Puppy Mills Essay, Research Paper
Animal abuse in puppy mills is a momentous problem in the United States. A puppy mill is a commercial breeding facility where dogs are forced to survive in inhumane conditions. The horrible conditions make them susceptible to disease and early death. The majority of these puppy mills are located in Midwestern states, their heartless owners see the puppies as nothing more than a cash crop. As the puppies reach seven or eight weeks of age they are sold to wholesale brokers. After being given a bath, these sickly puppies usually end up in pet store windows. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) believes that profit is the main reason for this inhumane treatment. The larger the number of puppies sold, the more profit can be made. As bad as the conditions are progress is being made. ?The Animal Welfare Act requires wholesale commercial breeders to be licensed, inspected and regulated to ensure humane standards of care?(Bell 72+). However, this law and others like it are not enough, the organizations responsible to end this abuse must institute strict policies and enforce them because puppy mill owners do not believe animals have rights. The poet Lord Byron wrote ? The poor dog in life the firmest friend, The first to welcome, foremost to defend?(Cohn 725). The dog is known as man?s best friend they are loyal and loving providing their owner with joy. While the job of some dogs is to protect its owners others take part in talent competitions. These tasks require intelligence along with the hard work and dedication of a loving owner. Some feel that humans are superior to animals because humans are more intelligent than animals. ? Do smart people suffer from pain differently than dumb people? If not why would we believe the suffering of a dog is any different or less important than our own??(Wilson). Dogs along with all other animals are living beings therefore they have the right not to suffer.
Thousands of years ago humans captured baby wolf pups and trained them to hunt as well as protect. The companionship the animals provided won them a special place in the hearts of their owners. Genetic tests have shown dogs most likely developed from wolves. According to Cohn, as these wolves evolved under the care of humans different breeds acquired certain traits as a result of artificial selection. The most involved study that has been done on dog genetics and evolution was completed by Robert Wayne an evolutionary biologist at the University of California-Los Angeles. Wayne says, ? The genetic data strongly suggests that the wolf is the progenitor of the domestic dog?(Cohn 725+). Genetic evidence shows that humans saw early on the significant help a dog could provide as a pet.
? During the past two centuries, the status of animals has gone from one of no rights?to one in which animal rights activists and their opponents debate whether animals have the same moral rights as humans?(Controversies 13). The progress that has been made as said in the quote is that animals have gained a voice. There are several prominent animal rights groups as well as laws protecting them. The problem that remains is how to get these laws enforced in order to provide animals with the living conditions that they rightfully deserve. This is difficult because animal rights organizations are forced to spend valuable time arguing for animal rights against those who still hold these old time views that animals are nothing more than property. This viewpoint is deeply engrained in our culture. In the Bible it is written man has dominion over ?every living thing on earth? (Con 13). The most prominent animal rights organization is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The group gained recognition by having celebrity spokespeople which got them media attention. PETA is
an invaluable asset to the cause of animal rights. The exposes they produce show people the shocking truths of what goes on behind closed doors. This caused many people to make a conscious choice to support companies that provide animals with ethical treatment.
There are over five thousand puppy mills in the United States under the regulation of the United States Department of Agriculture (A). In the nineteen sixties as the country was getting back on its feet after the war the middle class began to flourish. Families had extra money and wanted to spend it on things that were once out of their reach such as purebred dogs. The process of buying a purebred dog was long and tedious because their breeders took pride in the quality traits their breed had and only wanted to place their dogs in the very best homes. It was also very expensive. There was high demand for purebred puppies across the nation and puppy mills sprang up throughout the Midwest more than ready to supply. These mills usually were once for raising pigs or chicken, but the farmers retired from this and began another more profitable business selling puppies. As owners made more and more money from the sale of each litter they bought new dogs instead of improving facilities or vaccinating their dogs. They bred female dogs every cycle, which is very unhealthy, a private breeder would wait a cycle. The puppy mill owners cut many corners private respectable breeders would never dream of. They keep dos in wire cages stacked one on top of the other (A). The waste of the dogs on top falls onto the dogs in lower cages. If the dogs are lucky they will have their cages cleaned once a week, and conditions can get terribly bad. If a bitch has a litter instead of moving them to a bigger cage all of the animals remain in the same cage (C). If an animal dies its corpse is oftentimes left to rot in the cage along with the living dogs.
These cages are kept in buildings with little or no ventilation. The repugnant smell is made worse during the oppressive temperatures during the heat of the summer. The breeding dogs burn out quickly usually after about five years. At this point they are no longer useful to the owner and will hopefully be brought to an animal shelter where it can be adopted. This is not usually the case most dogs are drowned or beaten to death. Many dogs go crazy and become vicious in reaction to their cruel treatment. This would exclude them from the category that is able to be adopted into a loving home. These dogs are euthanized or ?put to sleep?.
For every dog bought from a pet store that deals with puppy mills a puppy living in a shelter dies (E). There are millions of animals waiting in shelters to be placed into homes (). These dogs do not have the problems associated with dogs raised in puppy mills. The inbreeding in puppy mills causes many diseases most commonly blindness, diabetes or hip dysplasia. Aside from these genetic flaws most puppy mills pups are not vaccinated this saves the mill owners a good deal of money but can be deadly for the puppy. If a puppy contracts a disease in a puppy mill it may not show symptoms for weeks or until after it has settled in with its new family. When the family brings the puppy back to the pet store they bought it at they are not offered any consolation or free medical help. The most the law requires stores in states with lemon laws replace the sick or dying puppy with a new one. If the family refuses to give up on their new pet they could find themselves buried in vet bills. The purpose of a lemon law is to hit the puppy mill industry where it hurts the most in the wallet. In 1991 a bill called the Puppy Protection Act was brought to Congress but it did not pass into law (Randolph). Every replacement dog costs the mill money if numerous dogs are to be replaced it gets costly. The legislature hopes this will make vaccinating dogs a worthwhile prospect. Although not all states have these lemon
laws every state in the nation has some kind of anti-cruelty law which does not allow the substandard conditions of puppy mills.
There are some easy ways to ensure that a new family pet has not come through a puppy mill. The first option, if a purebred dog is desired would be to seek out a reputable breeder. Another way is to go to your local shelter. When you adopt a dog from a shelter you are saving its life. Many of these dogs are mixed breeds but a little known fact is twenty five percent of dogs in shelters are purebred. It is important to keep in mind your rights as a consumer. The retailer is required to provide certain information about the dog?s history. The store must say whether the puppy was bought from a licensed dealer. The fact that the dealer is licensed does not mean the facility is not a puppy mills. This fact confuses some consumers. A violation of this can result with a fine anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 dollars (D). The seller may be prohibited from selling dogs from thirty day to a full year.
The motivating factor behind the puppy mill industry is greed. The public has the power to put an end to this needless suffering, if they were only educated about it. There are many ways for breeders and pet stores to bypass laws and regulations that require them to keep sanitary conditions in their facilities. The agencies handing out licenses do not thoroughly check the facilities they give their licenses to which makes them worthless to a potential consumer. The most expensive, prestigious pet store could be buying from puppy mills. It was discovered that a pet store in Trump Towers in Manhattan was trying to save money by buying from puppy mills.