As dog lovers we believe that every dog deserves a happy, fulfilled and safe life. That is why we commit to supporting dog charities every year, and this year it is Dogs Trust and Oldies Club.
It is also why we wanted to lend our support to Marc Abraham and his campaign to ban puppy farms. The phrase 'puppy farm' sends shivers down the spines of all dog lovers that have witnessed the horrific pictures of them, and yet they still continue. Pup Aid, an organisation set up by TV vet Marc Abraham has been campaigning against them for over four years, and has recently launched an e-petition, calling for a ban on the sale of young puppies and kittens without their mothers being present. We spoke to Marc to find out more about why he started Pup Aid, what he hopes to achieve with the latest campagin and the general horrors of puppy farming.
Puppy farms are a way of mass producing dogs on a commercial scale with pups and their mothers usually kept in dark, squalid conditions. The mothers are used as breeding bitches without time to recover between litters, and puppies are taken away far too early without being socialised. Both mother and pups suffer from a lack of adequate nutrients and are often in pain and discomfort from infectious and incurable diseases. These pups are then sold via pet shops, online or free newspaper adverts; with new owners blissfully unaware of what horrors pups and mum have endured; that is until their brand new pup becomes ill, or suffers behavioural issues, or both.
Marc told us that is was the high number of sick pups being brought into his surgery that first prompted him to set up Pup Aid. The distressing sight of a puppy in pain, often needing 24 hour care in isolation and still not making it; followed by the massive treatment costs and anguish felt by distraught and angry new owners, encouraged Marc to make local investigations. This led him to discover the existence of a puppy farm in his locale and Pup Aid was born shortly after.
The practice of puppy farming - basically battery farming of dogs - is unfortunately happening nationwide, with new owners of pups often unaware of their source. Pup Aid does a fantastic job raising awareness; informing people about this cruel industry and as Marc says, to "empower them to ask the right questions". With huge celebrity backing (including Ricky Gervais, Liam Gallagher, Sarah Harding and Brian May), as well as an annual fun dog show event in London the message is getting out; however puppy farms still exist hence Pup Aid now launching this e-petition.
With over 72,000 signatures since the beginning of May there is plenty of support out there, but the magical 100,000 is needed for a debate to be considered in Parliament. DEFRA has responded to the petition citing The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, which provides protection for dogs used in breeding establishments. It is true this legislation exists, it is also true that puppy farms still exist. Why? Well as long as there is money to be made then some unsrupulous individuals will exploit dogs for their own means. Banning the sale of puppies and kittens without their mothers present will make it much harder for people to make money from this cruel practice, as well as halping raise awarenss amongst current and future dog owners. If people can't buy puppies bred this way the practice will stop, or as Marc said "Stop the supply and you stop the source. Simple."
So what can you do to help? Well you can make a difference by signing and sharing the e-petition here, and next time you buy a dog make sure you ask "Where's Mum?" or try your local rescue centre. For more information please visit Pup Aid here.