The Puppy Farm Problem – Who’s at Fault?

As dog lovers, we must all, surely, feel a massive twang of pity and regret when we think of those puppies who have been bred for profit by breeders who are interested only in how to produce maximum volume of ‘stock’ with scant regard for the welfare, health or temperament of the animals they churn out month by month, year by year.

Puppy farms (or, as they are known outside of the UK – puppy mills) are alive kicking.

But how? Buy why?

Let’s see if we can find out…
I believe the media has been very generous to the people who, it could easily be argued, are REALLY responsible for the growth in puppy farms.

Puppy farmers aren’t the ONLY ones to blame for misery

The people I speak of are those who willingly dig in to their pockets and get their wallets out, to hand over cash to the cynical puppies- for-profits breeders – aka puppy farmers – who couldn’t care less about the fundamental principles of breeding good, healthy, well balanced dogs.

The puppy farmer only exists because people keep giving them money.

In all the coverage given to the puppy farming debate, have we missed the most obvious of points? That if people simply stopped fuelling this trade, we might actually get somewhere?

Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge moral and ethical objection to the people who trade in the suffering and misery of mass produced dogs. We can’t legitimately call ourselves a nation of animal lovers whilst we allow this to happen.

But, the fact is, these puppy farms would be a thing of the past if:

1) People refused to buy puppies from pet stores (and yes, I include the celebrities who buy from famous department stores in that – no GOOD breeder will EVER allow their stock to be ‘retailed’ in a pet store.)

2) People educated themselves on how to acquire a new dog, responsibly, rather than rushing out to buy a puppy from the first litter they see advertised in the free classified ads newspapers or websites.

Seriously, if those two things happened – the puppy farmer is left with no business. No trade. No customers. No money. No motivation to keep producing puppies.

Let’s think about it for a second; if people didn’t purchase from puppy farms and from pet shops, there’d be none.

So why do people do it?

Some of them are misguided, misinformed. OK, I accept that. But even so, in this year, in this day in age with ALL of the wealth of information that exists about how to obtain a dog responsibly, is it REALLY a valid excuse any more? I mean, really?

And for everyone who accidentally, unintentionally winds up putting money in to the pocket of puppy farmers, there’s certainly more folk who do it and who couldn’t really care less either way.

Whilst it is an ongoing disgrace that puppy farms are allowed to thrive and prosper in a country where laws, legislation and enforcement of such establishments have never really been properly crafted to a point where they have been forced out of business, whilst the demand exists – the puppy farmer will thrive.

If puppy farming is to be defeated, the first point of action needs to be in changing the attitude and behaviour of the people who are putting their money in to keep the puppy farms in business – that’s puppy buyers!

Look at this way; if there was ZERO demand for cocaine, would the governments of the world even need to make laws and spend BILLIONS on trying to combat traffickers around the globe? Of course not!

Zero demand for a product or service means the supplier is automatically redundant. They become extinct. It’s the laws of economics, supply and demand.

And let’s establish one thing, for the record, puppies are NOTHING like cocaine. So our failure to combat puppy farmers is interlinked, exclusively, with our failure to convince enough people of the right and wrong ways to acquire a dog ethically and responsibly. There is no chemical ‘high’ to be gained by buying a puppy from a puppy farmer.

How can we change this? How do we push for a culture change?

It’s going to be hard and I feel it’s going to take something big. But I am 100% convinced that even if we were to bring in laws that would legislate against puppy farms, if there is still a 10 or 20% demand from the same sort of people who acquiring their dogs from puppy farmers today, the laws themselves won’t be enough.

The media who carry adverts for puppy farmers, they are guilty as sin.

There are some big name, very profitable media businesses out there profiting from the misery of dogs. Whether they knowingly take adverts from puppy farmers or not, whether the fact that puppy farming in and of itself is NOT illegal (a disgrace in itself), surely there has to be an ethical, honest way to deny puppy farmers the oxygen of publicity? If people and businesses aren’t prepared to step up, how do we ever expect the public to understand that

  1. just because a litter of puppies is advertised in a ‘legitimate’ publication, it doesn’t mean the puppy has been bred responsibly
  2. just because a litter of puppies is for sale in a pet shop with a licence, it doesn’t mean the puppy has been bred responsibly
  3. just because a litter of puppies has been bred by a ‘licenced breeder’ it doesn’t mean the puppy has been bred responsibly

If we really want to tackle the blight of puppy farming, puppies produced in dank, squalid conditions with profit as the only motive, then we – all of us honest, caring dog owners – need to speak up, speak out and repeat the following mantra:

“If you buy from a puppy farm, you’re as guilty as the puppy farmer. If you don’t have the knowledge to avoid a puppy farmed dog, then you’re not yet ready to own a dog.”

What more do we need to do to, once and for all, put an end to the misery of puppies bred for profits?

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