A recent discussion, has highlighted that the industry standard for breeders of some species, knowingly create more animals then can be placed in homes. As best I can tell there are only two avenues for disposal of health animals that can not placed. Kill or sell for medical testing.

I am in no-way addressing the ethics of either of these methods, only suggesting that we modify the description of "in scope" for this site on "Pets" to exclude programs that breed animals in excess of those that can be placed in homes as normal practice.

  • Could you please clarify this? I'm not sure I understand. It sounds like you're saying breeders may allow x number of pets, knowing that there are only y number of homes available for that type of pet, and that if x > y, then questions from breeders of that specific type of pet should be disallowed. Is this what you're saying?
    – Beofett
    Dec 9 '13 at 16:41
  • I may not be saying clearly, but it is my belief that questions or answers where a healthy animal is killed or commercialized (i.e. testing) are not appropriate for this site. A site where a pet owner finds an answers that suggests the killing of a healthy animal is acceptable practice is not going to be a site they return to. Dec 9 '13 at 17:06
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    Where did you get the idea that those animals are sold for animal testing? Scientific standards require animals be bred under very specific conditions - ie, breeders who specialize in breeding for animal testing.
    – Baarn
    Dec 9 '13 at 17:10
  • I searched 'show rabbit cull' (no quotes) and it seemed to be implied. Dec 9 '13 at 19:48

TL;DR answer: Being a breeder should not be automatic grounds for disallowing questions or answers. References to killing healthy animals will almost certainly detract from the quality of our content, and should be removed via edits and deletions. Questions specifically about killing healthy animals should not be considered on topic.

I've looked at the question you mentioned in chat, and I don't see anything in it that indicates that the rabbit in question might be killed or sold for medical testing. It looks like there was some comment discussion, and I'm guessing perhaps something was mentioned in comments that lead you to believe that those were possible outcomes?

If so, then I'm strongly in the camp of "No, we should not disallow questions from breeders simply because we believe they may not be treating 100% of the animals they breed with the love and respect pets deserve".

John Cavan hit the nail on the head: questions raised by breeders may have applicability to standard pet owners.

However, you are right that seeing content discussing deliberate killing of otherwise healthy animals is likely to be discouraging to visitors.

A unilateral ban on questions from breeders, even if only of a subset of breeders, is not the right solution to this.

Instead, I would suggest edits and/or comment cleanup as a solution for the majority of instances of this potential problem.

For example:

  • If a question indicates killing an animal as a kind of ultimatum (i.e. "If I can't resolve this, I'm going to have to put the animal to sleep"), then that portion of the question should be removed via edits (keep in mind this only pertains to questions about healthy animals). The potential fate of the animal if the question isn't resolved adds no value to the question, and may put off some people.

  • The only other scenario I could come up with would be a question asking specifically about ways of killing an animal. These can be legitimate questions, but to avoid unnecessary controversy, the questions should avoid mentioning that the reason for the euthanization is for commercial reasons, or other reasons unrelated to the animal's health and happiness. While this toes the line a bit close to censorship, I see no reason that the context is really necessary for these types of questions, and instead invites sidebar discussion and other undesirable noise. Edits should be made to maintain the relevant information, while removing any discussion of non-health-related motivations for euthanasia.

  • 4
    Yep, I agree with the more detailed response. The comment trail, in addition to question/answers, would also be subject to clean up if it's not really relevant.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 9 '13 at 21:38
  • 2
    So questions about euthanizing animals are out of scope? I like most of your answer but the truth is more healthy animals are killed than you realize. Forbidding this content from the site for "moral" reasons while allowing discussion of sexual practices seems to be a double standard as far as morality goes. What is the purpose of restricting the topic in this way?
    – user9
    Dec 10 '13 at 18:14
  • @JohnCavan, your agreement with this more detailed version, may be at odds with your answer on meta.pets.stackexchange.com/questions/641/… the answer by Beofett is more restrictive than what is developing on the other question. Dec 11 '13 at 15:50
  • @JamesJenkins - I don't know that this is true. This answer really only talks to the euthanasia situation and not to the overall question of what is on topic. Either way, yesterday's discussion wrt to the other question, along with thinking about it more (and reviewing the Area 51 proposal) help to really refine where my thinking is on the topic.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 11 '13 at 16:11
  • @JohnCavan to me it looks like community is leaning towards including more inclusion of commercial/show husbandry as in scope, which would include euthanasia. Dec 11 '13 at 16:16
  • @JamesJenkins - Euthanasia questions are not off topic, but inappropriate euthanasia questions/answers might be. That's a community standards issue, but I wouldn't support a blanket ban on the topic.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 11 '13 at 16:19
  • I am in disagreement with your second bullet point. Mostly because I think that the outright ban of the option is uncalled for. I will note that I included it as a worst case option for the letting the rabbit go free question. It is better to humanely euthanize a pet than to allow it to be tortured, terrorized, or allowed to go feral.
    – user9
    Dec 11 '13 at 16:56
  • 1
    Also sometimes it may be necessary to destroy an otherwise healthy animal. For instance an aggressive dog or cat with a history of unprovoked attacks.
    – user9
    Dec 11 '13 at 16:58

So, setting the morality of the activity aside for a moment, I don't think we should be excluding their questions. Issues raised by breeders may have applicability to standard pet owners and I think that's the real benchmark in my view. It needs to be pet applicable, regardless of whether or not I agree with their practice around husbandry.


Culling and Euthanasia are a part of pets. Restricting the questions is the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. Far more healthy pets are destroyed by humane societies and groups like the ASPCA and PITA than are by breeders. Typically when a breeder destroys their animal at least the remains are put to good use. When an organization does it the carcasses are generally disposed of and allowed to rot.

Restricting this topic is essentially denying people the ability to learn some important facts about the pets they love.

I would suggest that questions that are in general on topic, IE about pets not livestock, that are about culling or euthanasia should be on topic. I would say that the wording should be respectful, of both the readers and the animals. The answers should be factual rather than emotive or judgmental.

Questions of "Should I put my pet down?" should be off topic. We should not be trying to make that decision. But questions like "I have decided to put my pet down, what is the most humane and painless way?" should definitely be on topic.

  • I want to point people here where I suggested a policy that would have outlawed these types of questions... meta.pets.stackexchange.com/q/602/9 Stop being a hypocrit
    – user9
    Dec 10 '13 at 22:50
  • I agree. And wanted to voice it in comment as well as an upvote. Each case of question/answer about killing a healthy animals can very well be handled individually by community when such questions/answers are posted. Dec 11 '13 at 15:00

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