Farm animal reproduction

This is my first post so hello everyone, thanks for helping in my quest for a Catholic Answer.

My husband and I recently purchased a white tail deer game preserve and hunting ranch. I’m a bit uncomfortable with how the breeding works. I’m told that most farm animal breeding is done by way of artificial insemination today. The part that bothers me the most is that the buck is fondled by humans in order to collect the semen. The goal in all of this is to grow bucks with the biggest, nicest racks. So, here is the question: Is it ethical from a Church perspective to collect semen from animals in this way? Is artificial insemination of animals o.k? Those in the business say that since the animals don’t have souls and because God put man at the top, it is o.k. And, if not, help me understand why the Church hasn’t been more vocal since this is apparently widely practiced.


All For Jesus

First off, welcome!

Animals do have souls, just not the immortal souls that humans have. That said, there is nothing written that prohibits this type of animal husbandry. As mating between animals is not seen as part of a sacramental union, as with humans, it is simply a biological act, and by manipulating the process by which it happens, you are not violating any ethical stances within the church. I wish I could cite some sources here, but essentially, it would be an attempt to cite a negative. Simply put, if nothing has been written (that I know of) to reject the act you describe, there can be nothing to cite.

Hi There and welcome to CAF! My very Catholic boss breeds deer too… and cattle. We use artificial insemination all the time because it is the best way to ensure the best qualities get passed on…

There really is nothing wrong with this practice at all. God did put man over all the beasts of the earth and animals do not have immortal souls and therefore are in no danger of losing salvation. Neither are the men (read humans) that do the work. It is a job not a sexual deviance.

Being a dairy farmer myself, I have been involved in all types of breeding. From semen collection and freezing in nitrogen, artificial insemination of females, embryo transplants from donor female to receptive females, selective breeding by the natural method, culling and/or slaughter of unfit animals. I haven’t been involved in cloning and don’t have much desire to do so, since it is a genetic dead end, on top of having no cost benefit. The purpose behind any breeding system is to produce offspring which are genetically superior to their parents. Cloning maintains the status quo with no improvement in successive generations. It also requires the use of embryo transplants in which the high cost is seldom worth pursuing even after initial natural breedings. Any farm animal which you will ever see is the product of ages upon ages of careful breeding and careful selection.
None of this immoral as animals are not made in the image and likeness of God and do not have everlasting life.
It is no more immoral to artificially breed an animal than it is to slaughter an ‘unfit’ animal for food or to purposely raise animals for slaughter.

Further addition:
Embryo transplants allow one to make use of animals which are not themselves suitable for selecting progeny from since they are able to carry genetically superior offspring from genetically superior donors.

I don’t know what to think about this but the fact that you basically have to “fondle” the buck in order to get the semen just sounds disgusting to me and even morally questionable. Of course, I could be wrong.

Hi All For Jesus, and welcome.

As long as you treat the animals in a humane way and do not inflict unnecessary pain or sufferring, I think you are on solid moral grounds.

P.S. - Do you have to buy the Buck dinner and a movie first?:smiley: (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Thanks so much to all of you that replied. I now feel that I have some great Catholic Answers and can embrace this new business with a greater sense of joy. I will also share these answers with my husband who will be able to say “I told you so”.

Holly, thanks for sharing my disgust. Glad I don’t have that job.

Doctor, we do have to buy the buck dinner!

May Our Lord Bless you for the time you spend helping others.

All For Jesus

Your post has got me worried now. My husband wants us to start raising sheep… I’m going to let them reproduce “naturally.” :stuck_out_tongue: No way, no how am I going to do what you’ve written in your opening post. Good luck to you, btw.

It is not what most people unfamiliar with the process think. Generally a teaser doe in heat is used while the buck is in rut to encourage the buck to mount. Actual penetration is interrupted through the use of an artificial vagina which contains the receptacle for the ejaculate which after collection is examined under microscope to verify viability and then frozen in straws and preserved in Liquid Nitrogen. These straws are used to artificially inseminate does. The advantage is one can breed a doe to a superior buck located across the country where natural breeding would be impractical. It also allows superior bucks to be used long after they are deceased. I would say roughly about 40% of the breedings that take place on my farm I perform through A.I.
I would say the insemination of the doe is a much more invasive procedure than buck collection, but there also not a repulsive procedure either.

I’m curious. You bought the place not knowing how things work?
Its a bit late once its yours to start having doubts.

Thistle, to answer your curious question, My husband understood how it worked and we did ask questions of priests, who said that it was ok. but I still had a discomfort. I decided to consult Catholic Answers hoping to get the question run by some moral theology “experts” to give me a better comfort level. One priest that I asked about the breeding process, said that I needed to ask someone in the Church with expertise in the area of moral theology.

We’ve also had questions from extended family members who wondered if A I type breeding was ok by the Church. This is why I turned to Catholic Answers.

Again, I thank all of you for your guidance. I feel as though a burden has been lifted.

All For Jesus

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit