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One thing pretty much everyone can agree on is that puppy mills(and kitten mills) are horrific places and they need to be put out of business immediately. Most puppy mill puppies are sold in pet stores, which means buying dogs from pet stores puts money directly into the pockets of puppy millers. In order to stop this horrendous animal abuse,many advocate for adopting homeless animals from animal shelters and rescues, rather than buying from a pet store or breeder.

Many are quick to argue, however, that buying from “responsible breeders” does not contribute to this problem, and that it’s much better than buying a “puppy mill” dog from a pet store. While, yes, it is definitely better than contributing to puppy mills, breeding is not “responsible,” regardless of how well the animals are cared for. Not only does buying from a breeder contribute to the problem of pet overpopulation, but purebred dogs face a host of health problems that mixed breeds are far less likely to develop.

Pet Overpopulation

Right now we have far too many cats and dogs living in shelters who need homes and not enough people willing to adopt them. Buying a dog, no matter the seller, is still a part of the problem.

Why? Because when one buys a dog, they’re paying for them to be born. We’re telling the seller to continue breeding more and more animals for our benefit and their profit. For every dog that is bought, there is another dog at the shelter who will not be adopted.

Animals have made it abundantly clear that they are capable of making babies without our help. We’re told to spay and neuter our dogs so that they don’t bring more puppies into the world, but breeders are bringing more puppies into the world every day.

Purebreds Are Prone to Health Problems

Did you know that English Bulldogs don’t usually deliver their puppies vaginally, nor are they likely to breed without assistance?

Labrador Retrievers also are prone to diseases such as hip dysplasia and bloat, a disease in which the stomach becomes too full of water, food and air, leading to the stomach to twist. This easily leads to death.

Skin problems, cataracts, spinal disc issues and a whole host of other conditions ail many purebred dogs. Dogs who are inbred are particularly susceptible to health problems, but this issue isn’t unique to inbred dogs. Purebred dogs who are not inbred face them too.

At the end of the day, the continuos overbreeding of purebred dogs is leading to the proliferation of sick animals. There is a lot of debate on whether mixed dogs are actually healthier than purebreds, but the fact of the matter is a dog who is mixed is far less likely to develop breed specific diseases.

Tail-Docking and Ear-Cropping

Because we’re so used to specific breeds looking a certain way, a docked tail and cropped ears are rarely given a second thought. The practice of cutting of body parts really shouldn’t be taken so lightly. In most other countries, tail-docking and ear-cropping are either illegal or restricted.Not so, here in the United States.

Not only is it common, but it’s usually done without any form of anesthesia. While some claim that tail-docking prevents tail injury, there really seems to be little reason to perform such a procedure. Not only is it largely a cosmetic surgery, but it’s a painful one at that.

In addition, the American Veterinary Medical Association does not support the practice, saying, “Performing a surgical procedure for cosmetic purposes…implies the procedure is not medically indicated. Because dogs have not been shown to derive self-esteem or pride in appearance from having their tails docked … there is no obvious benefit to our patients in performing this procedure.”

Mixed breed shelter puppies rarely if ever have their ears cropped or tails docked because they don’t have breed specific standards by which they are measured.

Time for a Change

While most breeders treat their dogs far better than puppy millers do, we can’t continue to claim that breeding doesn’t come with its own set of problems because it’s just not true.  For those who still really want a purebred dog, there are breed specific rescues you can check out. Or, if a puppy is what you’re looking for, there are plenty of puppies in shelters who need homes too.

Even if we could disregard the other offenses that take place in these breeding facilities, the fact that 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every year is enough reason to refrain from purchasing a companion animal. If we really want to protect dogs and reduce the number of homeless animals living in shelters, buying from a breeder isn’t now and never will be a part of the solution. Regardless of whether you go for a purebred or mixed breed, adopting is really the best way to go. Remember, adopt, don’t shop!

Image source:Kshitij Shah/Flickr

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0 comments on “Why Breeding Pets Is Irresponsible. Period.”

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Vanessa finnegan
1 Years Ago

I can not believe some of these comments ... first off humans need to wake up to the reality that they should not play god .... Puppy mills need to be shut down and animal breeders need to breed for health , temperament, and purpose not looks and a genetic fashion show of sick animals .....

