Animal welfarist position: That it is morally acceptable for humans to use non-human animals, provided that adverse effects on animal welfare are minimized as far as possible, short of not using the animals at all.
How is a breeding program not justifiable under that standard? AR cares about the nature of the human-pet relationship. AW just cares how the pets are treated. Or at least that's my understanding of it so far.
I still think that if AR individuals were seriously concerned with the long-term cessation of animal breeding they would simply not own animals, rescued or not. They are just as guilty for perpetuating the parasitic human-pet relationship as breeders or any other pet owner is. I think if an individual really thinks the keeping of domesticated animals is wrong, they shouldn't own them. Period. It all depends on whether your goals are to save individual animals in the short-term, or liberate species in the long-term. These two goals are inconsistent to me.
Obviously, I don't think owning pets or domestication is wrong, or I wouldn't own them.
The problem with that is that most AR people are animal lovers and do
own pets, which puts a kink in the whole "we shouldn't subjugate other species" argument.
Our shelter has a fantastic record of animal placement. Sure, every so often an animal is returned, but it's very rare. There are all kinds of reasons people give up animals, not just for behavior issues at all. It's most often money, job loss, having to relocate, losing the home etc.
Do you think any reason to give up an animal to a shelter is justifiable? (This really doesn't have anything to do with the topic of the thread, so pardon the hijack, I'm just curious as to the opinion of another shelter-worker. Many of the reasons people gave for surrendering their dogs and cats were infuriating to me.)
In any case, I don't support the breeding of dogs in any capacity. When you can go on Craigslist and get a free puppy from one of three litters, there really is no need for it.
But lots of responsible breeders will require a spay/neuter contract on any animals they sell out. Of course, you can't do this with snakes, but the animal shelters are not exactly overrun with them...