VET’s VIEW: Time to take a stand against puppy farms

Puppy farms
Puppy farms

Once again, puppy farms have been in the news, after a BBC Watchdog programme revealed the appalling conditions under which puppies were being kept and sold at premises in Yorkshire.

Recently it was estimated that as many as a third of puppies are bought from puppy farms, despite various campaigns to raise awareness of this practice, so what can you do to reduce the number?

The simple answer, of course, is not to buy a puppy from a source you know or believe to be suspect, but sadly it is not that easy.

Farmed puppies are all too readily available through newspaper or internet advertisements, and often at a lesser cost than those from a reputable breeder.

However, the biggest problem is our own sense of compassion.

Many owners have told me they knew or thought that their new pet came from a puppy farm, but because they felt sorry for it and wanted to give it a better life, they bought it anyway.

It is completely understandable, but it is the worst thing you can do, since it will only encourage more irresponsible breeding and ultimately more puppies will suffer as a result.

Hard as it may be, it is far better to just walk away.

By all means report the situation: to the RSPCA if the animals appear to be suffering or to the local authority if you suspect the seller is not properly licensed.

Anyone who makes a business from selling puppies, or who breeds commercially (which usually means breeding five or more litters a year) needs a licence from their local authority, so ensuring this legislation is enforced is one of the best things we can do to help.

Further advice on how to avoid farmed puppies is available from BBC Watchdog and the Kennel Club.

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