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Digory
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Uber    0

Considering this is a “feature” for many pet sites, this might be a heated topic, but here goes:

What are your thoughts on breeding animals for profit/appearances? This topic is used to discuss both real world breeding and breeding in pet games.

Looking now to games (such as pet games) which I’ve always enjoyed in my youth, I find it difficult sometimes understanding why breeding is such a heavy “feature.” Which in my mind comes down to this:

- Animals/pets are bred to have certain appearances. Animals with unique or rare appearances are generally preferred and “worth more.”

- Appearances tend to have more worth than personality or skills.

- Pets/animals are regularly bred by choice of the user, not naturally breeding at the choice of the pet/animal (aka forced).

- Pure breeds are often “worth more” than mixed breed or “base colours.”

- Similarily coloured/painted/alternated pets tend to have more worth. Example “winged cat” is better than “base model orange cat.”

How is this not abusing the animal/pets? I feel like I no longer understand nor have respect for this practice.

 

Lets discuss.

PS, although I have strong opinions for this, I’m not here for any fights. I genuinely would love to hear opinions (conflicting to mine or not) of others on this topic.

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Unknown
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Angel    6

Don't mix real life and games. Even a 2 y.o. child understands the difference. You can go very, very far this way. Why stop on animals? Controlling a human character is pure slavery. Making your characters endure damage and deaths for your fun is severe and cynical torturing. And players who like realistic games with realistic wounds are sadistic slavers abusing all the humankind.Oh, and I forgot games where you breed humans and destroy planets... 

You may design your game to promote awareness about real life pets with all the challenges that RL pet breeders face, and this is a good cause. But that would be a game for a very strict niche and with low profits. Maybe without profits at all. No one is forced to follow this path and turn their game into something like that. I'd say even more. Unrealistic breeding games are useful from the purest and highest moral point that you can think of. A lot of people are awful pet owners, and retargeting them to a fun activity with virtual pets instead of letting them get and breed RL pets to scratch that itch is a good cause as well.

Concerning the unrelated point about why breeding is that popular. Because this is just simple collecting. It utilizes an instinct which is very strong in a lot of us. Pet game community mostly consists of people who have it prevail over other basic desires commonly utilized in gaming (like winning a competition, solving a problem and exploring unknown). Nicely designed breeding involves indulging those other desires as well. Players who like to roleplay their characters or compete with them are a minority, and the majority just loves collecting the skins. What's more, pet game devs know this and design their games to make skin collecting the central (and often the only) goal in their game.

I'd suggest reading a basic psychology course, and then a few specialized articles on gaming psychology because both your questions come from there. I'm not sure if you're going to develop a pet game or maybe even already work on yours, but if yes, you'll face a ton of far more complex and not so obvious psychology related questions. You need to know how and why your players think, especially if you want to change their way of thinking.

Edited by Angel
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Demi
LV 3
Anoua    50

It's not abusing the pet/animal for a couple reason. The number one reason in relation to games is because it's not real. There is no pet/animal involved at all. A lot of pet games don't even have much in the way of AI, so other than your own imagination there isn't anything that even makes the creature feel alive either. So if you imagine being forced or whatever that isn't the usual lore for games but a personal view being imposed. 

I personally don't see real life breeding for specific traits abusive either*. It's not usually forced (artificial insemination being another topic I am not talking about), but instead just a natural process of being introduced when the female is in heat.

* This is assuming the traits are not detrimental to the animal being bred and the animals are well taken care of. Obviously this isn't always the case; breeding live animals definitely CAN be done abusively. 

I do think animals should be treated with kindness, but I don't believe animals and humans are the same level. But believe it is right for humans to be over animals to own them and use them for things (such as companionship, herding ship, riding, etc... but not for abuse) as I believe this is the natural created order designed by God. I understand others see this differently, and if your world view is we are all the same level or whatever, you may not be able to accept human ownership over animals at all, and so in that case I would imagine any type of selective breeding would be seen as wrong. But that isn't really my world view so I don't have a problem with it. 

As for breeding for a profit in real life I don't have a specific problem against it, but I think it can often be hard to do so and still treat animals as they should be. And in games breeding for profit I have no problem with it since it's a game and there are no actual animals involved.

As for why I enjoy breeding in games; I like to see the outcomes. What pretty colors can I get, see my pets lineage continue on, collecting more pets etc... 

I think personally doesn't count for as much in games generally, because in most games personality literally doesn't mean anything. In games where it does I like to see how the personalities are affected across generations too and just see how things pass on. 

In my head I am not over breeding my animals, starving them or trying to cause pain, nor am I 'forcing' them to have babies in a way that would be abusive, so it doesn't bother me. Most games I play have a cool down between breeding anyway, so feels like there is time to rest up. In real life I also see real life babies, animal and human, as blessings in general, so tend to have a more is merrier approach and I think that probably transfers to how I play games and use breeding features. 

