Purebred Animals: What Is Their Future?
The Tree of Good and Evil
Ever since the garden of Eden when the first man and woman chose to decide for themselves what is good and what is bad they have brought problems on themselves and the animal world.
After thousands, perhaps millions of years preparing a world of diversity, in the year 4026 B.C.E the master artist, our creator designed the first father of humanity. This genetically prefect, but slightly lower, life form was given his first work assignment. It was to look after the sea creatures, flying creatures, domestic animals, and everything that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:26
Man, having the animals in subjection, placed upon him a stewardship for which he would always be accountable. Luke 12:48¹
In the laws given to Isreal they were forbidden to crossbreed different species. Leviticus 19:19
Dangerous animals were to be controlled or destroyed.
Solomon’s court had four thousand stables and 12,000 horses. No doubt many were of fine breeding as they were given to him as valuable gifts. 2 Chronicles 9:24-25
The first lesson in Genetics did not come in expensive book form but was given to Jacob in a vision 3600 years before the Austrian Monk, Gregor Mendel ‘discovered’ genetics in 1866. Jacob was shown the breeding method to produce dark colored sheep and speckled and spotty goats in 1760 BCE Genesis 31: 10-12²
So how are we doing in our care and understanding of the animal world?
To investigate lets have a look into the world of purebred animals.
Why Make It Pure?
Man, made in God’s image, wants to create and improve and experiment. As related to the animal world that means a horse that goes faster, a hen that produces more eggs, dogs and cats with new ‘looks’ or working skills, cows that produce more milk, sheep with specific types of wool, etc.
The better the pedigree (family line) the more valuable the specimen.
A world record price for an untested yearling colt was set in 1985 when Seattle Dancer sold at auction in Lexington, Kentucky for the record price of $13.1 million. Clearly, this untrained, untried yearling commanded this record sale price based on its pedigree and the perception among horsemen that genetics is important.³
An even higher price was paid in May 2008 when Three Chimneys Farm bought the winning thoroughbred named Big Brown for $50 million⁴.
A racing pigeon called “Invincible Spirit” was bought by Louella Pigeon World in 1992 for $132,000.⁵
Breeders, of the reputable kind, are the human artists and designers of the animal world.
As custodians entrusted with this wonderful world of diversity and beauty we have a responsibility to these creations. Like all works of art there are likes and dislikes. What one thinks ugly another thinks is beautiful.
Even God must have had a sense of humor to create the vampire bat.
Or the Toucan that has to toss its food in the air in order to eat.
Humans have 23, horses have 32 and dogs have 39
When mated with the opposite sex this number of chromosomes doubles. The higher the number of chromosomes the more variables is possible. There is a 50-50 chance of the progeny inheriting the traits of either parent making one dominant and one recessive. The recessive may hide behind the dominant and show up in later generations. Or two recessives may decide to take over the dominant making a mutation. What is not yet known is how many genes exist.
With the recent advent of ipods and flash drives we can now understand how an incredible amount of information can be contained in a very small space. That is how the genes relate to the chromosomes. Like thousand of books of information in a tiny space of a cell too small to be seen without a microscope. A rough estimate has been made that there are between 100,000 or as few of 30,000 genes in dogs.
The combination of genes is what makes the final product. The right combinations of genes, called a positive nick, are what all breeders are hoping for. Breeders use close, line, cross and inbreeding to make it happen. It’s like working the genes into a sequence of combinations or eliminations. Swiss Cytologist Hans Raber said “inbreeding is like a razor in the hands of a monkey.”⁶ What he meant was inbreeding, by which all new breeds are originally formed, is a valuable but dangerous instrument. Since 2003 and the mapping (blueprints) of the human genome (living organism), Now we understand much more how we are put together on the inside. (Genotype)
We have genetic testing and markers now to tell us on which chromosome to look for predispositions to certain diseases in both the human and animal world. ⁷
What is Written in the Genes
Ps. 139:16 says all our parts are down in writing.
What is written and how? Genes act like those unyielding restaurants. When you order a burger you must take the fries even if you don’t what them…’that is the combo, sir.’
