A captain of the pet industry has offered up a curious defense of so-called puppy mills: If we make it tough on breeders, it could take away our freedom to own a pet.
"What if pets were illegal?" asked Edwin J. Sayres, the CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, at a recent meeting of the Pet Industry Distributors Association. He warned about "numerous bills that basically could cripple different segments of the pet industry."
How regulation to cut down on puppy mills, which the Humane Society estimates to number about 10,000 in the U.S., would herald the end of all pets is unclear. But Sayres argues that laws like these are the product of "nutty" legislators and animal extremists, restricting consumer choice and sowing chaos.
"This is an environment and a climate where it's not the quantity of bills that we're dealing with, but the emotional quotient of them," Sayres said, according to Pet Product News. "They have no basis in fact, and they don't impact the problem they're trying to solve. They just create a lot of havoc."
But considering the 4 million dogs who enter shelters each year, and the thousands of responsible dog breeders, the end of puppy mills - where breeders, to maximize profit, house dogs in often deplorable conditions - would certainly not mean the end of pets.
Some bills that target puppy mills, in fact, would attempt to solve the problem by offering more information to consumers, not taking it away. A New Jersey law awaiting Gov. Christie's signature, for example, would require pet shops to identify who bred the cats and dogs for sale.
The New Jersey bill supports "voters who care about their own dogs, consumers who want to be informed and, of course, the dogs," American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lobbyist Debora Bresch told the Dodo in late January.
h/t Chicago Now