You may have heard that the Amish have been accused of treating puppies poorly in what have been termed ‘puppy mills’.
There have been some highly-publicized cases of animals kept in deplorable conditions. One occurred just recently in Wisconsin. PA supposedly has the rep of ‘puppy mill capital of the East’, due in large part to some Amish breeders in Lancaster County. An article (no longer available) out today reports on a controversial puppy auction in Ohio.
Dog breeding can be fairly lucrative. One Amishman in Indiana told me that he planned to sell pups of one particular breed for $500 a pop. He intended to undercut the prevailing rate of around $600. Not too bad.
The News-Herald Ohio auction story mentions ‘designer dogs’–specially bred mixes–going for up to $5,000.
At the same time, a good amount of work is involved. Pugs for example can be particularly hard to breed. Birthing is tough on the mother and they are finicky eaters when young.
Breeders typically keep animals in cages as they grow and await buyers.
I doubt it’s much fun to live in a cage, but I’ve met a healthy handful of Amish pup breeders (though not in PA or Wisconsin), and never noticed any conditions of cruelty like described in these articles.
I’m not a vet, but there was no matted hair nor signs of emaciation. The pups seemed lively.
Cruelty to animals is deplorable. But it also seems that the amount of noise the public will make in your defense is directly proportional to how ‘cute and lovable’ your species is.
Baby seals and koala bears, and puppies, usually make out pretty well in that regard. Rats, pigeons, and other less-cuddly creatures, not really.
Visit the ASPCA site.
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