Puppy Mills Fight Change: Be The Change Not For The Faint of Heart

by Mary Haight on October 16, 2014

puppy mills fight changeWhile we were all looking in one direction of possible precedent-setting change through banning pet shops county-wide here in Illinois, as in a magic trick, puppy mill advocates won a disheartening victory where we weren’t looking. Not only do puppy mills fight change as they attempt to unravel ordinances banning pet shops in cities across the nation, but now there’s this: The USDA has appointed none other than Julian Prager as Canine Program Advisor to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Anti-Animal Welfare In Charge

Known by many for his anti-animal welfare regulations stance, Prager will now be in charge of enforcing the Federal laws designed to ensure animal welfare. No one would argue that being against puppy mill operators performing C-sections and debarking operations is in the interest of animal health and welfare — except Julian Prager.

From the HSUS blog: “Prager has been an official with the National Animal Interest Alliance and the American Kennel Club – two groups that consistently lobby against virtually all forms of breeder regulation, especially policies aimed at curbing puppy mills.” You can read about some 80  instances where AKC has opposed State and local proposals to crack down on  puppy mills here. I’m sure that number has risen significantly since this report was issued. This has confused so many animal advocates who cannot understand how this could possibly be true, or why, but that’s a question for another time.

Only The Strong Survive…

After all the positive strides made moving toward changing the historically poor performance of USDA inspectors, especially after the Office of the Inspector General’s scathing 2010 report  clearly illustrating that inspectors were neither inspecting nor enforcing, this appointment is completely out of step with stated goals. Dogs suffering horribly from no medical treatment, dogs found dead in various stages of decay in cages with other live dogs, and any number of other horrific infractions were commonly overlooked, and had been for years. Is this now the status quo? According to this from the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), it is:

“Dr. Chester Gipson, USDA’s chief of enforcement for the AWA, recently told animal advocates that the USDA needs “to enable breeders to sell their dogs to pet stores” and citing violations is an impediment to such sales…..
Shockingly, USDA has made the decision to help substandard breeders circumvent these ordinances and to continue to sell puppies in spite of continuing violations.
For more on this, see Mel Freer’s post at No Dog About It regarding the ongoing, seemingly all too close relationship government agencies have with puppy mills.
Local Networks Keep Us Strong
This is an area where we might all do well to keep a strong local network, as Mel suggested. Working together for change, working to close puppy mill outlets, educating consumers, alderman, journalists, and mayors is effective. Slow…but effective. Puppy mills fight change in the halls of Congress, our voices are loudest closer to home. But when we speak with one voice, from city to city, town to town, State to State, it reverberates all the way to those same halls. We are heard. It’s always a tough fight, it always will be. We love our dogs. They are worth fighting for.
This is a blog hop for Be The Change 4Animals day

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