The Amish, of which there are about 200,000 members in the USA, are known for their 19th-century way of life. They keep themselves apart and rely upon community spirit to support each other, shunning conventions such as insurance and welfare. The Amish always live in rural communities. Their attitude towards animals should be good as the Bible dictates this – the Amish are an American Protestant group steeped in the ways of the Bible as far as I’m aware. Or does the Bible provide confusing guidance on our relationship with animals? It is too old a book to be used for guidance on animal welfare. Times have changed.
Despite the deeply religious culture of the Amish they are heavily involved in making money out of puppy mills. As you no doubt know, puppy mills concern the mass breeding of dogs (and the term is also used for cats sometimes) under appalling conditions without any care for the welfare of the animals that they breed which are then sold on through brokers, sometimes, and then on to pet stores where the public buy them in good faith. Purchasers often find out that their dog or cat is inherently unhealthy due to a terrible start in life and to poor breeding practices. In short, this sort of breeding for profit, is callous, neglectful and profiteering on the back of animal abuse. It goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ, and yet those who are meant to be closest to his teachings participate in it willingly and contently. “Hypocrite” comes to mind.
My theory is that because the Amish lifestyle is fixed in the past their attitude towards animals reflects past attitudes. The world has moved on. Thankfully, the world is more sensitive to animal welfare but it appears that the Amish do not wish to upgrade their attitude towards animals and become more sensitive towards their welfare.
There is an interesting news story, online today, regarding a new draft ordinance emanating from a county in New Jersey, USA. Camden County want to prohibit pet stores from selling animals originating from mass breeding at puppy mills and the like. It’s going to be called Norman’s Law. The new law is named after a dog saved from a puppy mill.
It is said that between two and four million puppies are sold every year from mills in America. This is intolerable when bearing in mind the similar number of healthy dogs and cats slaughtered at shelters annually. Pat Youman, who I believe is the owner of a pet store called Pat’s Pups, said that their animals ultimately come from an Amish breeder and have done so for many years.
County officials at Camden County said that the Amish are notorious for operating puppy mills that go unchecked. They appear to be doing what they wish, when they wish without any regulations or concerns by the authorities which I find very surprising. Why aren’t the authorities involved? Why aren’t these places being shut down by the authorities? Surely they are in breach of animal welfare laws or are the Amish excluded from those laws? Are people frightened of upsetting the Amish?
There are plans to protest outside the Pat’s Pups store. The hero of the hour is a guy called Alan Braslow, a Cherry Hill resident who was promised to protest at the store which is along Route 70 until they change their ways. He was heartily applauded by those attending the meeting regarding this new ordinance. Under the ordinance pet stores selling animals bred at puppy mills will have 90 days to comply with the new law. Animals will need to be sourced from rescue organisations and shelters.
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