Here's a hypothetical for you...
To all the rescuers and foster carers, I love what you do, I have been involved in rescue before, and I will do in the future too. But before you jump down my throat, just have a read....
Imagine a world where shelters and pounds didn't exist. Except only to temporarily hold a lost dog or cat until their owners were found via their microchip. Imagine if they never lost their chip, or we found a way to easily, non-invasively link their DNA or paw print to their identity (like a fingerprint), and so someone at all times of their life would be responsible for them. Imagine if said person was held accountable if they didn't remain responsible for them.
Imagine if the only companion animals that existed were bred by reputable breeders who made boomerang contracts - a contract where, if the owner can't have them anymore, such as going into a retirement home or developing a chronic illness. Or, if the owner simply changed their mind because they turned out to be a dickhead and we couldn't pre-empt that, then we as the breeders take the animal back and rehome it that way.
Imagine if all rental properties allowed animals so that if your lease ends, you just move on in to the next property and continue life with your pet. You could pay for damage if there is any. Everything is fixable or replaceable. That's the main reason landlords don't want pets in their properties, right? Imagine if that was turned around.
Imagine if people cared about their cats as much as they did dogs. Imagine if cats were registered like dogs, and they got the same fine for roaming as dogs do in some places. It's not everywhere, but some places, there's an impound fee if your dog was found roaming and the ranger picks it up and holds it for you whilst you come to retrieve them. Imagine if the same culture existed with responsible cat ownership, as it exists with responsible dog ownership.
Imagine if people never bought an animal as a surprise gift for a birthday. Imagine if people were educated first, and had to go through a vetting process to be eligible for another living being. Imagine if people's homes were screened first, to see if they had appropriate conditions. It could be a minefield, but just imagine.
Imagine for a moment, if, right this second, every single animal in every developed country sitting in a pound or shelter was adopted out, and we started at zero again.
And then imagine if going forward, the only people allowed to breed and provide companion or working animals, rigorously health tested and vetted their owners. And they were ultimately responsible for that animal for it's entire lifetime if the owner couldn't have it all the way through. And if both the owner and the breeder couldn't be responsible for the animal (say they both died) then someone else close to them takes on that role, and has been decided long before that tragedy happens.
Imagine if the breeders who deliberately inbreed for show, working lines or otherwise, had to follow a standard, and those standards were checked and reinforced, so that a minimum coefficiency of inbreeding and genetic diversity could be maintained. Imagine if every possible health test was done without causing the animal stress. Imagine if it was truly about breed preservation. Imagine if all the existing purebred health and genetic problems out there were bred out and the positive health traits were enhanced (whimsical, I know).
Imagine if every breeder had to align with a code of practice, and if they didn't, then there were repercussions.
Imagine if that code of practice kept evolving over time to match the needs of the animals, and as we, as humans, found mistakes and improved upon them.
Imagine if every animal produced to be a companion, working, breeding, or production animal - that could be a horse, dog, cat, cow, alpaca, rabbit, ferret, mouse, chicken - literally any animal you can think of - is either desexed before leaving for a pet home, or has to abide by strict regulations if staying entire. And imagine if that was enforced.
Imagine if the people that used to work in the shelters and pounds didn't have much to do anymore because the dumped and abandoned animals didn't exist, and they now focused their work on making sure reputable breeders do their thing responsibly. Supporting them.
Imagine if there was a central database where health testing and pedigree could be recorded for all animals. Working, pet, or otherwise.
I'm sick of rescue people roasting breeders saying "we don't need more animals to be bred" or "for every animal produced by a breeder, you could have saved one in the pound".
No. We don't need more animals to be BACKYARD BRED.
We DO need more education.
People are always going to want pet and working animals to live alongside us. This is part of our life, our culture, our society. That will never change. But we can work to breed well. To educate. To find ways around just dumping an animal. To health test. To find patterns of disease and exclude it from breeding programs. To own it. To record it. To learn from it. To preserve and produce healthy, well bred animals for generations to come.
We are working against years of backyard breeding. Hundreds of thousands of stray, lost or abandoned animals thanks to irresponsible owners and irresponsible breeders. It literally is pushing shit uphill.
Yes, it is honourable to rescue. But imagine if we didn't have to anymore?