The Big issues – Puppy Farms and Kitten Farms/Kitten Mills
What’s the issue?
Animal Activists allege that all pet shops buy from puppy farms, that puppy farms are found all over Australia, that puppy farms are a major source of puppy supply and that puppy farms are directly responsible for all the euthanasia of dogs in pounds in Australia. None of these allegations have been supported with actual evidence. The same activists also seem to allege that banning dogs from pet shops will stop puppy farms.
There is also no evidence that these allegations are true. In speeches in the NSW parliament there were also allegations of “kitten farms” supplying kittens to pet shops as the source of the cats euthanased each year. No evidence has been provided, by anyone, for the existence of so called “kitten mills”.
First things first: what’s a Puppy Farm and what’s a Kitten Farm/Kitten Mill?
The universally agreed definition of a puppy farm includes:
- bitches and puppies being kept in very poor conditions
- there is overbreeding (too many litters per female)
- there is inbreeding (mating of close relatives) which may lead to genetic defects
- there is minimal, poor or no veterinary care
- there is poor hygiene
- the housing conditions are not suited to the needs of the animals
- there is no adequate socialisation program
- animals are kept in cages or runs for long periods without regular or adequate exercise or play
- there is often poor nutrition of the mothers (bitches)
- there may be falsified or erroneous (wrong) certificates of registration, pedigrees or genetic background.
- crossbred, hybrid or purebred pups may be produced and this may include registered breeder status.
- puppies may be sold through the internet, newspaper ads, from a house, or through pet shops, in other words all retail outlets that you would find for any puppy.
The “puppy farm” definition is often clouded with “for profit” or “large scale” or “commercial” but these are not useful because they cannot be defined themselves.
What is “large”? If you are a poor business person and accidentally don’t make a profit, are you no longer a puppy farmer? Some definitions try to call “small operations” backyard breeders and large operations puppy farms, but there’s no difference.
“Kitten Mills” are supposedly the same, but for cats. Given many kittens are produced “for free” by feral and semi-owned cats in Australia, it is fair to say that no “kitten mills” have been found.
LETS DEFINE THESE EXACTLY AS THEY ARE – SUBSTANDARD BREEDING OPERATIONS!
Some definitions of “puppy farms” and “kitten mills” have been hijacked by “second agenda” activist groups. For example, some groups like Animal Liberation and PETA don’t believe that people should own pets at all.
That is why definitions founded in law (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts, or POCTA) and based on standards provide a non-emotive and professional way to both define and enforce the laws.
What is needed?
Standards based enforcement of current high quality laws, higher penalties for offenders and better reporting by an educated public, regardless of the size, status and breed offered by the breeder. Then all are assessed equally, and the law applies equally to all.
Where can I get more information?
Pets Australia members can login to see some really important and interesting facts on puppy farms and comment on the Pets Australia papers:
NEW! CLIENT HANDOUT SHEET/INFORMATION SHEET ON PUPPY FARMS!
RSPCA discussion paper on puppy farms
Pets Australia comment on RSPCA paper (which was partially adopted by RSPCA)
Pets Australia integrated strategy for removal of puppy farms in Australia.
Pets Australia staff notes from the RSPCA Puppy Farm/Factory Seminar July 2010
[Content protected for Passionate Pet Owner members only]
Go to the members only blogs to see the RSPCA discussion paper, the Pets Australia response to the discussion paper and the Pets Australia integrated strategy on puppy farms. There are also staff notes from the RSPCA pupy farm seminar in Vic in July 2010.
Where can I voice my opinion?
Pets Australia listens to the views of its members. Pets Australia members cna voice their opinion on the “members only” forum by clicking here