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“O” No They Didn’t: The AKC, Puppy Mills, and Oprah

Written by PETA | April 8, 2008

After Oprah aired a hard-hitting exposé of puppy mills last week, the folks at the American Kennel Club had the audacity to publicly praise the show, while they were presumably maneuvering frantically behind the scenes to make sure that the breeders they’ve been vigorously defending for decades don’t take a hit as a result. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote to Oprah yesterday to thank her for doing the show and to point out that the AKC is no friend of dogs and never has been. You can read her letter here.


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  • kelly says:

    To get purebred dogs you must have inbreeding With inbreeding comes genetic defects in much higher numbers “Testing” doesn’t stop this. Purebreds have a much higher incidence of genetic defects. httpwww.pbs.orgwgbhnovatranscripts3103dogs.html

  • Guy says:

    I know for a fact that the what you call “pure blood breading” is healthier for the breed. concerned breeders test and breed out the health concerns for their breeds. the idea of “pure breed” is to preserve the breed. When we find that a line has a health issue we stop that line from carring on that trait and passing it on. the “puppy mills care about the number of puppies they can produce and get on the market to get that check. Designer dogs inherit all the health issues of every breed they have in them and if they are not monitored or tested then you buy that dog and all of its problems. so get your facts right and look at actual research that is nonbiased.

  • lizbeth says:

    why just stop at ‘puppy mills’ ?.. come on Oprah.. you can do more than that!!

  • Barbara says:

    Yes Charlene perhaps Paul McCartney could get through more fully to Oprah! If he contacted her and offered to appear on her show you know she would do it. Please Sir Paul please!

  • Lindsey says:

    In response to Amber you can’t claim to be a good dog owner when you only bring your dog in “in bad weather.” Whatever

  • does not fit says:

    the problem for me is that when I want a dog of my breed the shelters don’t usually have them. I am NOT and I repeat am NOT going to adopt a big huge dog for myself when I want something small so don’t give me the crap that when I go to a responsible caring breeder that I am killing a shelter dog. I have a shelter dog but not of my particular breed. Don’t lay your peta dog killing crap on me. You all are the ones who killed 07 of the pets in YOUR shelter.

  • Kelley says:

    Just checked back to the puppy mill chat on Oprah’s page. The breeders are all coming out of the woodwork. They are trying desperately to justify their greed and explain how they are sooo much more ethical than puppy mill owners. Try telling that to the dogs being killed every minute because there are not enough homes for them.

  • Charlene says:

    I too am grateful that the show was aired but would love to see her do a show on factory farming. I actually have written her myself several times requesting that she have a show about this inhuman cruelty. I remember when she was sued by the meat industry and fear she will not want to get involved. However we all know that it will take money and the power of people like Ophra and Paul McCartney to get the face of this industry into the mainstream of the population. Thank you.

  • Holly says:

