Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
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10-05-2010, 12:55 AM
Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
I'm not talking about Hitler's motives which I think we can all agree is immoral.

I'm referring to animal breeding. With domestic pets Natural Selection no longer plays a significant role, instead it's the humans who determine future generations.

Yet Selective Breeding significantly weakens genes due to some degree of inbreeding.

I personally have a second generation labradoodle, my parents sent him to the vet for his usual checkup, we got it back saying we need to control fleas help him lose some weight etc.

What I was surprised to see was the relatively longer list of 'expected' conditions.

- Sensitive-Skin making flea bites extremely painful.

- Inability to shed hair means his ears become blocked easily and his eyes suffer painful abrasions.

- Expected Heart Murmur.

- Expected onset arthritis

How much further do we have to go until these animals are in constant pain? is that what we want?

I truly love my dog and don't regret buying him one bit, yet to those looking at a pet maybe you should invest in a much stronger genome, despite possibly being less exotic.

Just something I'm thinking about.
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10-05-2010, 04:38 PM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?, no selective breeding is not immoral.

Selectively breeding an evolutionarily negative trait into a species would be immoral. Selectively breeding a species to instill certain traits in them that would be negative if it were not for an altered environment would not be immoral; and instilling traits that would be positive either way are obviously good; so long as ecological balance is maintained(I'm leaving this as an unfinished thought.)
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10-05-2010, 11:06 PM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
How can we be entirely sure that we can handle the responsibility of not creating an animal in constant torment?

If we pretend to be ignorant and say "well we didn't intend it to be this way, so it's fine" then we may be able to sleep better at night.

Yet I know, and I sure many others do, that we are not ignorant to the fact that selective breeding for some traits will carry along genes which should have died out.

White cats for instance, generations of breeding the white fur gene has also brought along a tendency for them to be deaf upon birth. White cats will be partially deaf or fully deaf compared to any other breed of cat.

It's a fairly small problem when looking at the entire world, but hey if you buy a genetically sound pet then you take away the demand for genetically inferior animals.
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11-05-2010, 07:23 AM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
Tell me, what does leaving a species to reproduce on its own create?
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11-05-2010, 08:41 PM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
Yet if we are to use selective breeding to create more genetically sound and healthy animals, will it still be immoral? It all depends on how and what traits we are breeding.

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11-05-2010, 09:39 PM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
I just wanted to clarify something. Althoough most peoples exposure to professional breeders is limited to dog breeders, there are many people who make a living breeding animals other than dogs. For the most part, these people all practice selective breeding to some degree. The difference is that for some breeders, they are looking to selectively breed to achieve a specific appearance (most dog breeders) while others are selectively breeding to ensure that the animals that are reproduced are the very same that nature would select if those animals were reproducing in the wild. -Read--selectively breeding for superior health and genetic diversity.
Just thought it might help those of you who aren't familiar with breeding first hand to get the perspective of someone who does it for a living.

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11-05-2010, 11:26 PM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
(11-05-2010 07:23 AM)Ceryle Wrote:  Tell me, what does leaving a species to reproduce on its own create?

Well deaf cats wouldn't survive as well, Dogs with Arthritis or with eye diseases wouldn't either.

Yes I should clarify that I'm speaking of breeders who only concentrate on looks, not superior health.

I think it's extremely difficult to breed one gene and one gene only. If you only breed the whitest cats from a litter, you may be propagating negative genes that would otherwise have died out.

I might trust breeding for looks to an advanced biologist, yet a simple dog breeder doesn't fully realize the implications of Human Selection or perhaps he does, but doesn't care for the animals welfare as long as it makes a business.
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12-05-2010, 12:06 AM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
"Well deaf cats wouldn't survive as well, Dogs with Arthritis or with eye diseases wouldn't either."

Precisely, upon birth they would lead a narrow life into death. You as a human support them in their new environment though, thus allowing for an otherwise negative gene to stay afloat.

To the point though...

All of these traits that you have listed, exist in wild populations as well; why do you rarely see 'broken' non-pack animals in the wild? Because they're all dead. When you get an infection, without your 'pack' to help you, you're basically screwed. Without help, and with a broken leg, you're doomed.

What I'm getting at, is that 'natural' selective breeding, in other words the kind that takes place when something decides to reproduce with another, has little bearing on inheritable diseases. It mostly has to do with looks. Your liver explodes at age twenty-five and is readily inheritable by your offspring? That's cool, because your genetic material is bound to be passed on before then anyways. It really depends upon the species in question, their genetic survival technique, and the environment that they exist within. 'Natural' selective breedings goal is to reproduce its genetic material, with a side goal of keeping the organism holding that material alive.
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12-05-2010, 02:22 AM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
Very good points Ceryle, this is where the morality variable comes into play however.

The gene is within an animal that will survive, yet the animal itself feels pain, more pain than it would normally do in nature due to the allowed survival of negative genes.

Being deaf isn't a huge disadvantage when you're a house cat, yet you are essentially robbing this animal of its sense of sound.

Also shown with my dog being allergic to fleas and Arthritis which I know will cause him pain at a later age. I ask you not to approach this from a scientific stand point but a Sympathetic and Empathetic stand point.
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12-05-2010, 10:17 AM
RE: Is Selective Breeding Immoral?
That is one of the oddest requests that I have ever heard. No, selective breeding is not inherently immoral. It can be used immorally; however it is entirely dependent upon the situation at hand.

Remove humanity from the factor and what is left? Well, natural selective breeding has produced results wherein countless billions of species suicided themselves in the game of evolution. Consider humanities recent introduction into the equation and you have species that are dependent upon humanities provided environment; since humanity isn't inherently malicious, then that would imply that we will continue to provide for these creatures in question, for as long as they will exist.

From an empathic point of view, it makes my argument even stronger.
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