When William Ross discovered a barn cat in Scotland with folded ears he wanted other to see and enjoy this new ‘look’. He contacted a London geneticist and began to develop the beautiful breed now known and loved as the Scottish Fold. Only later was it discovered that if two cats with folded ears were mated the gene causing the fold also carried congenital osteodystrophy resulting in deformities of the bones.
The remedy is to outcross by mating Scottish Folds with other kinds of cats (often British and American shorthairs) that have straight ears.⁸ The beautiful, spotted, Dalmatian has an unfortunate genetic combo. The same gene that carries the spotting also produces abnormal uric acid metabolism causing stone formation. This has been much more difficult to correct and maintain the black spots.⁶
Have you seen hairless dogs and cats? The lack of hair is caused by a duplication of seven letters on the DNA in the gene FOXI3 from proteins located in chromosome 17.
This protein helps in correct production of the ectoderm. The mutation was caused when 2 amino acids changed in the FOXI3 gene. The result was autonomic ectodermic dysplasia.
This defect is inherent not only in dogs, but also in humans. The disease is characterized by little hair, dental and skin problems. There are also defects on nails and sweat glands.
By breeding a hairless dog we have, without meaning too, identified on which chromosome this defect is located.⁹
PERRO SIN PELO DEL PERU, GRANDE
Type vs. Health
The rule is ‘form follows function’ which means that, when choosing animals for breeding, the animal’s ability to function should always to be considered first ahead of its looks (phenotype). In Europe much of the ‘cosmetic’ nuisances like tail cutting and ear cropping in dogs and declawing cats have been outlawed. Still there are major concerns….…. In 2007 when the BBC refused to televise the largest Dog Show on Earth, Crufts, The Daily Mail featured a photo of how ‘show dog’ standards have become extreme.¹⁰
“Pedigree Dogs Exposed” made its debut in UK Aug.19.2008 and in USA Dec.10 2009 in typical media fashion.¹¹
Hellmuth Wachtel, Animal breeding expert and consultant for the Austrian Kennel club, states:
“Judges forgot that any trait has a favourable optimum degree of expression that should not exceed. The standard was not
to blame, it was the over-interpretation and particularly the wrong idea, if a trait is good, more of it must be better. Originally there were no difficulties as long as the traits were not (exaggerated.)
It can be seen comparing old and new photos of the same breed.”¹²
The March 1995 draft of the “European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals” potentially bans abnormal or defective breeds and sets down, in legal terms, definitions of abnormal and defective.¹³
Diversity: Population Genetics and The Gene Pool
Some breeds suffer because of lack of diversity. There are not enough unrelated animals of the same species to find genetically sound mates.
This is the reason why our generation may see the end of the Giant Panda, Cheetah and others. The ‘population’ is too small to produce a large enough ‘gene pool’.
With other species they are simply absorbed like the Grey Wolf and the Scottish Wildcat that will mate with domestic dogs and cats causing hybridisation as domestic genes take over.¹⁴
So, you may be thinking, how do animals in the wild stay genetically healthy?
A large population is partly the answer.
Do you believe in ‘opposites attract?
The latest study of mandrill monkeys (2009) revealed that the female may use scent to determine which male is genetically compatible.
Or perhaps the sperm from the weaker genetic combinations die early.¹⁵
Or consider: THE RAMPANT RABBIT. Dr. Susan Thorpe-Vargas explains in her Genetics and Breeding Strategies: Essays for the Dog Breeder
“Wild rabbits arrived in Australia in 1859, when Thomas Austin released 24 animals he had brought from England for sport hunting. Why didn’t the rabbit inbreed itself to death? “Few if any diseases and parasites came with them. The breeding was as random as possible. The original rabbits had lots and lots of offspring, who also bred, well, like rabbits. ….randomly, so the founder’s alleles (genetic code) were comparatively evenly distributed during the first explosive phase of population growth… On the other hand, certain dog breeds were intensively selectively bred right from the first generation and for criteria that had nothing to do with survival: In the Samoyed it was all-white coats, black lip lines and prick ears.”⁶
Designer dogs and Lemon Laws
Some think the answer is to mix the breeds together. This may stop some of the extremes in phenotype and if only genetically sound animals are used that may be ok.
