Fancy Rats ethical statement - breeding
The following represents the ethical stance and vision of Fancy Rats with regard to breeding rats. This vision is upheld by the members of the admin team who breed their rats, and is the standard that we would seek to encourage members to aim for. Please take a moment to read, as understanding this statement may help you to decide whether this is a community that you wish to belong to.
All rats should live in conditions that match the Fancy Rats ethical statement, and the breeder should be open to informal visits by other rat owners to their rattery, by arrangement.
Rats with poor temperament should not be bred from, as temperament is largely a genetic, inherited trait. Poor temperament includes: rats that are aggressive towards humans or other rats; rats that are excessively timid towards humans or other rats.
Any lines that persistantly produce rats with temperament problems that might be regarded as ‘genetically inherited’ should be discontinued, including ‘self-barbering’. It is perfectly reasonable to work with a line for a period of time to try to improve it.
Only individual rats that have a history of excellent health, and are of good size, shape and weight should be bred from (at least 300g for a doe; 500g for a buck). A breeder should aim to only breed from rats who have a known family history.* In some circumstances, however, this may not be possible.
A breeder should have an awareness of trends and issues relating to the health of the lines/rats they are breeding, and should be able to demonstrate that they are working responsibly to improve any health issues relating to the rats they breed.
Breeders should pursue the ideal of breeding rats to conform to a shape specified by the ‘General Conformation’ standards set out by the NFRS. Maintaining physical type and "rat-ness" are in the best interests of the rats.
As a general principle breeders should only breed litters for which they have a fair proportion of potential homes. Each litter should have a specific breeding aim, forming part of a breeding plan for improving future rats. It is not ethical to breed purely to satisfy demand for unusual colours or new varieties as pets.
Culling of baby rats for any reason other than unsupportable life is unnecessary and therefore unacceptable. Where a doe is ill or dies and is unable to raise her babies herself every attempt should be made to find a foster mother. Obviously, on occasion this is not possible. Size is a genetic trait and kittens can achieve their full size potential by careful nutrition. Kittens that are not kept by the breeder will be placed in homes where they will be properly cared for to a standard not less than the manner in which the breeder’s own rats are cared for, in conditions that support the Fancy Rats ethical statement.
Culling of adult rats for any reason other than unsupportable life is unacceptable. Any retired breeding rats that are rehomed will be placed in homes where they will be properly cared for to a standard not less than the manner in which the breeder’s own rats are cared for, in conditions that support the Fancy Rats ethical statement.
A breeder should provide full support to the owners of the rats they have bred or rehomed, and should keep full records of each rat's health and temperament throughout the rat's life by being in regular contact with their owner. Where an owner defaults on giving information, every reasonable effort should be made to stay in touch.
Prospective owners should be made aware of any known health or temperament problems/trends in close relatives of the rats they are offered for sale.
Breeders should not sell rats that are known to not be in perfect health. A rat who is sickly (or has known temperament problems) still needs a home, and a prospective owner should be fully informed as to the nature of the problem and the likely outcome. Any payment for the kitten should be waived.
New owners should be supplied with a genealogy chart (completed to the best of the breeder’s knowledge) and a date of birth for each rat. Full contact details should be exchanged between the breeder and new owner.
A breeder should be willing to take back any rats that they have bred at any point in the rat's life if, for whatever reason, their owners are no longer able to keep them. Obviously, these rats can then be rehomed if desired.
It is not considered ethical to sell to, or collaborate with the pet trade.
*Where a rat's family history is referred to, this means a record of the full details of the health and temperament of each rat related to it. Some family histories will be more extensive and complete than others, but for a history to be 'known' it should have at least 4 generations fully documented. Such knowledge is not always achievable, but should be aimed at.
Author: Fancy Rats Team
Articles detailing the rules, T&Cs and ethical stance of the Fancy Rats Forum
1 post • Page 1 of 1