns a restaurant bred her pit bull recently and is "selling" the pups for $700.00. There were 10 in the litter - she still has nine - they are now 5 mos. old and she's starting to panic. One she gave as a present. Man!, just what Richmond California needs! 10 more pit bulls. The shelters are full to bursting with pits and pit mixes. I like pits, They are mostly swell dogs. But we are swimming in them here!

Does she have a right to breed her bitch? Certainly. Is it morally defensible? Well.... not so clear. I told her she might just as well have taken a 9mm into a shelter and blown away 10 dogs. Are the eventual buyers (if they materialize) of her puppies evil because they plunk down $700.00 instead of adopting a shelter dog? Certainly they have the right to do so. But having the right doesn't make it right.

But you could take these arguments anywhere. Maybe I should be sending my "disposable income" to someone who is working on a renewable energy source and needs funding instead of feeding 3 animals that I "don't need." But those animals needed someone, and they have more than repaid me for the money I spent on them.

I think it would be great if people did a 10 year moratorium on eating fish so that wild stocks could have some time to recover and salmon and shrimp farms could be redesigned to be much less polluting. But these things will probably not happen voluntarily, and I don't want to be the one to take away a fisherman's livelihood - even though just doing what he has to to feed his family will probably do just that.

I think buying a purebred dog just as a pet is a selfish act. I'd love to have a Scottish Deerhound. But I don't live on venison, and the Deerhounds I know wouldn't have a clue about how to bring a deer to bay, or bring it down even if I did. So instead I fell in love with a Border Collie of uncertain pedigree. Lucky me! I've discover the joy of living with one of the cleverest dogs on earth. And she is no longer marinating in her own feces in a concrete pen, or contributing to canine overpopulation. Does this make me a better person than someone who goes out and buys a German Shepherd Dog because they think it makes them look cool?

Honestly, I do.

I think people need to realize that all the decisions we make have consequences. They need to think hard about what these consequences mean, and then act in a responsible way. But we all know that asking people to think at all is an iffy proposition. Trying to get them to work out that just because they can do something doesn't mean they should is going to be a tall order.

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