Nathan Winograd reports to me that an important change to the city-wide laws are about to be made in Berkley, Michigan, USA which is that pet stores have been given two years to phase out the sale of commercially bred animals such as puppies and kittens and instead to put up for adoption rescue animals. There are great benefits to this law. Other areas in America are doing exactly the same thing.
It is, frankly, ridiculous that pet store should sell commercially bred animals when you will find that in the area where the pet store operates there will be animal rescue centers in which cats and dogs are euthanised i.e. killed because they are unwanted. The current situation in many areas of America is unsustainable and immoral.
Commercial Breeding Enterprises (CBEs) are puppy mills or kitten mills. That means backstreet breeders with a disregard for animal welfare, where they breed as rapidly as possible puppies and kittens for sale. Nathan Winograd tells me that 25% of these dogs have significant health problems and they are more likely to suffer from aggression. Many are psychologically and emotionally shut down and you will find them staring at the walls.
In the UK, by the way, many popular puppies of breeds such as Dachshunds and French bulldogs were bred by CBE enterprises on continental Europe primarily in Eastern Europe and shipped to the UK because there was a huge demand for puppies during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Now those adopters/purchasers are often suffering the difficulties of caring for unhealthy dogs.
The law which is about to be introduced into Berkley, Michigan (provided the final vote is attained in their legislature) achieves three goals:
- It encourages people to adopt/rescue animals rather than purchase bred animals;
- It educates the community about dog and cat abuse in puppy and kitten mills and;
- It stops the abuse happening by these backyard breeders.
These sorts of laws are very beneficial to animal welfare as, for example, the number of commercial breeders nationally in the USA has declined by 30%. In Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s records indicate that 50% of the state’s commercial dog and cat breeders have left the business thanks to the introduction of this kind of law into that state.
In Berkley, Michigan, the stores, as mentioned, will have two years to phase out their current stock and to start taking in rescue animals. And when a customer comes into the store and adopts an animal, they will invariably come back to purchase ancillary products such as foods et cetera.
There is a problem namely that some pet store owners don’t quite have the moral fibre to think along these lines and they will complain about the law and fight it tooth and nail, I suspect. They might even file a lawsuit to say that the introduction of this law is damaging to their business and other businesses in the area and that it should be stopped. It takes an enlightened individual, one concerned with animal welfare and the improvement of social norms and a civilised society to agree with these new laws.