When you think of puppies, what typically comes to mind? Cute creatures full of fun and life? A mini-version of man’s best friend? There are clearly lots of positives about puppies – yet many of them become pets in much more negative circumstances. Recent reports have revealed that ’puppy farms’ are on the rise in the UK: a method of breeding dogs for sale on a big scale.
The RSPCA released the data that in 2015 it received, on average, a call about a puppy farm every three hours. It’s a big concern; as these ‘farms’ are places where puppies are treated like products – pulled away from their mums early in order to sell for big money. It’s cold and cruel – and that’s why it’s important that you know about it; and let others know too.
I used to think that pet shops were places for animal lovers… but not anymore. Many puppies which have been ‘farmed’ end up in a pet shops, behind bars. When you think about it, this isn’t fair at all. Rather than being brought up as part of the family, so many dogs are being ‘produced’ and ‘displayed’ as if they were toys and trinkets. Think about the popularity of pugs for example – with some people even going online in order to ‘shop for’ a dog they like.
And of course puppies can look cute and happy, even in pet shops, with excited eyes and wagging tails. But what lies underneath can cause much deeper damage: we shouldn’t forget about how they have been raised. When animals are treated like objects, they start to see other things around them as objects too. This means a puppy produced by a ‘farming’ process may struggle to interact properly or suffer from behaviour problems in the future. Farmed puppies are also four times as likely to suffer from illnesses such as Parvovirus, according to the RSPCA.
Puppy farming is a nasty industry which needs to be addressed – after all, puppies should be part of a family, not part of a production line. What is important is that if you care, then keep aware. How we can all take steps forward in tackling the culture of puppy farming:
• Open heart - Every child deserves to have a loving family. So why should dogs be any different? Ensuring a puppy has had access to its parents, as well as loving humans, matters
• Open eyes - According to The Kennel Club, 53% of people who bought a puppy last year did not see its breeding environment. People may be buying puppies as ‘presents’, especially over Christmas, but their past matters too. Seeing the conditions puppies are raised in is essential
• Open mind – make the matter heard! Why not tell your friends and classmates about a form of farming which needs to stop. Speaking up about it is important
Bringing an end to puppy farms could be considered a big resolution for 2016; and by being open and increasing awareness about the issue, it’s a clear step in the right direction!
By Emily Oldfield