August 18, 2009

We’re sometimes asked why we are so strongly opposed to the farming of puppies, breeding on a mass scale and raising of puppies to be sold in retail outlets. We have refused to allow Honest Kitchen products to be sold in stores that sell puppies and kittens for the past seven years and remain committed to this. Some stores and distributors have taken exception to our decision and we wanted to take a moment to explain our position.

We believe that puppy mills do not constitute responsible breeders, since puppy-mill pets are not sufficiently socialized to normal every day situations, causing them to suffer various social problems and making them difficult house pets – which in turn makes them even more at risk of ending their days in a shelter. There are about 100,000 to 200,000 dogs inside puppy mills at any given time in the United States In addition, puppy mills do not offer lifetime support to puppy owners and do not agree to take back any puppy they have raised, for the duration of its entire life, as a responsible breeder does. Further, when puppies are sold in retail outlets, there is insufficient vetting of new homes to ensure that owners are sufficiently educated on how to care for their new animal, have the means to care for their new family member and properly understand the lifetime responsibility they are undertaking.

The mass scale breeding of puppies on farms, transportation across the country and re-sale in shops is the single biggest cause of massive over-population of companion animals in the United States and has caused puppies to be considered as commodities or possessions rather than members of the family. According to The Humane Society of the United States, exhaustive documentation on the problems surrounding puppy mills include the following: “over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of human socialization, overcrowded cages and the killing of unwanted animals. Many puppy-mill dogs are also born with genetic diseases, the symptoms of which, may not surface for several years into the animal’s life.

The greatest victims in the puppy mill problem are the breeding parents, because they will live their life in a cage and it generally ends fairly brutally. A number of national media outlets including American Dog Magazine, Best Friends Magazine and National Geographic’s Cesar Millan, as well as NY based radio personality and author Tracie Hotchner, are highlighting the horrors or mass scale puppy breeding and helping to inform the public, as well as showcasing success stories or businesses that are removing themselves from the trade.

If you’d like get some information on what constitutes a responsible breeder, the The Whole Dog Journal has an outstanding article. To learn more about our policies, or better still learn about where to adopt a shelter pet, please ask. We’d be delighted to help.