Something I have noticed is a lot of breeders claim not to cull. To dissect that statement, we first need to look at the definition of “cull” in terms of a breeder.
To cull means to remove from the breeding program. This can be done one of 2 ways; Euthanasia and Not Breeding. These are referred to as Hard Culling and Soft Culling respectively. Soft culling can be as simple as keeping the rat in your cage without breeding it, or rehoming it. All breeders to adopt out to pet homes soft cull, as the act of giving that animal to a pet home is removing it from your breeding program by pet homing. So already, the breeder culls.
Hard culling means euthanasia. Breeders choose to hard cull for a variety of reasons. This could be temperament related, health related, litter size related, etc. It is up to the breeder why they choose to hard cull. Euthanasia can be done by a vet in a practice, or at home using AVMA approved methods such as regulated co2 or cervical dislocation.
Ask any breeder what they do when a rat has an untreatable illness, or is rat and human aggressive, and nothing has worked to “fix” it. I guarantee that any ethical breeder will answer that they euthanise these rats. Yes, even breeders who say they do not cull.
“But culling and euthanasia are different”. Yes, to a pet owner they are. A pet owner will never cull, because they do not breed. However, a breeder ALWAYS culls, because to cull is to remove from the breeding program. No matter what the reasoning behind it or how it is done, if a breeder euthanises a rat that they own, it is hard culling.
The word “Cull” has become a nasty word, used by breeders who deem themselves as better to undermine and attack other breeders who don’t conform to their standards. It is not a bad word, and it does not mean bad things.
Next time you see a “no-cull” breeder, ask yourself- are they no-cull, or just elitist?
*Disclaimer* Keep an eye out for Part 2 where I elaborate on why a breeder cannot be no-cull