By Gina Spadafori
March 30, 2009
It’s not often — in fact, this may be the first time — I’ve pulled a comment off another blog to give it the play it needs. But here you go: Heather Houlahan of the Raised By Wolves blog commenting on the “model factory farms for dogs” post over at Terrierman, who points out that the cleaner puppy-mill proposed as the solution isn’t that much different from factory farms for chickens.
I find the cage normally reserved for chickens unacceptable for chickens.
Spend a little time with mentally normal free-ranging hens like mine — see how they spend dawn to dark scratching, foraging, exploring, interacting, busy busy busy birds. How they like their nests just so. How they get crabby and bored when they are cooped (with over 4 sqare feet of floor space per bird — 3 times the commercial standard for lifetime confinement — plus deep litter, scratch grain, kitchen scraps, and a cabbage tetherball for entertainment) for even a day during bad weather. The pleasure they show in dustbathing, roosting, inept flying, and all the other avian pleasures. And then tell me that it is perfectly okay to deny them outlets for every single natural behavior and instinctive motor pattern, cram them into wire crates for two years of egg production, until they are spent.
The contrast between the life of a well-cared-for pet and puppymill breeding stock is just about exactly as stark. One difference is, a dog — not even a setter — cannot live for several months without a brain.
A clean, gleaming, automated puppymill that is duly licensed and passes inspection is every bit as much of a hellhole for the dogs who never leave their cages as anything featured on Animal Cops.
It is also every bit as unacceptable as a way of producing puppies who are to live in homes with people. Seriously, you really do not want that puppy. It has not had the benefit of a normal developmental environment; nor can anyone determine anything meaningful about its parents’ temperaments.
Filth and physical neglect and disease are, to some extent, red herrings.
The abuse is inherent in the business model. Bleach is a possible element of good husbandry; it is not the definition of it.
Amen. We’ve known since the ’50s (Fuller and Scott) that puppies need to be raised like family members to be good family members.Â I don’t care how flippin’ clean the millers make their factory farms … it’s not acceptable, and should not be supported by anyone looking to get a family pet. Adopt a shelter pet, or find a reputable breeder. Don’t support cleaner factory farms …. for dogs or for livestock.
Animals — all animals — deserve better than to be treated like unfeeling machines. Factory farming is environmentally destructive, a threat to our health and national security and cruel to animals.
Humane, sustainable agriculture is the answer for food animals, environments where they can act normally, enjoying normal behavior for their species (and yes! they clearly enjoy a normal life) –Â not be treated like unfeeling meat-growing or egg-laying machines.
And no puppy-mills –– “clean,” “model” or otherwise — is the answer for pets.Â The U.S. Department of Agriculture should not be the deciding what’s proper for the future members of human families.