So Who Supports Puppy Farms Then?

Mind my language.

Actually, no. Don’t. I make no apologies for calling those who support the suffering of puppy farmed dogs exactly what they are.

How do we stop puppy farming in the UK?

An interesting topic for discussion. I fear we (I’m talking about we as in us, the media) have possibly skirted the heart of the issue on this one. I also fear we’ve been too kind and too soft on the main underlying cause of puppy farms in the UK. So, let’s try and get it out in the open shall we….

…the reason we still have puppy farms in the UK is because there are still significant numbers of would-be puppy buyers who plain don’t care where they get their dog from or what route that dog has taken to make its way to their home. They, quite simply, want a dog and they want it now.

Puppy Farm Selfishness

Let’s think about it for a second; if people didn’t purchase from puppy farms and from pet shops, there’d be none.

So why do people do it?

Some of them are misguided, misinformed. OK, I accept that. But even so, in 2012 with ALL of the wealth of information that exists about how to obtain a dog responsibly, is it REALLY a valid excuse any more? I mean, really?

And for everyone who accidentally, unintentionally winds up putting money in to the pocket of puppy farmers, there’s certainly more folk who do it and who couldn’t really care less either way.

Whilst it is an ongoing disgrace that puppy farms are allowed to thrive and propser in a country where laws, legislation and enforcement of such establishments have never really been properly crafted to a point where they have been forced out of business, whilst the demand exists – the puppy farmer will thrive.

Financially Supporting Puppy Farms

If puppy farming is to be defeated, the first point of action needs to be in changing the attitude and behaviour of purchasers.

Look at this way; if there was ZERO demand for cocaine, would the governments of the world even need to make laws and spend BILLIONS on trying to combat traffickers around the globe? Of course not! No demand means the supplier is automatically redundant. And let’s establish one thing, for the record, puppies are NOTHING like cocaine. So our failure to combat puppy farmers is interlinked, exclusively, with our failure to convince enough people of the right and wrong ways to acquire a dog.

How Do We Really End Puppy Farming?

How can we change this? How do we push for a culture change?

It’s going to be hard and I feel it’s going to take something big. But I am 100% convinced that even if we were to bring in laws that would legislate against puppy farms, if there is still a 10 or 20% demand from the same sort of people who acquiring their dogs from puppy farmers today, the laws themselves won’t be enough.

Which is the low hanging fruit with this issue? Do we push hard for tougher laws first and then hope for the best in terms of people abiding by them? Or do we go for a major push on trying to affect a change in the way people think about acquiring dogs, in particular puppies?

I am, increasingly, more inclined toward the latter.

I thought of some slogans. But please bear in mind these are slogans straight from the gut. I have little time for anyone who contributes to the suffering of puppies and I do feel that sometimes too much sympathy is extended to folks who purchased from puppy farms only to ‘realise their error too late’. Maybe the kid gloves need to come off?

See also  Kennel Club Still Registering Puppy Farmed Dogs

1) Thinking of getting a puppy? Don’t buy from a puppy farmer, dunce!

It’s unsubtle, straight to the point and uses one of the most effective forms of peer-based persuasion; ridicule.

2) Thinking of getting a puppy? First make sure your supplier isn’t a total scumbag!

Now, you see, I’m getting straight to the point with these slogans. A distinct theme is emerging.

3) Thinking of getting a puppy? Only a turd-for-brains would buy from a puppy farmer! Are YOU that person?

It’s insulting, yes. I stand by it.

4) Would you wear a fur coat made from Labrador puppies? Then don’t fund sick puppy farmers, silly!

It’s not quite so insulting.

5) Only an arsehole supports puppy farmers! You’re not an arsehole, are you?

Again, to the point. Sums up my feelings.

6) If you purchase from a puppy farmer, your knees will fall off – Ouch!

OK, bear with me. I’m thinking, some of the puppy farmer’s key customers come from the demographic that marketers describe as ‘incredibly stupid, oafish morons’ – so I’m working on the assumption that they might actually believe this. Maybe even link it to some sort of ‘scientific study’.

Bottom line here, we have GOT to make a change. Somehow, some way we need to influence buyers. There was a programme on BBC last week which set out to ‘uncover’ puppy farmers, in one scene people were turning up to buy puppies even whilst there was a camera crew ‘exposing’ the place as a puppy farm. What does it take to get people to understand?

The media who carry adverts for puppy farmers, they are guilty as sin. Some big names out there profiting from the misery of dogs. I think it’s about time they were named and shamed. I’m more than happy to take up that mantle. Why should a company be allowed to make even £100 from the abject suffering of a single dog? Let’s get this in perspective, if the demand end of this relationship is stemmed, the supply end automatically dies – those who are involved in the perpetuation of the demand end, they should be held to account.

What do we need to do? How can we start to affect a real, genuine, long term change in culture and attitude?

It absolutely CAN be done, make no mistake. There is enough evidence to prove that culture change and buying habits CAN be influenced dramatically – and in many cases, it only requires one, very loud, very direct message to hit home with the ‘right’ audience.

It’s no good me ranting about this to you, you’re reading this blog – I already know you’re not, therefore, stupid enough to purchase from a puppy farmer. So without wanting to preach to the choir, want I do want to do is try and discover how best to deliver the message.

(Oh, and for the record – my personal pick would be:

5) Only an arsehole supports puppy farmers! You’re not an arsehole, are you? – I’d be prepared to make this in to a full page poster and national advertising campaign. And no, I’m not kidding).

