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Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision Essay

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Updated: Jul 8th, 2021

Pets are an important part of the life of any animal lover. They provide unconditional love and affection that can brighten our mood on the worst days. However, many pets do not get to know the joy of companionship and comfortable living. They are left on the streets or in pet shelters, and can even be euthanized if an owner cannot be found in time. In this context, preferring to buy pets from breeders is irrational and unnecessary.

First of all, people’s beliefs that a pet from a breeder be healthier and behave better than a shelter animal because it is purebred are misguided. There are many genetic illnesses that are common in purebred cats and dogs but are not prevalent in mixed breeds. A review published in Scientific American (Maldarelli, 2014) confirms that mixed breed dogs are often healthier than purebreds. The vast majority of animals in shelters are not purebred, and thus adopting a pet will help the owner save on veterinarian bills and ensure that their companion lives longer. With regards to behavior, there is no scientific consensus on behavioral differences between purebred and mixed breed cats and dogs. Some research studies found an increased likelihood of misbehavior in mixed breed dogs (Pendergrass, 2017). Still, people should not refrain from adopting pets from a shelter because shelter staff always ensure that the animal is well-trained and not aggressive. Hence, behavior and health should not be used as arguments to opt for purebred animals instead of shelter pets.

Secondly, supporting dog and cat breeders by buying animals from them is widely considered unethical. To gain more profits, breeders often disregard the living conditions of adult animals and their puppies to the point of breaking animal protection laws. For example, an article by Eglot and Harvey (2018) reports on unethical puppy and kitten mills in England, where hundreds of animals were kept in poor conditions and received no proper care and nutrition. The problem of unethical breeding is also prominent in the United States. Recently, the state of California passed legislation prohibiting pet stores from selling animals from breeders, which is a first step in addressing the issue (Hauser, 2019). Buying pets from breeders support the business, making it harder for the government to improve the situation, and is thus unethical.

Adopting a shelter pet, on the other hand, is a rewarding and ethical decision. Most of the pets who stay in shelters are perfectly healthy and well-behaved, yet they still wait for years to find their owner. Some shelters are required to euthanize animals who have not been adopted within a specific time frame because the capacity of shelters is limited and there are more pets in need of urgent help. Although staff in shelters take action to socialize animals and care for them, they cannot provide enough love and affection to each animal. As a result, pets who are used to human contact become depressed, reject food and water, and develop health issues (Kavin, 2016). Like children in foster care, animals in shelters need a caring home and an owner who will love them. Adopting one pet from a shelter will make at least two creatures happy: the animal and its new owner. A happy pet, consequentially, will bring joy into any home and will become a loyal companion who is always by the owners’ side.

To conclude, it is clear that adopting a pet from a shelter is a better option than buying one from a breeder. Mixed breed pets who come from shelters are usually healthier than purebred pets and do not have any behavioral problems. Moreover, adopting a pet is also an ethical decision, whereas people who buy pets from breeders support the business that damages the health and well-being of animals. A shelter pet will reward its new owner with unconditional love and support just as any purebred animal would, so why not make a better choice?

References

Eglot, J., & Harvey, F. (2018). The Guardian. Web.

Hauser, C. (2019). The New York Times. Web.

Kavin, K. (2016). The dog merchants: Inside the big business of breeders, pet stores, and rescuers. New York, NY: Pegasus Books.

Maldarelli, C. (2014). Scientific American. Web.

Pendergrass, J. (2015). American Veterinarian. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, July 8). Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/adopting-a-shelter-pet-as-an-ethical-decision/

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"Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision." IvyPanda, 8 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/adopting-a-shelter-pet-as-an-ethical-decision/.

1. IvyPanda. "Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision." July 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/adopting-a-shelter-pet-as-an-ethical-decision/.


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IvyPanda. "Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision." July 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/adopting-a-shelter-pet-as-an-ethical-decision/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision." July 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/adopting-a-shelter-pet-as-an-ethical-decision/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Adopting a Shelter Pet as an Ethical Decision'. 8 July.

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