Right now we're hearing lots about the current cost of living crisis, but this
has the worrying potential to lead to another crisis; one that we have been
seeing much more of since lockdown...an increase in the number of people
breeding from their pets.
As pet ownership increased during lockdown, with people suddenly spending more time at home, more and more people chose to breed their animals, and we were seeing dogs, cats, rabbits etc changing hands for increasingly astronomic prices.
This unregulated breeding inevitably led to poorly bred, unsocialised animals, and uncontrolled litters. Two years on from the pandemic, rescue centres like ours continue to pick up the pieces.
But knowing how much people have been willing to pay for animals in recent years, those now worried about financial hardship in the current climate, may be considering breeding from their pet as a way of making money...and we'd like to share reasons why this not only isn't the answer, but could also end up leaving breeders significantly out-of-pocket.
Veterinary costs :-
Breeding from your pet can actually land you with huge vet
bills if Mum becomes poorly, has a difficult birth or suffers conditions like
mastitis when feeding her babies. Plus newborn animals are incredibly vulnerable
to illness and disease, so if the litter falls ill, the costs of medical
treatment can run into hundreds of pounds.
If you have newborn animals they MUST be kept warm; kittens,
puppies and rabbits can lose body heat very quickly, which can be fatal. So
while caring for a litter, your home would need to be kept far warmer than
would ordinarily be necessary. With the huge rises in energy prices, this could
land you with a much bigger bill than you can afford.
Supply and demand :-
If you breed from your pets, is there any guarantee that
people will actually want to buy their offspring? We're seeing a huge downturn
nationally in the numbers of people looking to adopt animals, the number one
concern being fears around how much animal ownership may cost. If people aren't
rescuing for this reason, when vaccinations, microchipping, flea and worm
treatments, and neutering are all covered by the adoption fee, will they really
be willing to spend £100s or even £1000s to purchase an animal in the first place,
then having to face all the costs involved in owning them for what can be a 20-year commitment?
By breeding, you're just adding to the problem: -
2022 saw 126 kittens come
into our rescue centre, a 21% increase on the previous year. So far in the first
month of 2023 we've had 11 kittens in, which compares to just 1 in January
2022. And this has been the case across rescue centres countrywide, so the huge
increase in these abandoned and unwanted kittens has had a huge impact upon our
ability to take in older cats needing our help.
So please don't see breeding from your pet, even "just" once, as a way of making a quick buck. Not only do you put your animal at risk of illness, or even death, through the complications of giving birth, you risk ending up with large bills for food, vet treatment and heating, and ending up as many as twelve young animals who nobody wants to buy.
Instead, do the responsible thing - get your animals neutered (if you are struggling with the cost of this, please contact your local rescue centre) and, if you're ready to take on the commitment of owning an animal, please choose to #adoptdontshop