The first thing I would like to address in Mr. Bengston’s remarks is the word “puppymill”. The word was invented by the animal rights movement and has been used by them for years to indicate ANYONE who breeds dogs. They don’t discriminate about breeders. Anyone who breeds is a puppymill. They believe as part of their core values that NO ONE should be breeding dogs. And make no mistake they mean no one. They don’t care how many pretty ribbons you have won under prestigious judges. They don’t care how much health testing you have done. They don’t care how many champions you have produced. And they don’t care how well you take care of your dogs. It is never good enough for them. The use of the word “puppymill” by a breeder is the equivalent of a black man calling another black man by the N word and should be just as insulting.
The AR movement first published their agenda in their own magazine in 1987. I won’t reprint the entire agenda here since it is wordy and can be found easily online. It is something dog breeders should be aware of and read for themselves. But number 10 on their list directly applies here:
“10. We strongly discourage any further breeding of companion animals, including pedigreed or purebred dogs and cats. Spay and neuter clinics should be subsidized by state and municipal governments. Commerce in domestic and exotic animals for the pet trade should be abolished.”
ABOLISHED. Not reduced or controlled but ABOLISHED. These extreme fanatics don’t believe anyone should have an animal or use an animal in any way including pet ownership. So they invented this word “puppymill” as a way to insult breeders – all breeders, any breeders because they don’t believe any one should be breeding. They invented the word as a convenient LABEL to slap on breeders and they have convinced the general public that it is a real crisis, a problem that needs to be addressed to stop these nasty breeders and end pet overpopulation so dogs don’t have to die in shelters. The animal rights cult has grown and spread and is fast becoming part of our mainstream thinking. Every time I hear some breeder pointing at another breeder and calling them a puppy mill I want to smack heads and take numbers.
The phrase is usually directed at the commercial breeders in Missouri and other states that have recently received support from AKC. What you may not be aware of, thanks to the bias of the media is that commercial breeders have long since cleaned up their act. They have been under siege for almost 40 years and they took action to protect their profession. And yes I said profession. Are you aware that the commercial breeders have organizations? They hold educational seminars for their members that put most of the ones held by AKC clubs to shame. I have never been lucky enough to attend one of their seminars but I have talked to AKC hobby breeders who have attended and they were stunned and amazed at the huge amount and variety of educational material made available to the commercial breeders. Many of the commercial organizations now require attendance at these educational seminars for membership. Here is a link to one of those organizations: http://www.mofed.org/. MoFed is regarded as one of the most powerful animal welfare lobbying organizations by Congress. Many of our Congressional leaders see the value of working with a group that contributes jobs, income and taxes to the country rather than just taking donations and paying no taxes such as HSUS.
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. The USDA imposes hundreds of pages of regulations on commercial kennels. Most hobby breeders could not even dream of complying with the scope of those regulations. Here is a link that will show you the full burden of the regulations that commercial breeders must comply with or lose their license to breed dogs: http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Education-Training/regulatory-compliance-for-commercial-dog-breeders.php
Every time I hear a hobby breeder get up on their high horse about commercial breeders making money off of dogs I have to ask “WHY?” When did it become a crime to make money selling dogs? Many of the founders of our sport operated huge kennels and sold pets to make money for their kennels. When did it become socially unacceptable to raise dogs and make some money? This is more of the long term propaganda of the animal rights movement. They have brainwashed us that there is a huge “pet overpopulation” and that dogs are better than other animals and we shouldn’t be making money off the poor puppies. First of all the reality is if every hobby breeder in this country bred every girl at every litter and sold the puppies, we still would not fill the niche for purebred puppies. Most of us don’t have the time or the money to meet the demand. Second – can anybody tell me why someone shouldn’t make money selling dogs when they have put their life’s blood and sweat not to mention money into raising them? I used to believe that too before I took a long look at the situation. Years ago I would have been among those leading the “puppymill” lynch mobs. The more I learn about commercial breeders and animal rights the more I am willing to admit that commercial breeders have as much right to exist as I do.
I have questions for those who condemn commercial breeders. Have you been to a commercial kennel? Have you seen with your own eyes the conditions there? Have you talked to a commercial breeder and determined for yourself that they are some kind of soulless monster just in it to “make money”?
You see, I have been to a commercial kennel and talked to their breeders and leaders. I know what they are doing and the conditions in their kennels and the struggles they have fought against the animal rights extremists AND the snobby hobby breeders who would put them out of business. I have seen commercial kennels where you could have eaten off the floor and I have been in hobby breeder’s kennels where I wouldn’t let my dogs set foot. If you have been paying attention to recent “raids” on “puppymills” you would know that a large percentage of them have been respected hobby breeders and even in some cases, AKC judges. One of the things the animal rights groups are very good at is the game of “divide and conquer”. They pit the hobby breeders against the commercial breeders and the public against all of us. They lie about pet overpopulation – which no longer exists by the way. Last year alone, SHELTERS in the United States imported more than 300,000 dogs from foreign countries according to the USDA. I would bet the majority of you still believe in pet overpopulation when 70 to 80% of American pets are spayed/neutered.
WE are being lied to by a multi-million dollar juggernaut called “animal rights” and we are contributing to our own demise by repeating the lies that will destroy us as well as the so-called “puppymills”. Do you really want some AR slanted animal control officer able to come into your home at any time without a warrant and tell you that you can’t remove dew claws or write you a ticket because your dogs don’t have water bowls in their crates 24/7? There comes a point where we have to start drawing lines in the sand and refusing to give in to the politically correct language that has infiltrated society from the far out AR groups who really don’t seem to like animals all that much. Mostly they just seem to hate people. To Ingrid Newkirk of PeTA “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” To me “a dog is a dog is an animal”. I am proud to say that I am a breeder of purebred Shetland Sheepdogs. Shakespeare said “that which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet.” And dog poop is still just as stinky.
I own dogs who live in a kennel and I am a breeder. And that’s my final word.
Some recommended reading:
“The Hijacking of the Humane Movement” By Rod and Patti Strand
“Animal Rights, The Inhumane Crusade” Daniel T. Oliver
“A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy” Wesley J. Smith
“The Death of a Culture, Understanding the War: Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare” David Fritsche
“Animal Scam, The Beastly Abuse of Human Rights” Kathleen Marquardt