What’s wrong with puppy farms?
You have probably heard of puppy farms, also known as puppy factories or puppy mills. The RSPCA defines a puppy farm as 'an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs' behavioural, social and/or physiological needs'.
So what exactly does this mean, and what’s wrong with puppy farms?
Puppy farms are large-scale commercial operations that breed and sell dogs for profit. The breeding dogs and their puppies may be kept in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions. The dogs’ health may be neglected because veterinary care costs money and these costs eat into profits. Puppies live in small cages or pens until they are taken away to be sold. The pups often have very little handling and socialisation.
Commercial puppy mills operate to make money, and there is a LOT of money in this type of dog breeding. Puppies may be purebred and sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars, or ‘designer’ crossbreds which command similar prices. Puppy farms minimise costs by breeding on a large scale, and will breed from almost any dog - even those with health problems that may be passed on to the puppies.
Puppies in large facilities are not socialised like they would be if they came from a smaller scale breeder. They may have never been inside a house or met children. This can lead to behavioural problems that take a lot of time and dedication to resolve. Sadly, some pets will end up in pounds as a result.
Large-scale commercial breeders generally don’t let the public see behind closed doors. They may only sell puppies online, and meet in car parks or other public places to hand over the pups. They also supply puppies to pet shops.
Buying from a pet shop means you have no way of knowing where the puppy has come from. You can’t see the parents or ensure that the pup has been socialised. You could be buying a lifetime of expensive vet bills.
Puppy farmers have been known to use a nice-looking house as a ‘shop front’ to give the impression that they are not a commercial breeder. This can make it extremely difficult to tell who is legitimate and who isn’t.
The glamour for fashionable breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs mean high profits for puppy mills. These breeds are already known to have health issues, and when combined with unscrupulous breeding, the problems are magnified.
Unfortunately, many puppy farms are operating legally. Animal lovers have been campaigning for several years for stricter welfare laws. These farms continue operating because there is a demand for puppies, and many buyers just don’t know that their beloved pet has come from a factory-like environment. The fact that a breeder is ‘registered’ with the council or a dog association does not mean they are not operating on a commercial scale.
How can we put these puppy factories out of business? There are a few steps that we all can take.
1. Adopt – don’t shop! There are thousands of dogs and cats looking for homes through rescue organisations like Moving Paws Inc, breed-specific rescues, and pounds. By adopting from one of these organisations, you are saving a life.
2. Never buy a puppy or kitten from a pet shop, unless the shop is offering adoptions on behalf of a rescue group.
3. Educate yourself. Useful websites such as http://www.animalsaustralia.org/puppies, https://rspca.org.au/campaigns/puppy-farms and http://www.oscarslaw.org/ are great resources for learning more about puppy farms, and provide steps that you can take to make a difference, including emailing your local MP.
4. Be suspicious if the puppy seller wants to meet away from their home, or does not seem interested in the home that you have to offer their pup.
5. A seller who seems to be in a hurry should also raise red flags. This shows that the welfare of their animals is not their main priority. Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.
Founder - Moving Paws Inc.