18 April 2012
Commercial Dog-Breeding Facilities
Pet shops give many people the impression of happy, eager, and healthy puppies that are in desperate need of a home and family. Sometimes people feel bad for the animals stuck in the small cages and decide they’re going to save or rescue them. People who buy these animals don’t realize that they’re supporting the commercial dog-breeding industry. Commercial dog-breeding facilities treat animals as a product; they are concerned with quantity and the profit they’ll receive instead of quality and the animals’ health. These facilities need to be banned for three reasons: to prevent further health deterioration of the animals; to preserve the lowering of breeds’ genetic traits which result from unregulated breeding; and they give reputable breeders a bad name.
Before we examine specific issues surrounding professional dog breeders, first we should define some terms and give a general background of the problem. Many people have heard about the animal cruelty behind puppy mills; however, they have no idea about commercial dog-breeding facilities. The term “puppy mill” is used to describe large-scale dog breeding operations that place income over the animals’ welfare. Puppy mills don’t breed responsibly and the conditions they keep the animals in are generally illegal. Commercial dog-breeding facilities are also large scale breeding facilities that place the well being of animals below making a profit, yet these facilities are subject to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulating and enforcing of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) laws and regulations. The USDA regulates the breeding facilities with the minimum standards for the animals’ health; these are the same laws that are used for chickens, cows, pigs and other animals, which are slaughtered. The law requires that each animal is provided with “adequate housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures” (USDA Animal Welfare Act). The USDA does not have the funds or proper training to enforce these laws, so most commercial dog-breeding facilities continue to thrive while their animals are suffering. The USDA also does not have any regulations for the facilities if they sell directly to the public, which includes online sales. These loopholes in the system cause for an unbalanced, irresponsible, and unhealthy system of dog breeding.
Having seen that commercial breeding in general is a problem, let’s examine the first specific issue, that of the deterioration of dogs’ health at these facilities. Commercial dog-breeding facilities don’t keep the dogs’ health in mind, even in severe and life threatening cases. When it comes to animals’ health in these facilities, there are government rules and regulations with punishments for violators and repeat offenders. Inspectors must visit commercial dog-breeding facilities at least twice a month; if there’s a violation, they file reports and give out punishments to those who have violated the laws. A May 2010 audit report filed by the United States Department of Agriculture uncovers the truth of inspectors’ visits to commercial dog-breeding facilities: “Expecting that the dealers would improve their standards of care, the agency chose to take little or no enforcement actions against most violators” (USDA Animal and Plant Health 10). Inspectors wouldn’t choose to give any stipulation to violators, even when they were repeat offenders. Inspectors never followed up visits to ensure that the proper changes were made, nor did they make the proper amount of check ups required per year. The conditions of commercial dog-breeding facilities are disgusting and irresponsible, and the dogs are not properly brought up and cared for. The May 2010 audit report filed against USDA inspectors mentions an Oklahoma breeding facility that had numerous dogs infested with...