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Why You Should Not Buy Pets

It is not widely publicized, but its a fact that the animals that cannot be sold are returned to the breeding farms to breed - or are simply killed. For every pet that can be bought, there are farms for it.

Unfortunately, many animal mills mistreat these animals to maximise profit. Take puppy mills for instance. With hundreds of dogs in the farms, the breeders cannot and will not ensure that every dog gets a healthy diet, adequate medical care, exercise or even an appropriate space to move. Obviously they do not receive treats, toys or grooming. Low overheads need to be maintained because it is a factory. A factory dealing with live animals, no doubt. 

What the animals get instead are cages with wire flooring that injure their paws. Often, a few dogs are cramped into a cage with no space to move, leading to arthritis, back problems, stress and many other ailments. Some dogs are carelessly caged with aggressive dogs, subjected to dog fights with no where to run, resulting in wounds that are often not treated or overlooked. '

Female dogs are raped by males when in heat. They give birth multiple times a year. If their birthing are weak and they cannot reproduce via natural birth, C-sections are performed multiple times over their lifespan. And then imagine as her puppies are taken away from her against her will. Time and again.

The animals in these mills often have skin problems, oozing pus wounds and sores while some suffer from blindness or deafness. Imagine living in filth, faeces and urine, eating nutrition-less food like plain rice and drinking stale filthy water every day. Puppies are sold as "pure-breds", but this may not always be the case because some breeds are cross-bred and sold for the pure-bred profits. It is an unethical mass production factory indulging in animal cruelty.

I adopted a pomeranian last December from Voices For Animals, a rescue group that rescues dogs and cats from puppy and kitty mills. Maguro came to me with a severe limp in her right leg. She was lethargic, suffered from skin problems, had several decaying teeth that were rotting in her mouth, and her fur was sparse, unlike the full coats of pomeranians in pet shops. She is estimated to be between 6-8 years old. A trip to the vet confirmed that she had given birth naturally many times, and several cuts on her abdomen area affirmed that she had been through at least five C-sections. When she was sterilized, the vet told me that her uterus and her intestines were "stuck together", the result of sloppy C-section operations. 

Some people choose to buy although they are fully aware of the social issues behind buying pets. Some say it is because they cannot find a small breed dog, like a Maltese for example, that is up for adoption, or that older dogs have socialization problems and are harder to train. Old dogs can learn new tricks too. Dogs are living beings too and they just want to be loved. In fact, ex-breeding dogs are often just so grateful to be out of the mills that they would give so much love back to you. Maguro learnt how to walk and a few other basic commands. She's sweet-tempered and never barks. She gets along well with both humans and animals. 

If you are thinking of adopting a small breed dog, why not consider adopting an ex-breeding dog? They are often pedigree breeds who are also survivors for surviving in such inhumane conditions. If you cannot adopt but would like to help, do spread the word on the indiscriminate practices of puppy mills and pet stores that contribute to this suffering. While there are all sorts of suffering in this world, animals who suffer, suffer more because they are unable to turn to anyone for help. They do not even receive wages for their "work" in the mills.

Animal mills contribute to the animal overpopulation in animal shelters. Pet shops and breeding farms do not run checks on the customers who buy from them, such as whether they are responsible enough to keep a pet, or whether the pet is suitable for their lifestyle and personality. Hence many animals end up at shelters, abandoned. Furthermore, puppies may look super adorable at the pet store, but with their parents suffering at the breeding farms with health conditions, some of these conditions are passed on to the puppies. When people cannot deal with an animal with skin conditions or some other ailment, the animal is sadly abandoned. 

While AVA is addressing the issues on breeding farms, such as registering existing farm operators, more inspections and screening for new breeders, there is only so much the authorities can do. We are not likely to wake up in a vegan world anytime soon. Animal mills are a global issue and it is as existent in Singapore as it is anywhere else in the world. Most people do not believe that their cute pet that they bought at the store came from a horrendous breeding farm. As a community who cares, we should do our part to stop the cruelty, in any way we can.

Once demand decreases, supply decreases. Share my thoughts and your thoughts on this issue. Spread the word. Educate people. Every little bit counts.