The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are fighting like cats and dogs over a proposal designed to close pet industry regulation loopholes that have enabled unscrupulous breeders toÂ dodge animal welfareÂ regulations crafted before the invention of the Internet.
Puppy Mills are Often Legal Retail OutletsRetail pet outlets are generally exempt from animal welfare regulations because the customers themselves are thought to be regulators by demanding good treatment of the pets onÂ sight.Â Now many pets are purchased sight unseen through the Internet and national magazine ads. This has enabled puppy mills to do a brisk business,Â sometimes sending sick, unsocialized, and substandardÂ puppies to unsuspecting buyers.
Penalizing Hobbyists and/or Breed Champions?On the other hand, modernÂ trade practices have also enabled responsible breeders toÂ have a broader quality customer baseÂ to champion their chosen breedÂ through. This has been particularly helpful forÂ the promotion and propagation of rare breeds.Â And this is the position that the AKC is coming from. They fear that steep regulations could force breed enthusiasts out of a business that is rarely profitable as it is.
Under the proposed rules, any breeder with more than four breeding females wouldÂ be subject to USDA inspection and oversight. The definition of breeding females is somewhat vague.Â Does that apply to unalterd females beingÂ raised and evaluated for health and constitution for future breeding purposes? And this is just one of the concerns of the AKC, who believes they are already doing a lot to regulateÂ AKC breeders with their own inspections.
The HSUS believes the AKCÂ has become a stumbling block to any legislation that promotes animal wellfare, having opposed more than 80 state and local regulations to crack down onÂ puppy mills. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS states, "This is mindboggling that the American Kennel Club, that says that its a dogs champion, is opposing basic standards. Weve got to really question what the AKC is doing. Weve got to demand that they become part of the solution and no longer be part of the problem."
See the HSUS video commentary on the AKC:
For more information on this topic, please see: http://images.akc.org/governmentrelations/documents/pdf/usda_alert_dog_shows_june2012.pdf
Puppy mill rescue photo courtesy of Josh Henderson.
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