Categories: cat welfare

During the pandemic lockdowns puppy farms and kitten mills are thriving

To varying degrees, governments have confined citizens to their homes or restricted their movements throughout the coronavirus pandemic and this has encouraged people to adopt kittens and puppies. They want the added companionship and they think that they have extra time on their hands to get to know their new family member and to learn how to become good companion animal caregivers.

Natalia with her albino French bulldog. She had failed the first time. Her first attempt at buying a puppy ended in failure because she had bought a pug from an unscrupulous puppy farm breeder and the animal was suffering, unknown to her, with parvovirus. The puppy died within six days and the whole episode cost over £7000.

So, out there, the public is eager to adopt a companion animal, which almost inevitably leads to exploitation. Whenever there is a market there is exploitation of that market. When the market is growing the exploitation grows exponentially. Each country has their own version of puppy farms and kitten mills. For the sake of clarity, these are breeding establishments, tucked away somewhere mysteriously out of sight where unscrupulous people breed puppies and kittens under unhygienic conditions with a disregard for the health and welfare of the animals: both the breeding animals and the offspring created.

In the UK, the favoured location for these scammers is Eastern Europe. They breed large numbers of puppies and kittens in Eastern Europe and ship them to the UK and I presume other parts of northern Europe where the money is. The general standard of animal welfare and animal welfare laws in Eastern Europe are low relative to Northern European countries.

There is currently a good example on the Internet and in the hardcopy newspapers of a female fitness guru, Natalia Krystyna, who wanted to buy a puppy for her husband and ended up spending around £7000 in buying a pug and in vet bills, which died after six days of parvovirus. She did not get her vaccination certificate and did not really tick all the boxes and do due diligence when she bought this cute puppy from an unscrupulous salesman i.e. the breeder. When she complained he disappeared. This is so typical of the sort of people involved in thes scams.

You really have to do your research and pick a really good breeder and then visit that person and ask questions. Also, you have to get a contract and all the certificates and papers that you need to ensure that the animal you are purchasing is healthy, is a genuine purebred pedigree animal and has been raised properly, by which I mean socialised fully. There are no shortcuts. You are dealing with the life of an animal and spending a lot of money at the same time.

You cannot dive in online, pick out an animal from a website and then purchase that animal sight unseen while depending upon the words of a conman. You have to steel yourself and do it properly. Natalia tried again and went to the Kennel Club which is a more reputable source of information for breeders and has managed to purchase an albino French bulldog which she adores. The animal cost cost her £3,500 – not cheap. She calls him Mr Pink (see picture above). So the story ends well except we must not forget the puppy who died.

It might well have been a kitten. The principles of the story are the same. The puppy was named Charlotte. She lived a miserable a very short life. She was born in miserable conditions for one purpose to make money for an unscrupulous individual. We don’t know that person’s name. His name should be publicised all over the Internet. But of course, as mentioned, he has disappeared. Let’s remember Charlotte. May she rest in peace. May she teach some people a lesson. My her life have served some useful purpose.

In a better world, nobody would ever purchase a puppy or a kitten. They would all be adopted out of the huge pool of unwanted companion animals. That is the only way we can argue that we are behaving decently and ethically. To purchase a kitten or puppy when there are unwanted companion animals being euthanised in animal shelters across all Western countries is unethical. Yes, I know I am lecturing and that is inadvisable but I can’t help it because it’s happening all the time and it shouldn’t be.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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