I borrowed this from the Rat Code of Ethics as it's very well worded and I believe in every statement made here http://www.ratethics.org/Code-of-Ethics.htm
Rat Ethics: Our Code of Ethics
(a.k.a. Statement of Belief)
© Copyright RatEthics.org 2002-2003
Ethics in it's very essence is a way of life and not some exclusive club or group that people can choose to belong to at will. Ethics is not words written on a piece of paper and then forgotten. The ideals and morals we hold in our hearts and minds (and claim to support) mean nothing if we don't act on them.
Ethics is a lifestyle choice... plain and simple... you *are* what you repeatedly do.
The principles below are not listed in order of importance
I believe there is some sort of Universal Truth and that there is right and wrong in this world. There may be gray issues and there can be multiple right choices (as well as multiple wrong choices), but important issues can not always boil down to "different ways of doing things", or "personal choice". There has got to be some sort of solid foundation of truth to build upon.
I will not use Pine or Cedar chips for bedding since it has been proven (many times) in legitimate scientific journals that these woods contain oils and toxins that are harmful to rats.
I will not knowingly sell/adopt-out rats with a non-contagious diseases or defects, with exceptions to this only under the conditions that the buyer/new-owner is totally and completely informed AND has the skills necessary to handle it.
I will not knowingly sell/adopt-out rats with a contagious disease(s) (Barring carried Myco in the asymptomatic form*) and with other rare exceptions to this only under the conditions that the buyer/new-owner is totally and completely informed AND has the skills necessary to handle it.
*Myco (a.k.a. Mycoplasma) cannot be quarantined out and is already carried by virtually all pet rats so for this case the most important thing is that the rat has no symptoms and the Myco is not active (i.e. not currently causing sickness in the rat).
Although... when selling rats that have a family history of moderate to severe Myco weakness later in life the honest thing to do would be to tell the new owner of this potential future problem EVEN if the rat is not currently ill. This goes for all future health problems that are reasonably likely (even if not currently present) based upon family history.
I will quarantine CONSISTENTLY and CORRECTLY so that I do not unknowing spread disease.
I will not sell rats with parasites. I will implement a set of procedures to make sure my colony is free of parasites, and that it stays that way.
I will not breed from rats with major genetic defects (this includes genetic Megacolon).
I will not encourage others to breed from rats with major genetic defects.
I will breed from rats with mild to moderate genetic defects only if they could make a great contribution to the gene pool (For example: rats that have an exceptional long life or are very resistant/immune to common harmful diseases), and I will NOT breed them just because their looks suit me. If I choose to breed from these rats their buyers/adopters will be informed of the problem and it's implications to them (if any). I will also make sure this mildly negative trait is bred out in future generations, and I will not ignore the problem.
If I find any genetic defect in a blood line then I will let that rat's original breeder know. If it is a mild or moderate defect then that breeder can handle the issue privately as long as people with related rats are in fact told, and assuming the line isn't too wide spread at that point.
If I find a major genetic defect (or a major defect suspected to be genetic) in a blood line then I will tell the rat's original breeder *AND* personally make sure others with that blood line are told. Although I didn't request this responsibility the task becomes mine once the problem becomes known. I will give the original breeder the option of making the announcement and if they fail to do so with in a reasonable period of time (suggested length is 2 to 3 weeks) then I will make the announcement for them. The reason why I do this is that the population of decent breeding quality animals is small and defects like this can infect a lot of lines in a short period of time. It may even come back to harm all our lines in a few generations. Major genetic defects harm the whole fancy and it is not just a matter of my personal choice to keep quiet.
I will not mass breed. My litters will be carefully chosen and I will not breed just to breed. My goal is not numbers but quality.
I will not breed my rats for food. My rats are very valuable. They are the result of my skill, love and effort and are therefore special. I will not waste them. I want our pet rats to be accepted as legitimate pets like cats and dogs. Respected cat and dog breeders do not throw their extra's to wild, carnivorous and/or cold blooded animals. I won't do that either.
If I am going to breed then I will learn at least the basics of genetics since breeding is about genetics and I must be able to understand the invisible rules behind our hobby if I want to be successful.
I will keep records of my litters, and I will keep good pedigrees. I do this because the best indicator of the future is the past, and because information that isn't written down is easily lost.
I will have honor in my practices. I believe a breeder has a right to set their own price, but I will not dump the non-fancy rats, just so I can keep/breed more fancy rats to sell at a higher price. Charging more for fancy rats is fine, so long as the plainer ones don't suffer because of it. A rat should not suffer because of it's fur type/color, skin color, ear shape or other aesthetic trait.
I will not ship my rats: UPS, Fed-X, USPS, Airborne Express or any of the other quick and cheap postal methods. Besides being illegal they are usually very dangerous to the rats and they are irresponsible. I will not accept shipments of rats via these methods either. Just because another breeder is immoral does not dissolve my own morals.