1 Years Ago


1 Years Ago

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Puppy Mills

1) In our modern day of instant access to information it is almost impossible for anyone to raise dogs without being under scrutiny. Those horrendous photos you see in commercials for the “Humane Society” are mostly outdated or a 1 in one million exception to the care given animals by breeders everywhere. The photos are intended to shock and horrify you into giving money. Any photo can be photo shopped into looking really bad. Be skeptical. If you didn’t see it with your own eyes take it with a grain of salt.
2) All the hobby breeders in this country cannot produce enough puppies to meet the demands of the American market. Recent changes in laws are NOT stopping substandard kennels from continuing. It is closing down reputable breeders who work very hard to produce healthy purebred puppies by making it more difficult and expensive for them to continue in their HOBBY.
3) BREEDERS are NOT responsible for the presence of dogs in shelters. "Producing" dogs due to failure to be a responsible owner and "breeding" dogs are not the same. We have a problem with a lack of responsible ownership, poor shelter management and poor pet distribution. Education is the key to improvement in this area.
4) It has been PROVEN there is NO PET OVERPOPULATION. Since 2005 the birthrate for puppies has not been meeting the demand. Many rare breeds are declining to the point of extinction due to anti-breeder laws. According to the USDA more than 300,000 dogs were imported in 2013 from foreign countries by SHELTERS. If the current rate of laws and decline continue within 20 years your only source for a puppy may be a shelter “mutt” from Mexico, China or Puerto Rico with possible behavioral issues and NO health testing. www.shelterproject.naiaonline.org
5) There is no such thing as a "puppy mill". "Puppy mill" is not a legally defined term, it is slang invented by the “animal rights” extremists to denigrate any and all breeders -- small or large, standard or substandard. It\'s the "N-word" of breeders. The phrase “puppy mill” has been promoted in the media by the animal “rights” movement, people who want to end all animal ownership. It is applied indiscriminately by these fanatics to anyone who breeds dogs.
6) There are three main types of breeders: Commercial, Pet and Hobby/show breeders. Every one of these can be a large-scale breeder, every one of these could be a substandard breeder. Commercial kennels are subject to state and/or federal oversight. Substandard care can be found with all types of breeders. It is about the standard of care, NOT the numbers. Most commercial breeders have state of the art kennels that meet USDA standards and the standards of their state laws. They are inspected at least yearly and must meet or exceed stringent standards far higher than those expected of the average hobby breeder.
7) “Sick” puppies do not sell. It is counterproductive for any industry to produce a defective product and expect to stay in business. Any dog can have health issues. It’s about Mother Nature NOT lack of care or numbers.
8) Passing laws intended to outlaw “puppy mills” will not solve any problem. Most substandard breeders are already in violation of existing laws and don’t care. New, stricter laws will only affect those who are already working to follow the laws. The only way to have any effect is to provide the funds and manpower to enforce the laws that are already on the books.
9) A shelter dog is NOT for every family. Shelter dogs come with baggage that can require an EXPERIENCED owner. Shelter dogs have NO health testing and frequently have behavioral issues that take years of training to overcome. Obtaining a dog should be a time for rational decision making--not an excuse for moral preening. If \'adopting\' a shelter dog makes you feel \'better about yourself\', you don\'t need a dog. You need a therapist.
10) You are more likely to purchase a dog with health or behavioral issues from a shelter than a pet store.

For more information:

Jazherah MacMornna
1 Years Ago

I am sick and tired on these constant attacks on ethical breeders and very, very, sick of this effing lie that mixed breeds are healthier than pure breds. Most of the time that simply ISN\'T true! By attacking ethical breeders you\'re throwing the baby out with the bath water! Attack and shut down the puppy mills, yes! Go after irresponsible back yard breeders, yes! But leave he ethical breeders alone!

1 Years Ago

Birds too. There are bird mills all over the world, yet there are thousands languishing away in shelters. And, yes, some healthy birds are euthanized because there are no homes.

Linda Klein
1 Years Ago

a rescue is not your only option to get a dog. go to a shelter. where do you think rescues get their dogs? from shelters or owner surrenders, therefore they want to make sure the the is not returned because the landlord says you can\'t have a dog any more...rescues are trying to save as many as they can.

11 Sep 2014

Well again, in London, if you look up rescues or shelters you\'ll come up with the same names. Battersea, Dogs Trust, All Dogs Matter, Mayhew, RSPCA.
Here in the US it\'s a different situation. People practically hand the dogs over the you the moment you say you find them cute, with little to no background check, home visits, nothing. We\'re now the proud parents of a second dog who, after a tough start in life, is becoming a real little star!

1 Years Ago

I owned a dachshund that lived to be 19 yrs. and 10 months old. My next dog was a collie who iived to be 16. I\'m a responsible pet owner but when I tried to get a dog from rescue they wouldn\'t give me one because I rent. I had no choice but to turn to a breeder. I now have a parti-olored american cocker spaniel who has been fixed and microchipped. He sees a vet for all his shots and I have health insurance on him. I would have prefered to give a forever home to a rescue but the rescue folks make it almost impossible. I guess they would rather the dogs be put down than to live in a condo or apartment.

10 Sep 2014

I had the same experience when I lived in the UK. London rescue centers are wonderfully well organized, and very demanding when it comes to prospective pet parents, but some of their demands were kind of stupid. We didn\'t have a yard, so none of the rescues we went to would let us adopt a dog - rejected right off the bat. And this even though my husband and I both worked from home, so had plenty of time for the dog, and lived within 5 minutes walk of 3 large parks, and 10 minutes drive from the biggest park in town.

14 Sep 2014

Same issue here. We work all day so no go. Really?? We have two other dogs that are perfectly fine. We turned to a reputable breeder - the same one we had for the first two - and now have three happy healthy dogs. All of her dogs live well into old age.The puppy mills definitely have to go - that is the major problem these days, that and irresponsible owners who do not spay or neuter their pets then dump a litter at the shelter.

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