My post was written from the perspective of creating less of a headache for the dog owner. ... I'd rather refer people to buy from a breeder or a pet store than tell them to adopt and have them end up broken hearted.
Hmm. Wow. Well, Aludiana, I must admit that you make this perspective sound both compassionate and sensible, by putting such an emphasis on the experience of the people hoping to own a pet. I'm glad you responded to what I wrote because I don't actually think people who patronize pet stores or breeders are necessarily bad people or even necessarily uninformed; my parents went to breeders for pets in the past, and I've had several close friends who were breeders themselves.
From my personal perspective, though your points seem quite persuasive and thought-provoking, it comes down to this ... Many who choose to adopt do run the risk of having terribly negative experiences; as I mentioned, I personally adopted two dogs who were exposed to distemper, probably at the shelter I adopted them from, and those dogs died within weeks of being adopted, despite receiving all the proper veterinary care available after they were adopted. Those were horrible experiences for me and my family, at least once the illness manifested. Some percentage of those who choose to adopt will have a similar tough time. If the pets are going to families with small children, for example, it's especially hard for me to insist they should adopt and run the higher risk of losing the animal.
However, for my part, I still feel that human society collectively
bears full responsibility for the existence and welfare of the pet population ... And I feel that because of that, pet overpopulation is a serious and inexcusable societal tragedy ... And, though I lack statistics and would be interested to hear from more knowledgeable sources, I strongly suspect that the vast majority of adoptions turn out just fine -- responsibly-run shelters match up abandoned animals of all types and ages with responsible pet owners, and everyone's happy. Personally, I've had the pleasure of successfully adopting 3 animals so far, and knowing that they were nearly euthanized due to pet overpopulation, I'm even more grateful that they came home with me. The genuine anguish of losing two animals was just a drop in the bucket compared to the years of joy and companionship that resulted from each of the successful adoptions.
So, perhaps my ethical stance is an overly harsh one, but I believe it's the only right one to take. I wouldn't look down on anyone who came to a different conclusion as long as they gave the issues some serious thought, because I believe that apart from being a great pleasure, pet ownership is also a very serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly by anyone.
Thanks for sharing your perspective and helping me think about these issues, Aludiana. :) And apologies once again to everyone for diverting the discussion so far onto a tangential topic.