Written by PETA
Oprah Winfrey is going to be tackling puppy mills on her show today, so be sure to check it out (or Tivo it) if you get a chance. Puppy mills, which keep large quantities of purebred dogs in overcrowded, often shockingly inhumane conditions, are a well-kept secret of the pet-trade industry, and the animal protection community is extremely grateful to Oprah for exposing this major cause of pet overpopulation to a wide audience.
It’s standard practice for puppy mills—which supply animals to pet stores and purebred enthusiasts, without any concern for the millions who will die in shelters as a result—to keep animals in constant confinement, without proper veterinary care or socialization. It’s common to hear stories of puppy mills that are shut down on cruelty to animals charges (I posted about one a couple of weeks ago), but it’s nowhere near common enough—and these sordid operations will continue to thrive for as long as people support them by purchasing animals from pet stores or seeking out purebred animals from breeders.
You can find out what time the show will be airing where you live on Oprah’s site, and there’s more information about puppy mills, and you can learn more about PETA’s campaign to help companion animals here.
A couple in Tucson was caught by Arizona authorities this week with close to 800 dogs (mostly Chihuahuas) and 80 parrots in filthy conditions inside their trailer. CBS News quoted workers on the case as suggesting that the owners were “breeders with good intentions,” which is rather like calling someone a well-meaning child abuser. According to the news reports, more than a dozen dogs were found stuffed inside a single crate in some cases. Some dogs had reportedly been found missing paws from fighting with cage mates.
The story has received national media attention (including an interview with PETA VP Lisa Lange on Nancy Grace last night), and we’re hoping that, as horrible as it is, it helps to dispel myths about breeders being people who care about animals. It seems pretty clear that these folks were running a puppy mill for profit, and PETA is calling on authorities to take this case extremely seriously, including vigorously prosecuting the couple and, should they be convicted, pursuing a provision in their sentencing to ensure that they never be allowed to have even one animal again.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.