On January 1, 2012, 2 new laws – the Welfare of Greyhounds Act and Dogs Breeding Establishments Act – were introduced in Ireland to control puppy farming (ie. puppy mills). For so long, Ireland was known as the Puppy Mill of Europe and after years of animal welfare activists fighting legislators, the legislators finally listened. These 2 new acts created new legislation specifically aimed at banning all puppy farms/mills.
With this new legislation, there are 3 key points: 1.) Veterinarians now have the right to inspect all breeding locations and immediately shut down any facility that does not meet the new strict standards of care and environmental conditions. 2.) Just as in shelters, all puppies are required to be microchipped so that history can be traced directly to the breeder. 3.) All breeders must be registered with their local authority.
Although this new legislation still allows commercial breeding, along with heavy regulation by veterinarians and local authority and strict standards of care, the puppy mill industry will become costly for operators and eventually mills will be shut down. In short, this new legislation is a huge step in the right direction.
So with this recent victory overseas, where does the U.S. stand? Unfortunately, federal legislators and the U.S.D.A have yet to see the importance of strict regulations on puppy mills and thus leave it up to each state to control their standards. Although state by state there are victories, there are not enough. Despite undercover investigations and ongoing petitions to shut down puppy mills and commercial breeders, the fight with legislators and the U.S.D.A. is constantly an uphill battle from state to state. While Ireland WAS known as the Puppy Mill of Europe, Missouri is considered the Puppy Mill of the U.S.
Last month, the Today Show aired the Humane Society’s investigation into Purebred Breeders, LLC, a huge online puppy broker who claimed to be selling purebred puppies while in fact they were all directly from puppy mills. This investigation not only opened a new door to deceptive online puppy sales but it also just proves the widespread presence of horrific puppy mills nationwide.
If you still don’t know about puppy mills, please read my blog post “How much is that doggie in the window really worth?” for more information.
While the U.S. and many other countries are tailing Ireland on it’s new legislation, the campaigning against puppy mills must continue until there is victory similar to Ireland, if not better by completely shutting down all commercial breeding. As I’ve stated before in a previous post, while I highly encourage adoption, IF someone prefers to buy then they should research licensed, reputable breeders. Any backyard breeders, online (sight unseen) breeders and pet stores should be completely avoided. The best pet owner is also the most informed.
The U.S. will slowly but surely be on its way to catch up to Ireland. But that won’t happen unless more people become informed, speak up, and take action. Ireland set the bar high but I believe the U.S. has the capability to set it higher.
Here are actions that you can take to make your voice heard and shut down puppy mills:
If you know of any other puppy mill petitions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.