So, am I wrong?

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Ryan O

Ryan O'Meara

Ryan O'Meara is the editor & publisher of K9 Magazine. A former professional dog trainer, Ryan is the author of several dog books and appears regularly in the media discussing a variety of canine issues. He lives in the East Midlands with his two dogs, Danny & Christopher.


  1. Absolutely agree with you Ryan, I’ve even heard of people buying puppies from the backs of vans, and in pubs, what the hell are they thinking.? Taking any pup is a fifteen year commitment, not a spur of the moment decision as if you’re buying a washing up bowl or a new quilt cover. Many of these pups either end up in rescue or get dumped when the novelty wears off, more will die from Parvo and other illnesses, and many are interbred too closely to have any chance of life. I applaud you for getting tough on this.!

  2. The sort of campaign I would be happy to back!

    We need to expand this to include the idiots who breed their dogs for holiday money (yes, it happens) – surely this makes them breeders to whether its one litter or a dozen

  3. I have found in particular in Western Australia as a ranger/animal control officer is that “puppy farms” are only a part of the problem. Most dogs in pounds are of mixed breeding. The notion of “Ill let her breed a litter before desexing” is one issue. Non compulsary requirement to sterilise is another.

    But the main one is that local government can stamp out so called puppy farms and “backyard breeders” in a short time by revoking all kennel permits.

    This action would take effect in a 12 month period as most will appeal to the State Administrive Tribunial or applealant court.

    Another tactic is to adopt is the Regulation and Licencing of the whole companion animal industry including self appointed animal “rescue” and “welfare” groups and individuals as there are no laws, regulation or codes of practice to govern them.

    Reduced cost sterlisation is often spoken about but rarely acted upon.

    Blaming one arsehole for the behaviour of his or her cohorts isnt the answer. Theres a lot of them out there

  4. Now THERE’S a campaign I would be 100% behind! I can be the Australian arm of the outfit! Please keep us in the loop…Everyday I am trying to educate others (to the point of becoming the crazy ranting lady) but I can see the glaze over some eyes as they just dont get it.. WE NEED TO SHOUT AND SHAKE THESE MORONS!!

  5. I’m definitely not for puppy farms, gross disgusting things. then again I’ve met some breeders I wouldn’t classify as being spectacular either and in it for the money rather than the love of it. but I find this article to be more of a rant than offering an actual solution to puppy farming.

  6. we have a programme here called oscars law, in a bid to ban the puppy farms, they are money make breeding machines, the rspca here was sucessful in closing one puppy farm, the police attended as did vets , , dogs were removed, some were rehomed, but some had such pychological problems of never dealing with people,

    i believe in banning all forms of puppy farming, all over the world.. it’s got to stop now, makes me so angry the people can get away with what they do,, it basically cruel, and why cant the rspca, look into it,

  7. Queensland did a “desexing month” in June, where the cost of desexing your pet was about 1/2 price. Our little one was going to cost us $250 to do, but ended up only costing $140. A large part of the problem is the cost of getting it done.

  8. You have to start at the beginning stop the breeding in the first place, only registered responsible breeders should be allowed to breed not the ‘for profit puppy farmers and back yarders’ a huge percentage of dogs in refuges, pounds etc are mixed breeds why??? because the breeders are not interested in temperament or hereditary diseases they are only interested in $$$$$ . The governments, councils, canine councils and welfare organisations shoudl be working together to support the great breeders of this world who are interested in producing healthy long lived pets and outstanding show and breeding specimens that give them great joy.

  9. Ryan,

    You are smack on!

    There’s too much sympathy doled out to these puppy dealers, puppy buyers and, as you say, those in the media who actually are guilty of puppy farm existence via the media’s allowing puppy farms to advertise their abused money-making puppies and dogs. Yes, let’s name and shame them, sellers, buyers, and any lowlifes who support (aid) the puppy farmers in any way, such as allocating sellers advertising space. The puppy farm dealers are mostly lowlife scum!

    There should be no demand for farmed puppies/dogs, then their would surely be no supply route to allow greedy puppy farmers to accrue ill-gotten money from puppies’ suffering.

  10. It must be fantastic going through life never making a mistake and being so perfect. Not sure this gives ANYONE the right to be so nasty and belittle people for making a genuine error of judgement as its not always a case of waking up one day and deciding to go out and find a van in a pub car park and buying a pup.

    i agree there are some people who are blatantly going out and are clearly knowing that they are funding this misery. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE!

    Some people need educating, this does not mean they are arse holes or ‘incredibly stupid, oafish morons’ This is just down right insulting.

    WE were conned by these people and they did a bloody good job of it, ITS NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE. The main thing is we learnt from it and we got off our arses and did something about it! most people wouldn’t.

    Prehaps less ranting and more education would be the 1st step, if ‘genuine’ victims are made to feel lie complete shits then no wonder they keep quite, its exposing this culture that is going to help get it stopped.

    my own personal views, i am sure you won’t agree but since i am just an incredibly stupid, oafish moron what does it matter what i think……

  11. Ok, this is going to sound a bit bizarre, but I think it should be illegal to sell puppies for money. Make it more like an adoption of human babies, where no money is exchanged. Then the people that are doing this for money will have no profits. Yes, it would be hard to police, and I’m sure there would be a black market. But if we change the mindset of society into realising that these creatures are not a consumer good, they are a living, breathing member of the family then we would perceive the idea of having a pet very differently. Food for thought.

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