    Fears for welfare of Korean dogs The Seoul Metropolitan Government is proposing that dogs in Korea should be recategorized as livestock which would give the dog meat trade in South Korea legal status. Some have suggested that this proposal if accepted by the central government would allow for regulation of the trade and improvement in welfare. WSPA argues that this would not be the case. The reality of the dog meat trade As dogs are not officially listed as livestock in South Korea their meat cannot legally be sold. However many dog meat restaurants do exist across the country and it is estimated that two million dogs are raised for food every year. The primary concern of the South Korean authorities is for human health as currently there are no sanitary regulations related to the processing or selling of dog meat. If the dogs are classified as livestock regulations will be put in place and the meat potentially sold more widely. Our partners in South Korea have evidence that dogs reared for food are farmed in appalling conditions treated cruelly at markets where they are sold as live animals and killed openly in public ways that cause immense suffering. Unsuitable for farming Advocates of the trade have claimed that legalizing the sale of dog meat would lead to improvements in animal welfare allowing for regulations to be introduced. But in reality there is no evidence that the large population of dogs involved in this trade could be farmed transported or slaughtered humanely. While WSPA works to improve the welfare of animals that can be farmed humanely such as the Model Farm Project the behavioral and physical needs of dogs mean this species is simply not suitable for the meat trade. The practices involved in raising and slaughtering dogs would remain inherently cruel despite any attempts at regulation. This sciencebased rationale is behind WSPA’s complete opposition to this trade and to the recategorization of any dogs as livestock. A little boy plays with a dog of the breed typically used for dogmeat. AFK Supporter Man’s best friend? There are approximately five million pet dogs in South Korea. With around 17 of the residents of Seoul the capital city owning a pet dog there is clearly a fondness for animals in Korea. But while many dogs are much loved pets some people believe that pet dogs and yellow’ dogs those used for meat and are usually sandy in color are completely different animals. WSPA argues that classifying dogs as livestock would formalize this false notion of pet’ dogs and meat’ dogs being different when in reality the various breeds of dogs used for meat are essentially no different from those commonly kept as pets. In fact meat’ dogs have been adopted as pets and abandoned ‘pets’ have been found in the dog meat trade. Fighting reclassification WSPA respects the cultures and beliefs of the countries we work in and have chosen to act primarily through local member societies on this issue who fully understand the cultural impact of the trade. We are currently working with our member societies in South Korea to identify the most effective response to the proposed reclassification to ensure we can have the biggest impact possible in the longterm. WSPA is enabling South Korean groups specifically Animal Freedom

  • Melbourne says:

    I have known for a very long time what AKC does to dogs. I thank you so much Ingrid for sending Oprah that letter. I also thank Oprah for showing everyone how cruel AKC is.

  • chizel says:

    wow that is good!! i have 3 pure breeds and i love them but i know TONS of mutts and they are soooo cute! you will have a hard time finding a “pure breed” human!! in fact all people havce so many mixes in them and no one cares! i love being a “mutt” and i love my mutts! AKC should not say pure breeds are good so buy one that aint cool. AKC has no clue that saving an animal is so much more important than buying one and having one killed!! peace out people!

  • lynda downie says:

    Excellent letter Ingrid!

  • drew says:

    Please offer Ophra the positive challange of an intensive course in the truth of what is done to animals in which you will educate her expose her to the real facts not holding anything back on the issues and just give the facts let the facts present themselves and offer that Oprah could let her audience follow and learn these facts along with her. Oprah has done some other stories that have made her uncomfortable and have been very eye opening and this would be a journey Peta could offer her and her audience to really show what is going on take away the veil would she have the courage and heart to take this journey. Make it an open invitation for her and her friends and I think she could be convinced to do this. Fit it in with the other things she talks about and does with her show how she says her show is for a greater purpose and all.

  • drew says:

    It is really great for Oprah to finally do this puppy mill show. However her silence on other issues of extreme torture is a loud show itself. I would like to see someone from Peta on Oprah’s show ask her about fur and rodeos and vivisections and KFC and countless other specific cruelties. I don’t think Oprah needs to be treated so gently that she can’t legitimately be put on the spot on these other issues to give her view and explain what side she is one with these issues and why. She could speak against the fur atrocities and the vile celebrity promotions of fur. Just becouse she does good with puppy mills does not mean be weak in confronting her on other issues. Rather it should encourage and give reason to confront her on these other huge tortures! Please ask her to let Peta present to her the facts on these other huge atrocities and ask her to let Peta put her on the spot and educate her on these issues and have a relationship with her and get her response on each of the major tortures and there are many. This really needs to be done. Puppies should not suffer but they can be vivisected? Puppies should not suffer but chickens can be boiled alive? Puppies should not suffer but… etc. etc.

  • Heather says:

    Everybody wants to blame every breeder as a whole. Yet if one were to look at the majority of animals in shelters they are mixes that are a result of “unwanted litters” because someone did not spaynueter and either let the dog out and run around or the dog got out on accident. Yes there are purebreed rescues that have dogs as a result of again irresponsible ownership. Are the dogs that come from these places any less derserving of a home simply because they are purebred? Stopping breeding is not the answer but having and enforcing strict regulations such as inspections number of dogs breeding and the number of litters is a far better idea. The uneducated and impluse people who buy these dogs from puppy mills and backyard breeders are the ones keeping them going. If people educated themselves more before they took the dog home and dedicated themselves to the long haul of taking care of the animal there would be fewer homeless dogs. I find it interesting that there are hundreds of kittens born because people are less apt to spaynueter cats and more likely to let them roam than dogs and as a result there are so many cats looking for homes. Yet one rarely hears about blaming the cat breeders. People are turning this into a breed of dog issue when it is a matter of where the dog came from. Many mixed breeds likely come from puppy mills.