However, South Australian Animal Welfare League spokeswoman Donna Sullivan said its shelter receives designer-dog disasters daily, including puppies with genetic defects and others that had been used excessively for breeding.
The fad varieties, which include cross-breeds such as Labradoodles, Cavoodles and Pugaliers, are too often being bred with genetic faults, experts say.
And a surge in demand for designer dogs has resulted in production-line breeding, causing health problems.
The Animal Welfare League and South Australian Canine Association have called for regulations on cross-breeding to stamp out the health problems.¹⁶
Kitten and Puppy Lemon Laws
Did you know that in at least 16 states in the United States if a kitten or puppy is bought from a breeder you are protected by law against disease?
“The first law passed in 1966 was the Animal Welfare Act, which is a federal law regulating commercial breeding of dogs and cats.
Although the puppy lemon law is not in force in all states, there is certain recourse available to those who have purchased a “defective” animal.
Most states have instituted this law for professional breeders. People who just breed as a hobby are not covered under these laws, although some states do include them.”¹⁷
Genetic tests are anonymous. This leaves it up to the honest breeder to reveal the results.
So let’s say we have 100 honest breeders
and we simply toss out all the genetically defective animals. Would that solve the problem? Not according to Scientists from the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and the University of Liverpool.
For Example in 2008 they found the genetic marker to test for the genetic defect Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) in dogs. This defect causes detachment of the lens of the eye leading to early blindness. The tests classified the dogs in 3 catagories;
1. Clear 2. Carrier or 3.Genetically affected. They found the frequency of the PLL mutation extremely high in certain breeds. Therefore allowing only Clear dogs to breed could have a devastating effect on breed diversity and substantially increase the likelihood of new inherited diseases emerging. They strongly advise breeders to consider all their dogs for breeding, regardless of their PLL genotype. Genetically Affected and Carrier dogs can be bred with the dogs classified as Clear.
Hopefully allowing the PLL mutation to be slowly eliminated from the population without severely reducing the genetic diversity of breeds at risk. ¹⁸
Genetic tests are a valuable tool for the future of purebred animals. True, they are expensive but not out of reach for professional breeders. In Sarah Hartwells recent work:PROS AND CONS OF INBREEDING she states“It may, therefore, be considered that all purebred animals will ultimately become unviable through inbreeding and that breeders must work carefully to maintain type while slowing down the detrimental effects of selective breeding.”¹⁴
The Down Side of Purebred
Like all good things unscrupulous people can make it bad. Puppy Mills breed dogs only for monetary return. Animal Shelters house hundreds of stray and unwanted animals. Pedigree dairy cows are sometimes aborted for peek production and have been bred to produce milk far in excess of what is natural. This can cause ‘milk fever,’ which, if untreated, can be fatal within 24 hours of calving.
Some animal right extremists think the word ‘breeder’ is a dirty word and use their influence to pass laws for the neuter and spaying of all cats and dogs.¹⁹ Some even want a ‘no pets’ policy. They believe animals are equal to humans.* (see footnote)²⁰ A competitive spirit can creep into any sport causing damage to both animals and competitors.
Gambling, racing and fighting, and mass production have also caused much suffering among the purebred animal world. Those with the ‘winning is everything’ attitude make the love of the animal and sportsmanship come second to greedy gain and fame.
* Animal Rights Activists “To the animal rightist, humans aren’t special. Animals have the same rights as humans. Animals have the right to not be eaten or manipulated (breeding). To use the well know quote of PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk, “ ‘Animal liberationists do not separate out the human animal, so there is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all mammals.’.” To believe that humans are at the head of a hierarchy is labelled speciesism, a moral equivalent to racism.”
The Christian View
Everything in this temporary system ruled by Satan and his demons including the animal world has been exploited and abused. True Christians worship the God that made laws of tenderness and sympathy for animals.
What man would have ever made a law…
- not to boil a kid goat in its mother’s milk
- not to muzzle a bull when it is working
- not put two types of animals together of different strengths. Deuteronomy 22.10
When God decreed destruction by water most of the work for Noah and his family was for the preservation of animals.