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atomicdrawls    24

@Anoua

Personally I don't agree with your view that humans are above animals, that has a lot to do with my personal beliefs obviously (Agnostic leaning toward Atheist here). I can respect that we think differently, but I believe there's a fundamental lack of compassion in that sort of view, and I personally think that view contributes to a lot of problems with animals facing extinction or animals facing horrific abuse due to people who think that animals are here on earth for their own purposes. 

I'm not against pet ownership as I believe these sort of relationships between domesticated animals and humans were formed naturally and to the benefit of the species on a whole. It's when people start acting like animals are lesser than themselves that I see problems in the relationships. I'm against breeding for profit, especially because on the whole most forced breeding only results in either inbreeding due to lack of viable contributers to the gene-pool or health problems resulting from the specific mutations that are totes as breed standards. Back and hip problems in German Shepard's due to the long, low back that is considered a desirable trait in the breed, or breathing problems due to the skull malformations in breeds like pugs and boxers, that sort of thing. Even responsible breeders face these problems, and in order to stick to breed standards deliberately encourage these damaging traits in animals. Personally I believe it's our responsibility as human beings to care for animals as if they were our equals, if not on an intellectual level (though the great apes, dolphins and elephants genuinely give me pause the more we learn about their ability to perceive the world) then on a level where we can acknowledge that we are all living breathing creatures that inhabit the same planet. We as humans use more than our fair share of resources, we destroy our planet and the habitats of our fellow creatures without so much as a backwards glance and that sort of negligence and disregard for life that doesn't immediately inhabit our own personal sphere offends me on a deeply personal level.

I suppose as far a breeding goes I would only be for it if it was for the purpose of breeding out harmful traits, like snub noses or hip dysplasia. If it was for the benefit of the animal, I could possibly be persuaded to not be against it. Early breeding was for the purpose of getting animals that better suited specific tasks, like hunting dogs with long legs for running and keeping up with horses, or sheep with softer wool to make it easier to turn into textiles, that sort of thing I am less against. However breeding that is done for the purpose of breeding an animal that fits a standard purely for aesthetics is irresponsible and generally harmful to the critter in question. Some of the worst offenders are fish breeders and reptile breeders. (Bubble eyed Goldfish and Scaleless snakes, anyone?)

Breeding on games obviously is different as the creatures affected aren't alive. That I don't mind. 

With respect to your views, I realize we may not agree completely about the topic. I'm just giving my own opinions. Thanks for reading the convoluted mess that passes for thoughts in my brain.

Edited by atomicdrawls
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If you're so passionate about this it would be interesting to try a game where you only are breeding to alleviate negative side effects/birth defects/genetic issues and see how well that goes over with people.

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Unknown
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KingofCrows    13

I've only skimmed over all of this but breeding is something which I'm passionate about.

Offline, real breeding is not how you describe it. There are many decisions that a breeder must make such as how often an animal is bred, at what age babies are weaned and rehomed, which animals are sent to pet homes with spay/neuter contracts, if you even have spay/neuter contracts, which get show contracts, what is included in the contract, what's the health guarantee, which stay, what the animals are fed, how they are housed, how the offspring are socialized, when adults are retired from breeding, how they feel about crossbreeding, controversial topics (declawing, early spay/neuter, etc), and so on. Bad breeders are those who completely disregard the animal's welfare (and that of potential owners). They're in it for profit, and the only way to profit from breeding is by cutting corners in regards to the care for the animal. I have never, ever met a decent breeder who is in it for profit. But there are good breeders, and what they do is good for the animals. These are the folks who breed because they love that breed/animal, and want to share the joy it brings them with others, and because they want to maintain the breed's health, appearance, temperament, and other unique features. Or they're in it for people as much as animals, and may not focus on a registered breed but rather on the health/temperament as a whole (species-wise), and are trying to make an animal that not only thrives with people, but that adds a lot to someone's life.

Most good breeders do background checks, thoroughly interview potential homes, and continue to support the owners who end up with their animal(s) for that animal's whole life. They care about the animal in a genuine way, and their biggest concern is that animal's welfare. They wait for their animals to be healthy, fit, and ready for breeding so there really is no "forcing" going on, the animals are usually more than happy to get to it lmao. Good breeders are not abusive. They are not the creators of domesticated species, but it is them who are responsible for the positive continuation of the domesticated species.

Bad breeders are abusive. They overbreed animals which results in very poor health for the females (loss of nutrients, reproductive-organ cancers, decline of condition), and rarely put thought into the genetics of their lines, resulting in offspring with congenetive defects and diseases. They do not bother to vet potential owners and likely do not care if the animal ends up in an abusive situation or being abandoned.  

 

When it comes to games it's really important to realize that games do not have the same consequences as real life. I like petsites because of the pretty artwork, and engaging gameplay. Genetics are great, I love experimenting with genetics and with games I can do these things in a way that does not impact a real, feeling animal. You can also use games to raise awareness about issues related to the animal industry. It's not all that difficult to do, and it can actually help real animals by engaging people in these problems. Most folks in games are competitive, they want their virtual pets to be good at fighting/competing/whatever, and when something negatively impacts performance then it discourages pursuing that path. Games can allow you to show people the consequences without putting a live animal at risk. That's a good thing, and I like to promote that kind of learning.

