“Plan for Scotland’s first industrial puppy farm in Ayrshire met with fierce objections.”
And I say it should be.
This was the headline for a recent news article in the Sunday Post. It details the proposals for a 40-dog farm in Ayrshire, Scotland, for breeding puppies for cash. Those who have asked for consideration of their proposal are actually linked to the people responsible for the puppy farm in Fivemiletown in Ireland. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-32308177
These animals are farmed, quite literally, as cows and sheep are. Bred purely for monetary value and kept in squalid conditions so that every penny made goes into the sellers pockets.
Now, you might ask, what the difference is between farming cattle and dogs? Surely it’s an animal therefore the same? But it’s not. Cows, sheep, pigs etc, are usually found in fields, eating grass in large areas with a certain amount of freedom. They need to be vaccinated, cared for correctly, their health maintained and monitored regularly.
Dogs on puppy farms, rarely see the outside of their cage. They are rarely given medication unless vitally required therefore no vaccinations. They are usually fed the cheapest of food, left in dark dingy sheds or trailers without any contact with humans or other dogs. Often uncared for, most dogs are matted beyond all recognition and riddled with infection, disease and infestations. Dogs are also companion animals and crave attention and companionship, therefore life within a cage in such terrible conditions affects the dog’s mental health. What is also so tragic is that once a bitch is unable to produce viable or healthy litters after non-stop breeding, they are killed having never lived a life other than having multiple babies in a cage.
The puppies are often treated the same and live under the same conditions. Often they live in the same cage as their deceased siblings, taken by illness and infection and congenital maladies. They are cleaned up prior to a sale and often have malformations, heart conditions, deformities and such. Being bred from such a small gene pool and within such horrendous conditions AND from failing bitches who have birthed a hundred litters, it is unsurprising these puppies are unwell and often unmanageable.
I could show you pictures and give you statistical evidence of why puppy farms are not a good idea and should be damned, but there is another way to look at the problem. I have often asked you to imagine the life of another or an animal, this time is no different.
Imagine being a dog, a loyal and loving dog, who just wants to see its humans happy. As a pup you are taken and put into a cage, and you very nearly never leave that cage. You are forced to have as many puppies as your body will allow, while being malnourished, starved of light, attention and stimulation, while being quite miserable every single day for your entire life. Forever.
And the reason your life is so utterly tragic? Because that human you wanted to see happy wants to take your puppies and sell them for top prices then put you back into the cycle again. And worst of all, not all puppy farms are illegal, therefore no one has to even care about the fact you suffer.
Puppy farms are the result of greed wishing to be part of supply and demand for an ever growing designer-dog or pure-breed fad. To me, a dog is a dog. A dog doesn’t need a fancy title on papers. It doesn’t need to be a special colour or have a certain nose shape or leg shape. It doesn’t need to be registered with a breeding institution to let me tell others how fantastical I am for owning a special dog, because, to me? ALL dogs are special. Every single dog ever born, be it through a recognised breeder or through a back road rendezvous, is a special life. I understand that folk like a certain breed, I understand that some might just want to be one-up on their neighbours, but that’s not what owning a dog is all about. At least, not for me.
And it doesn’t just happen to dogs. Take a look at this disturbing article in which unscrupulous sellers shaved kittens to gain high price for what they sold as sought after Sphinx cats! What length some will go to earn a good bit of money is disgusting.
Every dog I’ve owned has come from a rescue center, and they have been the most adorable, loving and loyal dogs I’ve had the pleasure to know. They have been mixed breeds–the one I have now, my little Bella Notte, has four main breeds in her blood; Rottweiler, Lurcher, Whippet and Labrador. She’s a mixed can of awesome and uniquely individual and so utterly loyal and loving that I don’t need a certificate nor have to pay up to £1000 or more to love her.
Greed and superiority issues are what has created the dreaded puppy mills and farms, otherwise we would all have a little Bella, and I’m sure be much happier and better off for it!
Would you seriously consider buying a designer dog or pure breed if you knew they came from a mill or farm, knew they suffered to come into existence, knew their parents are probably still in that dark cage churning out other poorly puppies? I’d hope not. Unfortunately not all puppy farms or mills are large scale. They can be a few dogs eternally breeding at the back of someones home. It is still farming, just not on as grand a scale as some and often just as awful.
You can make a stand against this cruel trade. Sign petitions and raise awareness of the farmed dog plights to local councilors and politicians. IF you suspect or know of neglect or abuse, report it! Get them investigated.
Another way is to spread the word of how dogs are treated in these puppy farms and mills. Let others know and get them to understand that the cute puppies are more than likely unhealthy, mentally unbalanced and uncared for.
But the main thing you can do to fight against these farms is to RESCUE A DOG FROM A SHELTER OR RESCUE HOME!!!
Have a little look at these statistics from Dogs Trust in the UK.
My dogs have all came from the Dogs Trust. With so many dogs in shelters and rescue homes across the country, there really should be no reason for puppy farms. Yes, some people want a PUPPY, but is that puppy going to love you more than a rescue dog who stares out its window hoping that the next human might just take it home? And there are often puppies IN The rescue homes, litters born on the street or to homes who can’t cope. It’s worth calling ahead to the shelter to find out if there are puppies available if it is a puppy you are set on having.
The funny thing about rescuing a dog, is that you never choose the dog, the dog chooses you. And for an animal which has often been neglected and abused during it’s short life, to choose YOU for it’s family? That’s a special thing indeed. How did they choose me? Out of all the dogs in the shelters we looked through, the dogs which chose us just glued themselves to us where the others did not. And they pushed their nose against mine, a sign for me that the dog wants to come home with me. Rescue dogs are a beautiful animal, and while they often require a lot of love and attention to undo the harm done to them, they are so worth it!
F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE