Many animals are judged by their breed. Some people prefer the teacup poodles to the beagles or the Siamese cat to the Maine Coon. While it’s perfectly fine to admit that we might find one type of animal cuter than the other, we also have to be aware that breed judgment can pose problems as it might leave certain animals with a lesser chance of being adopted.

Moreover, breed preference can also turn into breed discrimination, as it has with pit bulls, who are currently the most stigmatized “breed” simply because of what they look like and the preconceived notion that since they are a “pit bull,” they must be dangerous (which is totally false, just to be clear).

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There are a number of organizations that aim to combat breed discrimination, and while they are doing great work, change needs to happen at all levels, which is why one shelter in Florida has stepped up to the plate and removed all of its breed identification labels from kennel cards and their website.

Orlando-based Orange County Animal Services announced their move this week on Facebook, stating that they would like to “afford every four-legged friend the greatest opportunity to find a forever home.”

As they write, their goal is “to break down barriers associated with breed descriptions, leaving behind any division or stigma associated with breed classifications so that each pet can find a perfect match with a loving forever home. By allowing shelter pets to defy description, each pet can overcome any labels that might limit chances of adoption.”

Now this is a move we can definitely get behind! Well done!

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According to a blog post on Orlando Weekly, the shelter’s decision arrived after months of discussion and was inspired by changes demanded by local animal lovers who attended the shelter’s advisory board meetings.

While Orange County Animal Services’ removal of breed identification labels seems like a small, local step, it is in fact taking quite a big stand against breed discrimination and really, the concept of breeds in general. At the end of the day, dogs are dogs and cats are cats and it is not really the breed that makes them special, it is their individual personalities and quirks.

As the shelter states on Facebook, “The world today is a richly diverse mix of humanity, and our shelter pets are no less intricate and distinctive. Each animal is unique, brimming with its own personality, preferences, and potential.”

Orange County Animal Services is setting a good example for the rest of the world, and hopefully other shelters and rescue facilities will follow in time.

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Image source: Celebritydachshund.com

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