Adopt a Mutt Instead of Buying a Purebred

Opinion: The obsession with selective breeding is 'narcissistic'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2010 3:30 PM CST
Before buying a purebred from a puppy mill, check out the mutts at an animal shelter, says essayist.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

(Newser) – Betsy Karasik used to own a pair of pedigreed Maine coon cats, and while she liked them just fine, "I now look at that phase of my life much as a vegetarian might look back on eating veal: an ethical misstep that was the product of ignorance," she writes in the Washington Post. She thinks too many Americans are obsessed with buying purebred dogs and cats as "status symbols"—it's "narcissistic," she writes—even as millions of lovable mutts and stray cats are euthanized at shelters each year.

What's worse, the purebreds often come from puppy mills with inhumane conditions that produce unhealthy dogs, Karasik writes. "There is nothing superior about a 'purebred' dog or cat; in fact, mixed breeds benefit from a phenomenon known as hybrid vigor, meaning that they are less susceptible to genetic disorders and live longer on average." Buy that purebred if you must, but Karasik suggests taking a walk through an animal shelter first.

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