  • Robson Nascimento says:

    Ingrid Thank you so much for sending such a beautiful letter. We will not stop fighting until Puppy Mills are shut down.

  • Tracey says:

    i watched this show and was deeply disturbed by the fact that they mentioned that the puppies are treated “like livestock” and that is wrong. Can someone tell me why a puppy doesn’t deserve to suffer but a calf piglet or chick does? Yes it was aweful to see the puppies crammed in little cages in desparate need of medical attention and love. But how does a carnivore stand up and say that is wrong and then turn around and eat a meal of animals treated exactly the same way?

  • April says:

    As usual great letter Ingrid! Hopefully Miss Winfrey will do more stories to educate the public on the horrific treatment of animals of all kinds factory farms cows for leather fur farms etc. Maybe she can be turned into an animal rights activist. That’d be nice. She needs to start adopting only from shelters or rescue groups…

  • rose says:

    Yes backyard breeding and puppy mills are very bad. There does seem to be a lot of controversy about the AKC though. AKC is against the unregulated breeding of dogs and “designer dogs.” Nowhere have they stated that purebreds are superior or even that mixed breeds are inferior. Amber again no one said that purebreds are better. I consider it very hypocritical that you say it is wrong to favor purebreds but favoring a mutt is just fine as you claim mutts are superior. Now to clarify I think mass or unregulated breeding is horrible and have never bred a dog and never plan to.

  • BRUNO MASURE says:

    Ingrid Newkirk and Oprah are blessed because they give your time your mind and your life to make a better world. We love both. Bruno Masure

  • lizbeth says:

    Dear Oprah.. and you thought the puppy mills were bad.. most prob you dont’ konw yet.. still.. still about fur farms .. they are even worse.. at least at the puppy mills most of if not all of the puppies bred get a chance to go to a good fur farms.. all the baby animals bred there..face.. the same fate as their parent.. ie.LIFE IMPRISONEMENT AND..a DEATH SENTENCE.. each and every one.. you pity the imprisoned dogs in puppy mills and purport never to support this horrible trade ever agian..and then you turn the other cheek and support an even more HORRENDOUS trade in the inhumane treatment and killing of animals.. yes fur buying and wearing furs.. saying you abhor one..and yet support another .. is well.. you may as well say you object to dogfighting but enjoy watching bullfighting.. as is tend to ‘draw’ the line where and as far as your sympathies will go.. if you really were the caring person you always tend to purport and show to your public and audiences you wouldn’t wear furs!! it really is as simple as that!

  • Lynn O'Toole says:

    I’ve been to many of Missouri’s infamous dog auctions. Here the dogs that will be used for breeding or are nearing the end of their productive breeding lives are sold to people interested in making a fast buck. Here you will find the auctioneer making statements like “Don’t let that messed up jaw keep you from bidding those puppies don’t come from there. If she can produce one more litter you’ve got your money back right there.” Here you find the light of hopelessness in these intelligent animals’ eyes. Here you also find the AKC present ready to provide those “papers”. NO dog whether from a shelter or a breeder should be adopted or sold intact. Spaying and neutering should be a requirement before they are released to anyone and that is a standard that the AKC should require. THEN you will see a significant impact nationwide in the numbers of homeless pets euthanized.

  • kelly says:

    And I found this about the AKC puppy mill business httpweblogs.baltimoresun.comfeaturesmuttsblog200804akcpraisesoprahexpose.htmlcomments

  • Nora says:

    Well done Ingrid. I was one of these ignorant persons to buy a purebreed dog and no their not better than a shelter dog. My next dog that I adopt will be from a shelter and kudos to Oprah for exposing me my family to the sad and tragic world of these poor dogs in puppy mills. Thank you PETA for your work in giving these poor animals a voice.

