The tools of Eugenics are very much alike: be it the dog kennel, the Kibbutz, or Concentration Camp. In philosophy, engineering, and practice the three institutions are highly correlated. While the modern sensibility would likely register disgust with the Concentration Camp and disinterest in the Kibbutz, the Kennel remains wholeheartedly endorsed as the ideal model for creating dogs.
It is often said in dog breeding that ‘form follows function.’ While this sort of attention is usually focused on the dogs, I can’t help but notice that the same wisdom applies to the methods of their production. If we can attempt to construct the ideal form of the dog by analyzing its function, certainly we can reconstruct the ideology behind their breeding by deconstructing the form of the typical kennel.
It’s not a large leap to compare dog breeding to factory farm production, given the obvious parallels between domestic animals produced for food and those produced for companionship; and although most legislation currently treats large scale dog breeding like small time farming, the ethical paradigm of raising pets is incompatible with the efficiencies of factory farming.
Breeders who create puppies using the factory farming paradigm are called puppy mills. The informed consumer doesn’t want their dog produced in the same manner as their chicken nuggets, and puppy mills are one of the few things the vast majority of the dog world is aligned against. Still, the larger the breeder, the more their facilities and methods emulate the trappings of factory farming.
The dog kennel, the kibbutz and the concentration camp share several fundamental qualities. All three are engineered to keep large numbers of living beings in close proximity but still provide a means to isolate them when necessary. The concentration and segregation is for the explicit benefit of the warden, not the inmates; and the walls and wire fences are the tools which keep the inmates where the warden wants them.
Keeping them close makes inspection, feeding, breeding, culling, and other maintenance tasks easier. Segregation prevents unwanted interactions and promotes pacification of the subjects. The kibbutz stands apart from the other two in that participation is voluntary, and there are more cultural and social barriers than physical ones.
All three communal paradigms are tools by which people can achieve their Utopian ideals of creating or maintaining an exemplary future population. The goal of the kennel is to produce purebred dogs following a Eugenic model using directed selection of mating pairs. So too is the kibbutz designed to facilitate the mating of Jews with Jews, just as the Lebensborn was designed to facilitate birthing and raising Aryan children.
One aspect which has thrived in kennels but is a contributing factor to the limitation of the efficacy of kibbutzim is inbreeding. Whereas the inbreeding ethic thrives in the kennel environment, it has been observed that the communal raising of children from a young age with the intent to create future marriages and reinforce the culture and genetics of the community from within largely failed because children reared together from infancy are predisposed against sexual attraction to their siblings/peers.
Whereas the kennel and kibbutz overlap in their function to advance the propagation of genetically pure offspring, the kennel also aligns with the death camp’s suppression of undesirable genetics–and undesirable is defined solely by the warden. To bring about the Eugenic Utopia, it is insufficient to merely promote preferable mating pairs, one must actively remove deleterious specimens from the breeding pool. The weak are killed, the questionable are sterilized, and the refugees are slaughtered en masse. In this regard, the animal shelter is a particular subgroup of kennels much like the death camp is a subgroup of concentration camps, both performing essentially the same function via the same means.
The chart I made above is a rather conservative list of commonalities between the kennel and the konzentrationslager, as many more shared elements exist: wood, wire, and steel cages for confinement; tattoos, ear tags, patches or microchips for easy identification; warehouse-style communal sleeping quarters to pack the most bodies in the least amount of space; mud strewn runs and yards for minimal exercise; concrete, water hoses, and tiled isolation rooms for hygiene; and finally gas chambers and cremation ovens for the “final solution.”
The Konzentrationslager seeks to suppress fertility and the Kibbutz seeks to promote it, so many of the most horrific aspects of the former are absent from the later. But the kennel does both, although not always at the same location.
All three are bound by adhering to fundamentalist Eugenics taken to a scale which necessitates engineering and infrastructure more akin to the factory than the family.
* * *
Comments and disagreements are welcome, but be sure to read the Comment Policy. If this post made you think and you'd like to read more like it, consider a donation to my 4 Border Collies' Treat and Toy Fund. They'll be glad you did. You can subscribe to the feed or enter your e-mail in the field on the left to receive notice of new content. You can also like BorderWars on Facebook for more frequent musings and curiosities.
* * *