US should follow California’s lead in banning puppy mills

By Samantha Moffett, COLUMNIST
On October 29, 2017

California passed a bill that makes it illegal for pet stores to sell puppies, kittens or rabbits from animal breeders or puppy mills in an attempt to cut down on animal cruelty. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Puppy mills and animal breeding centers are known to be hubs of animal cruelty and are notorious for abusing animals for the sole purpose of a profit. Shutting down this industry has been a main goal of animal activists for decades and a recently passed California bill provides a huge win for activists and furry friends everywhere. 

California Assembly Bill 485 makes it illegal for pet stores in California to sell any puppies, kittens or rabbits from animal breeders or puppy mills. The law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown requires stores to get their animals exclusively from shelters and rescue centers beginning in Jan. 2019. While the bill administers a much-needed change in the animal breeding industry, the rest of the U.S. needs to follow California’s example.

The animal breeding farms that are notorious for their deplorable conditions — such as housing multiple animals in one cage, neglecting the animal’s basic needs of food and water and overworking the animals — need to be eliminated, and this bill is a step in the right direction.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 80 percent of breeding farms go unlicensed and do not receive inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, The Animal Welfare Act keeps standards low for animal breeders. 

Even the licensed farms that do get inspected often still have severely inhumane conditions and overbreed female animals to the point of death. 

Making a profit is held to a higher level of importance than the well-being of the animals. 

As reported by thepuppymillproject.org, there are currently 10,000 estimated puppy mills in the U.S. and 167,388 breeding dogs living in the breeding facilities. It is also reported that over 1.2 million dogs living in rescue shelters are euthanized each year.

This number does not account for bunnies or kittens, which are covered by the new California bill. This bill will help tremendously with the number of animals who are euthanized each year in shelters simply because people would rather shop than adopt. 

The animal breeding issue in the U.S.  is tremendous and needs to be brought to its end.

Ben Ashel, a California pet store owner told the New York Times that the law will only push consumers to buy bred dogs elsewhere, like online. “It takes the freedom of choice away from people who want to get a puppy,” Ashel said. “They don’t want to get someone else’s unwanted dog or something of that nature.”

 According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 6.5 million rescue animals enter shelters each year. These animals are just as worthy of adoption as purebred animals. 

By mandating a nationwide law similar to California’s, it will reduce not only the number of euthanized animals per year, but also the number of stray animals on the street and in shelters. 

Mike Bober, President of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, made a statement explaining how the new bill strips California of their “tradition in leading the nation in pet consumer protections.” He also said the bill “risks hundreds of jobs, and reduces pet choices.”

However, as reported by the ASPCA there are about 670,000 rescue dogs and 860,000 rescue cats are euthanized each year. There are clearly many options for those who want a companion. 

The rest of the U.S. should follow the example California has put forth and work to combat the ugly truth that the cute and furry animals in pet stores are most likely coming from the inhumane conditions of breeding centers and puppy mills.

 

Samantha Moffett is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.

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