Companion animals are a big part of Australian culture with around 5 million of the 7.5 million households in Australia being homes to dogs, cats and other animals.
The companion animal industry is big business and estimates suggest it generates a profit of $8 billion annually.
Large-scale factory farming of dogs is happening in every state in Australia.
Dogs are hidden away from the public, in large sheds within stalls or cages, with improper bedding, no veterinary care and are totally deprived of their basic needs.
Dogs on puppy farms suffer psychological torment as they are kept in a continual state of pregnancy, are not socialised or free to exhibit natural behaviours.
They languish in filthy conditions and suffer chronic illnesses due to complete disregard for their wellbeing.
The puppies are shipped to pet stores; or sold online.
The puppies often suffer from health, mental and physical impairments as a result of their breeding.
And thus, the cycle of potential abandonment, overpopulation of shelters and pounds, and ultimate euthanasia of countless animals continues.
More Australians now have dogs as pets than ever before.
While this is great, sadly this demand also can stem to an increase in breeders, backyard breeders and puppy farms.
Pet stores multiply, and shelters overflow.
Eventually, the numbers of animals outweigh the number of suitable homes, and sadly, tens of thousands of healthy dogs are euthanised at pounds and shelters each year in Australia.
Pet shops are highly stressful environments for young puppies.
With a main motivation to make a high profit, pet shops treat puppies purely as a commodity.
Animals sold are not required to be desexed and their origins are questionable.
Potential owners are rarely screened, encouraging impulse buying and, often, unsuitable breed to home matching.
Pet shops successfully dupe the public into thinking the fluffy puppies, cute kittens, baby rats, and other animals, come from “local breeders” or “reputable breeding facilities”.
The reality is, most animals will come from intensive breeding facilities like puppy farms.
Impulse buying in pet shops can also lead to abandonment when puppies get a little older and start having behavioral issues.
The great news is, more and more pet shops are changing directions, and partnering with shelters to sell exclusively adoptable animals.
Animal Liberation Queensland is working to promote three ideals:
1) Entirely shut down puppy factory farming in QLD;
2) Mandatory sale exclusively of only adopted pets from registered shelters in pet shops and online trading.
3) Promote the adopt don’t shop message for your next pet.
What can you do?
1) Adopt Don’t Shop: Never buy an animal from a pet shop or gumtree/ trading post. Always adopt a rescue from a shelter, and ensure they are desexed.
Shelter and rescue animals makes the BEST friends because:
• A second chance at life and love for mans best friend – SAVE A LIFE! ADOPT!
• The cost of your new friend includes desexing, health checks and any relevant medical disclaimers upfront
• You are always able to contact shelter after you taking your next family member home
2) Report Cruelty – If you witness cruelty, or questioning a suspected puppy mill, please call RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
3) Practise responsible pet ownership
• Ensure that your companion for life receives regular health checks
• Feed them a balanced diet
• Exercise them and play with them
• They are part of the family – let them in!
• Never chain an animal
• They’re reliant on you and will love you forever in return ☺
4) Educate Pet shops – If you see animals for sale in pet shops, politely discuss your concerns with staff or write to the manager. Suggesting they sell adoptable animals from shelter to save lives.
5) Teach children the realities of puppy farming.
A few things about it: When many decide to search for the perfect canine companion, they go “window shopping” at the pet store or, increasingly, online—where cute puppies might frolic behind the glass or stare soulfully through the computer screen.
Most of these puppies encountered in either location come from extremely broken homes: puppy factories.
Puppy factories are operations where people breed large numbers of dogs to sell in the commercial pet trade.
Puppy mills are also places where profits take precedence over animal welfare.
Female dogs used for breeding often have a lifetime of behavioural issues, fear and stress.
Dogs are often kept in small, empty crates for most of their life without ever seeing the daylight.
Consumers are intentionally prevented from ever seeing the breeding operations because they would be appalled at what they would find.
At the mills, the animals are not recognized as sentient beings; rather, they are mere production stock.
This cruelty inherent in puppy factories — lack of exercise, minimal human interaction and social enrichment — can be entirely legal.
Victoria is the only state in Australia with meaningful legislation that mitigates some of the problems associated with puppy farming, however this does not prevent animals from puppy farms interestate being shipped into Victoria to be sold.
While some Australian puppy factories breach cruelty laws, many others operate completely within regulations.
It can be legal to keep a mother dog confined to a barren concrete cell in a shed for 23 hours a day, churning out litter after litter of puppies, and denying her everything that makes a dog’s life worth living.
Most puppy farms are secretive and out of public view and are almost impossible for authorities to locate.
There are likely thousands of dogs living in squalid conditions on these puppy farms, but because of secrecy of the industry and lack of proper regulation it’s impossible to know exactly how many there really are.
Selling through pet shops or online allows unscrupulous breeders to hide from unsuspecting customers where these puppies are born, and how their parents are treated.
They may employ fancy websites and glossy ads of happy, healthy dogs, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
The simplest and most direct action you can take to end puppy factory cruelty is to adopt from a rescue group or shelter.
My best regards to all, Venus