Puppy farmers – dedicated followers of fashion
This week on Twitter I came across a brilliant campaign being run by the UK rehoming charity the Blue Cross. Their Passion Not Fashion message calls on pet owners to make a pledge that their “pets are a passion and not for fashion by posting a picture of themselves with their pet on Twitter”. Having noticed an increase in the rehoming of certain breeds that are unlucky enough to be clutched by the latest celebrity, featured in a hit movie or just targeted by the silly consumer driven society we live in, Blue Cross’s message is inspired. They cite a “five-fold increase in the number of wolf-like breeds such as huskies given up following the success of the Twilight films, and a steady year on year increase in “handbag dogs” and fear the new celebrity favourite, the French bulldog will be the next pet fashion victim.
This message resonated with me as I know that puppy farmers rub their greedy hands together and stock up on whatever poor breed of dog is currently “on-trend” and despatch the others that fashion no longer dictates sells. Where the Blue Cross campaign aims to reduce the dumping of dogs once the novelty has passed and make people think about what pets they should or shouldn’t bring into their lives, I broaden that message out to make people aware of what fashions in pets means for the dogs that supply a fashionable market. Puppy farmers see dogs as cash crops and they watch markets and act accordingly. They will fill their sheds and barns, pens and cages with whatever breed of dog is going to sell.
My heart sinks when people tell me they see more and more miniature schnauzers around these days and I see them myself being used increasingly in advertising and on TV. I don’t find this a reason to smile as I know this will mean more dogs like Susie-Belle and Twinkle will be confined to lives of misery as they churn out the crop for the puppy farmers to cash in on the trend.
Today I see a discussion on Australia’s Oscar’s Law Facebook page has started after they report at least three puppy farmers are crossing Cavalier spaniels with St Bernards to produce the “mini St Bernard” and market them as “low drool”. What depresses me most about this, is not the crossing of breeds it’s the motivation behind it, greed. Wicked, simple greed. To see dogs as something to market, to profiteer from sickens me to my core and yet it will not stop till the greater proportion of the public know better. Till the masses of puppy buyers and those who wish to bring dogs into their lives hear the truth behind the breeding of dogs, the impact of their consumerism on the dogs caught up in the fashions and trends – only when people are educated will this stop.
So, I will keep plugging away, sharing what I know to whomever I can, encouraging others to do the same, and bit by bit, person by person, this may all one day stop and puppies will not be seen as a way of making people an easy living. I have to believe it will end.