“Adopt, don’t shop” has been a well-known slogan for a long time, but thanks to the movie “twelve nights”, which garnered national attention, the slogan “adopt, don’t shop” has become very trendy and a must-use for animal lovers. But, other than popularizing it, one must examine why animals should be adopted rather than being bought. Because it’s cheaper? Because it’s considered more kind-hearted? Because it’s trendy?
The answer to this question is worth thinking over. To animal lovers, every animal is a sentient being whose life matters. Not only does it apply to pedigrees but to all breeds, including mixed breeds. But, there is a myth about pedigree dogs that must be addressed. Of course, those pedigree puppies seen in pet store windows are adorable and they do draw in crowds to ogle over them. But it’s what you don’t see behind that pet store window that it what is of grave concern.
We usually equate pedigrees with high prices, a condition which reflects the mentality of human beings who see animals as material objects. Once behind the store window, these animals have become objects, likened to that of a moving doll, just waiting for a price tag to be put on their heads. In order to “produce” these fine products with the lowest cost, breeding facilities need to ensure a steady stream is available at a high profit to them. Thus the illegal puppy mill is born, a place that is like hell on earth, devoid of any welfare for the animals forced to live there.
Ask yourself this, why is it that pet stores only sell cute baby dogs and cats? And, if they aren’t sold once they grow up, where do they go? Most commonly there are 3 options for a pet store puppy that no one has bought.
1. To be abandoned on the streets
2. To be taken to a public shelter
3. To be returned to the puppy mill where they were born and
start reproducing for the rest of their lives just like their parents. In order to keep their profits high, puppy mill dogs are kept in very small spaces, forced to reproduce as young as possible and as often as possible. Taiwan’s Animal Protection Act states that breeders can only allow their bitches to start breeding after the dog is a year old, and they can only breed 3 times within 2 years. Furthermore a female pedigree must not breed more than 7 times within a lifetime. Sadly most bitches in illegal puppy mills normally start breeding around 6 months old, non stop until they are no longer physically able to produce. It is estimated that a bitch will only have 3-4 months of gestation and nursing period and will produce a litter of 5-10 puppies every 3-4 months. If a breeder sells each puppy for 5000nt each, he could be making a net profit of 200,000nt a year per bitch. Despite exremely high profits, the illegal puppy mills still don’t provide large spaces and comfortable environments for the animals in their care. Puppy mills are a business not involved in animals or animal welfare, but purely concerned about profits.
This business model is based solely on supply and demand, thus animal welfare organisations around the world strongly urge the public to help put an end to the need for cruel puppy mills and adopt instead of buying pets. Even though many pet shops look great on the outside, it can be hard to identify the souce of the animals they sell, due to loopholes in the law. Many pet shops disguise themselves as legal pet stores, however they are actually the breeding facilities themlselves. This way they can efficiently lower their costs and increase their profits.
Currently, there is no law that requires the pet shops or breeding facilities to make sure there is a clear adoption plan for animals that aren’t sold. Therefore, animals who don’t have a commercial value, can be discarded in whichever way the boss sees fit. Those abandoned animals have not only suffered serious damage to their organs from years of reproduction, but also can have serious diseases that will affect them for the rest of their lives and some are even near death. Those who are lucky to have survived, could also suffer from serious behavioural problems due to the life lived soley inside a wire cage. Sadly, some can’t even walk due to being caged for their whole lives. Unfortunately, these dogs require a large amount of care and patience to help then with the rehabilitation process.
Now think back to those cute little puppies in the beautiful windows of pet stores, they don’t seem so innocent now do they? In fact, their short lives are surrounded by abuse, neglect and sadness. Their moms and dads could still be living in hellish conditions in illegal puppy mills. As long as the myth about pedigree dogs exists, illegal puppy mills will continue to exist.
Currently, Taiwan’s Animal Protection Act only governs breeding facility for dogs, every other animal sadly has been over looked. Because of insuffience laws, it becomes nearly impossible to fine pet stores and properly manage breeders. Once again, the stress must be put on that this is a supply and demand industry, once the demand stops, so will the supply. Many of the dogs that come out of puppy mills will have hereditary genetic problems due to inbreeding, thus adopting dogs can stop the cycle of hereditary congenital diseases as well as reduce the number of homeless animals. Another commonly forgotten trait of mixed breeds is their originality, you can be sure yours will be unique, the only one in the world. Not to mention, mixed breeds are generally much healthier than pedigrees and don’t have the array of genetic diseases associated with pure breeds.
Together, we can put a stop to the puppy mill; adopt, don’t shop!