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Puppy Mills are Bad Business

Puppy Mills are Bad Business

The problem of unwanted pets is so huge that it necessitates another look at the source of the problem. With so many wonderful animals that need a good home, it seems like an obvious choice to bring one home from a shelter, rather than buying it from a store. Yet the pet trade in North America is booming. Pet stores in the United States sell upward of 500,000 puppies a year. With 5 million healthy adoptable pets being euthanized every year in the United States, why are we still breeding pets?

Puppy and kitty mills are mass-breeding facilities that churn out hundreds of thousands of puppies and kittens every year. Although they donít sell directly to consumers, few people know they exist, yet they are the primary supplier of pets in North America. Theyíre fueling the pet population crisis across the continent, doing so through the friendly face of pet stores, classified ads and the Internet.

Thanks to repeated investigations by groups such as the Humane Society and PETA, however the grim reality of life inside these mills is becoming public knowledge. The breeding stock animals live in cages and are kept continuously pregnant for years without any human companionship until they are literally worn out and are killed.

Just as unfortunate as the breeding-stock animal are the puppies and kittens that are mass produced by the mills. Transported in huge numbers to be sold all over the continent and overseas, these babies see none of the nurturing that is so essential in their infancy. Even if a family offers the little creature a happy, lifelong home, it may never recover from its initial trauma from crowding and transportation. Many new pet owners canít figure out why their dog barks non-stop or their cat lives in terror of everything that moves. Invariably, it is because they began their life in a breeding mill. The irony is that people tend to avoid bringing home shelter animals because they fear they’ll be wounded or traumatized. Quite the opposite is true. Shelter animals were often born in someoneís caring home and are generally far more adaptable to human companionship than a store-bought, mass-bred pet.

While the term “puppy mill” has come to mean any commercial pet breeding operation, there are far more than puppies and kittens being produced. Birds, guinea pigs, ferrets, reptiles and many other animals are mass-produced through pet-breeding operations and then sold through retail pet stores. More than 90 percent of all animals sold in pet stores are the product of mass- breeding operations.

If you are considering bringing a companion animal into your life, bypass the pet store and adopt from an animal shelter.

Some helpful links:

Adapted from Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering by Ethan Smith with Guy Dauncey (New Society Publishers, 2007).

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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6:55PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

The federal government needs to ban the puppy mills.

6:05PM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you.

6:05PM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you.

11:27AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Hopefully puppy mills will be outlawed soon.

9:30AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

I very agree

1:56PM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

Absolutely agreed !

Jake i'm so glad you have posted this article because the general public needs a solid FYI/ reminder that puppy mills need to be shut down, and purchasing a puppy in a pet store is simply fueling a losing battle for dogs!

Too many pet store dogs end up in shelters because their owners for lack of a better expression, dispose of them, like worn out shoes, when the 'cute' aspects transform into adulthood. Sad but very true !

"No Pet Store Puppies” Campaign Launched is critical by Jake also defines this problem.
Thank you Melissa :)

8:46AM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

Doggoes rule, think of the dog,s and not your greedy self. Crawl back into the cage you put the doggies in.

12:53AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:42AM PST on Nov 9, 2010

I have only two words to describes Puppy Mills. Hell Holes.Would you like to spend any time in one? No neither would I. I rest my case.

12:45PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010

stop the cruelty

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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