Thursday, August 2, 2012

That Which We Call A "Puppy Mill" By Any Other Name?

"What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” This famous quote from Romeo and Juliet, the play written by William Shakespeare, encapsulates the tragedy that befalls dog breeders across America today which is, all in a name. 
All in a name, the term “puppy mill” was intentionally devised by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)  to empower their animal rights agenda and cause deliberate harm, and over time, dismantle the image and reputation of exceptional dog breeders while painting them with the broad brush of shame.
So, what exactly is a so-called, “puppy mill”?  
In 2010 as the campaign manager for The Alliance For Truth, a campaign to defeat HSUS’ “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act” (Prop. B) in Missouri, I learned first hand that HSUS and their animal rights agenda promotes and capitalizes on the term “puppy mill” as a reference to ALL dog breeders. That’s right.  ALL dog breeders.  It was during the campaign to defeat Prop. B that I recall having to sit in a waiting area at a St. Louis TV station with our opposition's campaign manager, Barb Schmitz, before going on air.  When I asked her how she could possibly justify her claim that Missouri had 3,000 "puppy mills," she responded by telling me that all breeders are "puppy mills" and they must be closed down. 

So there in lies the deception to the American people.  HSUS is against breeding. Period. So any breeding facility, commercial or otherwise, is considered to be a “puppy mill” because of the emphasis on breeding and making a profit.  No matter how well the breeder cares for their dogs, HSUS doesn't want legitimate, lawful dog breeders making a living or any kind of a profit breeding dogs. So they vilify.
So while dog breeders jump through hoops to stay in business, it is impossible for them to keep up with all the onerous business killing regulations aggressively promoted by HSUS through lobbying, ballot initiatives, and infiltration into government agencies.  The fact of the matter is that the end goal is NOT about creating better welfare standards for breeding facilities -- it’s about eliminating the breeders. And that’s the animal rights agenda and goal: the elimination of animal ownership.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS illustrates this goal in his quote, “One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” Wayne Pacelle, Animal People, May, 1993.
Those two little words “puppy mill” pack a punch, and they continue to destroy exceptional kennels across America by chipping away at the public’s view of dog breeding because, in the eyes of HSUS and other animal rights groups, ALL dog breeders are considered to be a “puppy mill”.  
This serves as an important reminder as HSUS is turning citizens into bounty hunters by offering a cash reward of $5,000 to terrorize and destroy dog breeders by making false accusations against their neighbors.  While they use the term "puppy mill" to describe their targets, what they really mean is any and all dog breeders, hobby and commercial breeders alike. 
Calling every dog breeder a “puppy mill” is like labeling every football coach a pedophile because of what happened at Penn State. Sadly, those of us who are involved in animal agriculture are going to be in a public relations battle to defend animal husbandry for the rest of our lives, so we must start by no longer referring to a substandard breeder as a “puppy mill.”  If we continue to use that term, we are perpetuating the false HSUS propaganda, and helping Pacelle and his minons drive all of us off the not so symbolic cliff.  
Mindy Patterson is president and co-founder of The Cavalry Group, a member based company legally defending & protecting the Constitutional and private property rights of law abiding animal owners & animal-related businesses nation-wide.