Friday, June 05, 2009

Puppy Mills?

Gail Goodman sent this interesting essay from the UKC on "Puppy Mills" What are they? Should we even use the word?

"Twenty years ago, animal activists created the phrase “puppy mill”. Back then, it was only applied to commercial breeders, and then only to those who were breaking the law by neglecting their dogs. In a futile attempt to placate activists, many hobby breeders adopted the term “puppy mill” and used it to separate “them” from “us”. It was a mistake then, and it’s rapidly becoming fatal today. Every one of these so-called “anti-puppy-mill bills” has a definition that could easily include breeders of hunting and show dogs. Every time you use that phrase, you’re contributing to the idea that dog breeders need to be regulated out of existence."

There is a lot more here and you should read it all. It can happen anywhere. Just today Vladimir Beregovoy forwarded me a letter from a desperate Oregon breeder. In part:

"I'm mounting a campaign here in Oregon to file a class action lawsuit against the State for these laws as they take away both our Fourth and Fifth Amendments Rights. I found a non-profit group, Oregonians In Action, who fight for individual owners' rights, particularly in land use. I'm also getting one together in our county (Columbia) because of all the new changes plus their Land Use head, Todd Dugdale, told me I have to get down below 10 dogs by Jan 1, file for a $960 Type II Home Occupation permit, and pay $30 per dog per year in order to be able to keep over 3 dogs now. And I live in unincorporated county. I asked what if I had more than 3 dogs, he said they could all be confiscated, and if I did the rest (Type II etc) anything over 9 needs to be put to sleep. Plus I would be fined $500 per day plus have to pay for all the confiscated dogs' care at unreasonable fees if this happened. And my kennel wouldn't pass their new rules anyway as it now requires 5 acres minimum with a heated & airconditioned building at least 100 feet from my house and would have to have a separate kitchen/bathing facility in it, with concrete floors with a center drain with a separate septic system. This is for over 9 dogs and for a commercial kennel. There is no place for private breeders under these draconian laws.

"Mind you, I've been continually and duly licensed and inspected as a hobby kennel here at my current address for 20 years now. But there is no grandfathering allowed now."

To paraphrase Trotsky again (and it WAS Trotsky!): "You may not be interested in AR, but AR is interested in you."


Gregg Barrow said...

Well, as Pogo would say “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us”
Sound wisdom from the furry little sage of the Okefenokee.

We started by ignoring the AR’s, and when that didn’t work, we attempted to placate and argue our case with dubious wisdom. Many will toss around terms like “puppy mill” and “backyard breeder” when they are trying to discredit another breeder or take the attention off themselves and their practices.
But casting the blame elsewhere in attempt to protect yourself or your cause just doesn’t work.
A good example would be the television interview with the NOFCA rep that preceded the introduction of AB 2110. His comment about coursing being “better” or “more humane” then gun hunting didn’t do much for the cause.

Been fighting this battle for to long, and I refuse to count the cost of all the rescues I deal with. I’ve been roasted by several breed clubs for suggesting that they set the standard and police the membership from within. And in my darkest moments, I’ve been tempted to write out the tithe check to the HSUS and simply say Amen.


Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago? The ARs "invented" the term puppy mill twenty years ago?

Then why have I been hearing it since the sixties? I actually believe it came into use in the 50s-60s to describe the government subsidized "puppy farms" that began springing up every where after the war.

The ARs didn't invent this term. Either the people or the media, or both, did, long before PETA took it's first breath.

Heather Houlahan said...

Thanks, anonymous, I was about to say the same thing.

I can clearly remember reading about puppy mills in mainstream dog publications in the early 1970's. But apparently the word was invented in 1989 by Ingrid Newkirk, who owns a time machine.

It's a useful term. It emphasizes the industrial nature of puppy production as commerce, on par with broiler chickens and feedlot steers.

As for "them and us" -- kennel clubs like to whine about how the ARs want to "divide and conquer" -- while advocating a brilliant strategy of defending the indefensible and allying oneself with scoundrels. Thus making the AR charge that "all breeders are the same" a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One might want to maintain some more skepticism about an unsigned "article" on the website of a commercial registry that calls itself a "club" and sometimes insinuates that it is a charity. In fact, when they were trying to sell me Christmas cards, the come-on was that buying their crap would help them in their fight against puppy mills!

Tom said...

The breeder clubs screwed themselves over by throwing so-called puppy mill owners under the bus. The first rule of this fight is that you don't feed the monster.

Mike Spies said...

the term 'puppy mill' is pejorative. So is 'backyard breeder'. The former has long outgrown its original meaning characterizing a commercial breeding kennel. Now it means what ever HSUS wants it to mean when it is time to sit down with a politician and write up some new laws to save the world. Backyard breeder? Just a term that is applied to any dog operation that is not a puppy mill.

Get it? These folks want to end animal ownership.

Ask yourself, "What high moral crimes or cruelty is going to be prevented by these laws?" and. "how many dogs will end up in shelters to be killed as a result of these laws?"

Shelter killings of dogs have been declining since the late 1970's from, I believe 27 million to less than 4 million. We are in danger of regressing as more and more 'humane' laws are pressed on us through the intensive 50 state lobbying effort being waged by HSUS and its allies.

If you do nothing, you will get the laws you deserve.