Companion Animals: from puppy farms to pounds

Dogs and cats exploited for intensive breeding don't live on "farms" - they live in factories. These Puppy Factories are no different from intensive animal agriculture factories for egg-laying hens, pigs, and many other non-human animals. Females are repeatedly impregnated, normally for commercial profits. Like intensive animal agriculture, Puppy Factories work on a system of overcrowded and inadequate housing, with mass production, where the individual dogs and cats are commodities and units of production, expendable and replaceable at any time. Mans ‘best-friend’ is forced to live in dreadful conditions, denied love and space to exhibit natural behaviours. This is the hidden industry behind the pet shop window.

Puppy Factories can be small, medium, or large scale and they can be "legal" and "illegal". For the individual dogs, the size and scale doesn't matter. Every individual dog suffers because they have the capacity to feel fear, pain, and despair. Large scale Puppy Factories, however, are often worse because the greater the number of dogs, the less care and attention they receive.

Behind your friendly local pet shop, the rolling hills on a breeder’s website, or the newspaper/online advertisement, there often lies a Puppy Factory.

The continuous breeding of companion animals, results in the horrific deaths of approximately 250,000 healthy companion animals each year in pounds and shelters across Australia. Simply because:

  • there is a high demand for certain breeds;
  • people want cute, baby animals like kittens and puppies, instead of adult animals;
  • there is a lack of understanding about the conditions breeding animals face;
  • people are not aware of the variety of breeds, temperaments and ages of animals looking to be re-homed in shelters.

Life on a Puppy Farm

Many puppy factory dogs will never see sunshine or grass, a bed, a treat, or a toy. They will live a life completely devoid of human contact, and are never walked, cuddled, or loved.

Female and male dogs are treated as breeding machines, subject to a life in cramped, filthy conditions, either tiny wire cages, wooden kennels, or dirt or concrete floor pens. These loving creatures have no joy in their lives. While some are forced to live outdoors, with no protection from the elements, others live permanently inside, in huge sheds, locked up with hundreds of others.

The Puppy in the Window

The puppies are taken from their mothers between 4 and 5 weeks of age, and are packed into crates for transport. Frightened and confused, puppies who are shipped from the Puppy Farm to the puppy broker, pet store, or unsuspecting buyer can travel hundreds of kilometers in pickup trucks, tractor trailers and/or airplanes, suffering long periods of time in transit without adequate food, water, or shelter.

The puppies will spend all the early vital moments of their life in a cage. The constant confinement, lack of veterinary care, and complete lack of socialisation results in unhealthy puppies, usually plagued with physiological, behavioural, and psychological problems not visible from the pet shop window. As Puppy Farm dogs are bred for quantity, not quality, hereditary defects are common.

As a result, many puppies are abandoned within weeks or months of their adoption by consumers faced with unexpected vet bills, adding to the companion animal overpopulation crisis responsible for the death of 1 dog every 4 minutes across Australia.

Pounds and Shelters

Pounds and shelters are overflowing with unwanted animals. They regularly see an influx of baby animals particularly in the weeks and months after Christmas. Animals are purchased on impulse and given as gifts, without consideration of the responsibilities that come with having a companion animal.

As a result, pounds and shelters end up euthanising healthy animals due to lack of space and homes willing to take in abandoned animals.