And think about all the prophecies of the future on paradise earth involving the animals. Isa. 9: 6-11.
Jehovah truly loves his creations and so do those that love him.
The same things that prevent peace and security for humans are destroying the animal world namely greed, dishonesty, and immorality. For any long term solution to genetic or other problems all the scientists agree on one point… people must work together.
Since animals were not created to live forever there will always be some ‘genetic’ problems in old age. Still, reputable breeders should be working against unhealthy extremes, uncomfortable excesses, and a bad gene pool.
We need to have a balanced, loving, caring, view of the animal world as we are going to create and co habitat with them forever.
Written by Lynda M. Pratt
For AWAKE magazine
Submission: March, 2010
How a Registry Works
“The Making of a New Breed”
Breeders, fond of a new breed, get together and from a ‘parent club’. They draw up the specific characteristics that make the ‘standard’ or type; the shape of eyes, length of nose, height, color, etc. When all the offspring breed ‘true to type’ according to the standard then the parent club appeals to a Registry. The registry makes a ‘stud book’. The stud book is made up of the pedigrees to be registered as foundation stock for each breed. The Stud Book is said to be open if it is accepting foundation stock for a new breed. If it is not a new breed and the registry considers it has enough in the gene pool to give the breed diversity then the stud book is said to be closed and only those already registered can be used for breeding and issued certified pedigrees from that registry. The stud book could only be re-opened by petition from the parent club. There are many different Registration Clubs in all parts of the world for all different purebred animals. Some are only regional, or national. International clubs are those that are recognized by other countries and a Certified Export Pedigree can be issued for the animal to be registered as an ‘import’ in another country. ²¹
- IT p.110-112 Vol. 1
- IT p.1244 Vol.1
- http://genome.cshlp.org/content/8/6/569.full -( Seattle Dancer)
- 4 . http://triple-crown-racing.suite101.com/article.cfm/three_chimneys_gets_big_brown
- http://www.fbipigeons.com/PIGEON%20FACTS.htm permission granted to use photo..letter attached
- Genetics and Breeding Strategies: Essays For the Dog Breeder by Dr. Susan Thorpe Vargas.
Permission granted to use quotes. Complete work on CD.
- The Human Genome Project (HGP) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purebred#Purebred_dogs
- Hellmuth Wachtel, Animal breeding expert and consultant for the Austrian Kennel club, permission to use quote granted..letter attached
- PROS AND CONS OF INBREEDING permission granted to use quotes..letter attached Copyright 1996-2008 Sarah Hartwell
- http://www.peta.org/feat/hbo_i_am_an_animal/index.asp* To the animal rightist, humans aren’t special. Animals have the same rights as humans. But animals have the right to not be eaten or manipulated (breeding). To use the well know quote of PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk, ” Animal liberationists do not separate out the human animal, so there is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all mammals.” To believe that humans are at the head of a hierarchy is labelled speciesism, a moral equivalent to racism.
Note: Thoroughbred Horses..Quote from Wikepedia Selective breeding
One argument for the health issues involving Thoroughbreds suggests that inbreeding is the culprit. It has also been suggested that capability for speed is enhanced in an already swift animal by raising muscle mass, a form of selective breeding that has created animals designed to win horse races. Thus, according to one theory, the modern Thoroughbred travels faster than its skeletal structure can support. Veterinarian Robert Miller states that “We have selectively bred for speeds that the anatomy of the horse cannot always cope with.”
Poor breeding may be encouraged by the fact that many horses are sent to the breeding shed following an injury. If the injury is linked to a conformational fault, the fault is likely to be passed to the next generation. Additionally, some breeders will have a veterinarian perform straightening procedures on a horse with crooked legs. This can help increase the horse’s price at a sale and perhaps help the horse have a sounder racing career, but the genes for poor legs will still be passed on.
121· ^ Kluger “Bred for Speed…Built for Trouble” Time Magazine
122· ^ Finley “Sadly, No Way to Stop Deaths” New York Daily News