  • kelly says:

    There is a propuppy mill lobbbyist who seems to be making terroristic threats against people who expose puppy mills or even talk about them He apparently has a history of this His name is John Yates and he runs the American Sporting Dog Alliance Oil City PA which supports all kinds of puppy mills including hunting dog puppy mills Apparently he is not just a puppy mill lobbyist he owns a puppy mill See this httpweblogs.baltimoresun.comfeaturesmuttsblog200804evenbeforeherpuppymill.html This John Yates is not just a liar he is making all kinds of threats and seems to be violent. I hope the authorities can protect innocent people from his activity!

  • kelly says:

    Most of the AKC’s big bucks come from registering puppies born in puppy mills! They are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. They even have a Puppy Mill Committee. The AKC breeder Patti Strand who is on that has a group called NAIA that opposes puppy mill regulations. And supports animal cruelty. You can find these propuppy mill breeders in breed clubs breed federations and the big fakeout RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER groups that is code for breeder! These are the people lobbying FOR the puppy mills and against rules and laws in YOUR state. All that puppy mill money pays for their dog shows and many of them also are running commercial businesses themselves even though they claim to be “responsible” They don’t want to get licensed and pay taxes.

  • John Carmody says:

    Well done Ingrid let’s hope this letter also makes her click and say no more FUR!

  • Barbara says:

    Just go to the Oprah website and check out the discussion board on this Puppy Mill show. You will not believe how many AKC Backyard Breeders are throwing hissy fits and bizarrely attacking PETA for “not doing anything” about the puppy mills. It seems that many of them believe this is some kind of huge conspiracy to “take away their rights”. I’m not kidding even though it is somewhat comical. All of them are of course “responsible breeders” … as if you’ll ever meet a breeder who proclaims himherself to be an “irresponsible breeder”. Still it’s fantastic that Oprah Winfrey did this show. That she said she would in future only adopt is a huge win for the animals. I hope she will continue to champion more causes like this.

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I guess Ingrid didn’t want to step on Oprah’s toes by asking her to please clear her closets of any furs she may have hanging there. So I am still wondering does Oprah still wear fur or not? You can’t claim to love animals if you still wear their hides on your back!

  • Eric Silberstein says:

    AKC jumped in to get on Oprah’s good side in order to create a better public view. You might say they used Oprah for good PR. Shame on you AKC!

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    This is unbelieveable. The A.K.C. are nothing but a bunch of mental midgets. Great letter Ingrid. Once again I am speechless! Keep fighting the good fight!!!!! Peace!

  • HannaBanana says:

    No kidding! When I heard them speaking on her show I thought “For shit’s sake shut up!” Thank you PETA for sending Oprah this letter.

  • beth says:

    that’s a really beautiful letter!

  • Amber Falobas says:

    I agree! I HATE the AKC and the Ididerog! The AKC trys to make it seem like Purebred dogs are so much better than mutts. WELL EXSCUSE ME! but I have two purebred dogs. and they are not any bettter than any mutt I have seen! I have a german shepard who is almost 3. We found her tied to a chain in front of a post office starving to death and strangling herself. She was left there to DIE at the age of 1. It was very sad! we took her in and we feed her every day 3 times a day take her inside in bad weather and shower her with love! I also have a purebred chihuahua. We found her roaming the streets of Johnson county as a NEWBORN! We took her in and she is almost 13 now. My cousin has a dog Spot who is a beagle mix with something else I can’t remember…but he is the most adorable loveable dog! I think honestly mutts are better than purebreds! people think just because their dogs have PAPERS mean they are better PLEASE. That would be like saying “hey i’m full blooded german and because i don’t have a parent who is mixed with ANYTHING else i am perfect.” haha please. and btw I’m not full german i am a mix between native american german scottish irish. Proud to be a mutt thank you! How many people in the US are MUTTS! I’d say most if not all of them. Honestly. Think about this people. I’m out.