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The Big issues – Puppy Farms and Kitten Mills

What’s the issue?

Animal Activists allege that pet shops buy from “puppy farms”; that puppy farms are all over Australia, that they are a major source of puppy supply and directly responsible for the euthanasia of all dogs in pounds in Australia. NONE of these allegations is supported with any evidence. The same activists allege that banning dogs from pet shops will “stop” puppy farms.

First things first: what’s a Puppy Farm and what’s a Kitten Mill?

The RSPCA definition of a puppy farm includes:

  • bitches & puppies being kept in poor conditions
  • overbreeding (too many litters per female)
  • inbreeding (mating of close relatives) which may lead to genetic defects
  • minimal, poor or no veterinary care, poor hygiene
  • housing conditions not suited to the animal’s needs
  • no adequate socialisation program
  • animals kept in cages or runs for long periods without regular or adequate exercise or play
  • often poor nutrition of the mothers (bitches)
  • there may be falsified or erroneous (wrong) certificates of registration, pedigrees or genetic background.
  • purebred, crossbred, or hybrid 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 ANY outlet.

See here for RSPCA information

However, activists and even some registered breeders cloud the “puppy farm” by confusing it with “for profit” or “large scale” or “commercial” but these are not useful because they cannot be defined. What is “large”? If you are a poor business person & don’t make a profit, are you no longer a puppy farmer? Some definitions try to call “small operations” backyard breeders & large operations puppy farms, but there’s no difference.

“Kitten Mills” are supposedly the same, but for cats. Given most kittens are produced “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 ARESUBSTANDARD 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.

Remember, all the pet industry, veterinary industry and reputable animal organisation agree on this definition of puppy farms – not about profit, size, breed, or anything except QUALITY STANDARDS

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.

ENFORCEMENT – by reputable animal welfare inspectors

Where can I get more information?

Pets Australia members can login and then look below this list to see some really important and interesting facts on puppy farms and comment on the Pets Australia papers:

SEE! CLIENT HANDOUT SHEET/INFORMATION SHEET ON SUBSTANDARD BREEDERS!

WALL POSTER FOR PETS AUSTRALIA MEMBERS TO HELP EDUCATE CLIENTS AND SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR HIGH QUALITY BREEDERS.

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.

[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 can voice their opinion on the “members only” forum by clicking here

 

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