 

Like I said I just skimmed, and my response is majorly directed at offline/real-life breeding, only the last paragraph is directly related to gaming.

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Unknown
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Hare    90

I have strong opinions but am always interested in hearing what others think. I've been involved in animal welfare and husbandry for many years and have entertained the possibility that breeding is abusive with deep concern despite the fact that I breed rabbits IRL for show. I would stop if I suspected there there was abuse involved, but with all the arguments I've looked into, research, debates, and experiences, I strongly support ethical breeding.

When people benefit, so do animals. We love to be charitable and help animals, but symbiotic relationships creates an even more enriched life for many people and animals. Less people are bit or troubled by a frustrated animal who doesn't fit their lifestyle, working dogs have greater opportunities for homes where they won't get bored, and many other animals don't have to tough it out in the wild.

Living in the wild is no Bambi-style Disney movie. Most animals don't survive past their first year. They're subjected to torturous deaths and disease. I'll never understand why some groups like PETA think that this is the ideal life for them. The more animals who have caring homes, the better. Most know PETA for killing animals so they can be 'free,' but what a lot of people don't know is that PETA is affiliated with a lot of  smaller, less overtly extreme groups like the Humane Society of the United States, which uses less than 1% of its donations to find homes for animals and sends a lot of its donations PETA's way. 

There is an animal rights philosophy (see Peter Singer's book 'Animal Liberation'—basically PETA's Bible) that PETA and these other groups follow. It preaches that animals should have NO involvement with humans. No service animals, no pets, and no conservation. Ideally, the human race ought to go extinct because we are bad for the Earth. They have been pushing these ideas into the minds of the general public, their main focus is legislation and propoganda. They spread whatever misconceptions it takes, many of them being about breeders.

Animal rights groups love to target breeders. It creates a villain, good for marketing and pushing a cause, and since breeders actually don't make much or any money (most of them lose money), they can't always fight back.

They use shock videos to get their lies out to the public, one of which is that angora rabbits have the wool brutally torn out of them. This has caused angora wool to be taken off the market even though angora rabbits are some of the most well cared for. They have to be or they simply don't produce wool. The shock videos they had from China were an animal cruelty case, but not enough people knew about angora rabbits, so it turned into all an angora rabbits are tortured and anyone who raises them for wool is evil deal.

There are definitely bad breeders out there, but far fewer than there are good ones, and there will be a whole lot more bad breeders and unwanted animals if all breeding is condemned. Here's why.

1) People would be getting animals with unexpected traits. A lot of people don't mind surprises and mix breeds, but the people who go to breeders are usually looking for specific traits to suit their lifestyle and needs. 

2) Criminals breeding animals illegally to meet demand left behind after good breeders are banned will result in animals who are poorly bred, which has a detrimental effect on health and behavior because criminals don't care. Again, more animals being abandoned (health/behavioral issues are one of the leading causes of abandonment).

3) A lot of breeders do rescues. Some rescue more animals than they pet out.

As for purebred animals, inbreeding isn't necessary to maintain a breed. The American Rabbit Breeder's Association allows crossbreeding and it has been wonderful for the rabbits and breeders alike. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck as far as their rules are concerned. People have entered crossbreeds into shows and won (though this usually requires moe generations). It's a matter of experience and knowing genetics.

A problem I have is when a breed is designed to be deformed, though. In rabbits, Belgian Hares are supposed to have thin ankles so they look like elegant hares. The breed has joint problems in their ankles as a result. There are breeders who have noticed this though and are working to fix it, which is relatively simple and easy.

As for 'forced' breeding, idk about that. Mr. Fluffbucket over here will breed to a pinecone if it's vaguely lady shaped. Animals don't take breeding seriously like people do. I assume in games when the player 'breeds,' that just means they put the animals together in the same room. 

To support animal welfare, I think it's better for animals to go after specific problems in the industry/hobby rather than throwing baby out with the bath water.

Edited by Hare
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Onyx    20

Well I was going to comment but Hare basically took the words out of my mouth.  I basically second everything she says.  Also, virtual pet games are not reality.  It's pretty obvious that you can't breed a real animal once every 4 days and have it give birth in 24 hours and keep doing that for years on end with no ill effects.  So no, I don't think that virtual pet sites have any kind of bad effect on animal breeding in the real world.  I think that people pushing "adopt don't shop" agendas do a lot more to harm animals.  This basically supports irresponsible people who just let their dogs mate with any other dogs with no regard for health or temperament, and demonizes people who are breeding responsibly.  Terms like "forced breeding" smack of radical animal rights that don't relate to reality in most cases.  It's anthropomorphism and doesn't reflect the actual reality of animal breeding.  Have you ever tried to breed a female rabbit with a buck she doesn't want to breed with?  Good luck with that.  And cows don't run around moaning about how they've been violated after they receive artificial insemination.

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