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Adopt vs. Buy "But I consider him a rescue!"

ShihTzuLover

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I guess I was confused as to who the writing was directed at. The post never said the people already know where the dogs came from, so I thought this was the writer's way of attempting to educate them. If people already know about puppymills (I meet quite a large number who don't), and STILL buy from pet stores, they are obviously not going to stop doing so. Towards the end she is under the delusion that just TELLING someone why it was wrong for them to buy that puppy (which clearly states they don't already know - so the article is NOT directed at people who know about puppymills) she seems to think that words alone will stop them in the future, which I don't agree with. She says "They won't do it again". I personally don't feel like words are that powerful in that sense, because what she wrote here was clearly demonstrating people that are ignorant to the true suffering of the animals - so in my personal opinion they need to see that suffering in order to change their minds. It's not THAT hard to get someone to watch a video. If you have the nerve to confront them, tell them a few things to Google when they get home or ask for their email address and send it to them yourself (I've done it many times, and it works!). I would have been a lot more on board with this if there were some educational links provided, at least. People who get their pets from pet stores like to live in a fantasy world, and unfortunately, words alone can rarely shatter that.

Just a few months ago I had a friend coming to me saying how much he wanted to get one of the 500 dollar ragdoll kittens at a pet store he was in. I told him the animals come from mills or terrible breeders and how wrong it was to put money into supporting that. He didn't believe me! He said that particular pet store was a "good one" that cares about the animals. After that, I said I was going to send him an email with a few videos and to please watch them. He was completely traumatized and devastated and vowed to rescue his next cat. He had NO idea where the animals came from. People like us who live and breathe animals and have been involved in rescue can tend to assume everyone knows these things, but it just isn't true. Trust me, I am all for educating people on this topic and I do all the time - YES - in "casual real life conversation" and on the Internet. It's not true that "most people know about puppymills" and it's not as hard as one would assume to get people to watch videos. Especially with tools like Facebook and Twitter at our disposal.

Also, the person who wrote this breeds and sells Cardigan Welsh Corgis. If we are so against the breeding of Guinea Pigs why are we congratulating this woman who is putting yet more dogs into this world? I understand she isn't making a large profit, but she is still breeding dogs. She is hardly an advocate for rescue or education on these topics. Sorry, but I'm not going to give this small piece of writing more than a very small pat on the back. I congratulate the people actually trying to change these things - she is not one of them.
 

2198lindsey

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[MENTION=27677]ShihTzuLover[/MENTION]

Okay...I think that you've taken it way too far into thought...

This article was about how frustrating it is when people try to make excuses for buying an animal. That was the whole point.

It is CLEARLY talking about when someone buys a pet, tries to pass it off as a rescue because 'Well I just couldn't let him suffer' and then tries to make excuses for their poor choices.

I really think it's wrong to take something as beautiful as this article and try to pass it off as wrong.

I don't know if you personally adopted your guinea pig(s) but I know I did, and I also know I find it down right OFFENSIVE when I see people who BUY a guinea pig and then tell me they rescued it because they rescued it from it's own hell.

I went through the research. I went through all the work of rescuing a pig. I know what rescuing really is and it irks me, and others, when someone KNOWS it's wrong to purchase a pet of any kind and makes EXCUSES.

That was the point of the article.

"Also, the person who wrote this breeds and sells Cardigan Welsh Corgis. If we are so against the breeding of Guinea Pigs why are we congratulating this woman who is putting yet more dogs into this world? I understand she isn't making a large profit, but she is still breeding dogs. She is hardly an advocate for rescue or education on these topics. Sorry, but I'm not going to give this small piece of writing more than a very small pat on the back. I congratulate the people actually trying to change these things - she is not one of them."


I used to breed rottweilers. I also work hand in hand with a rottweiler rescue hours away from me. Not to mention the countless small animals I have rescued and sometimes even rehomed. Most people I know that breed dogs responsible are the people who make up and are most of the support system for the rescues in my area.

So, according to your logic, my efforts of saving animals means nothing because I bred 2 litters?
 

asnnbrg

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I'm so angry and sad over this topic right now that I can't even comment. Suffice it to say I'm sharing this.
 

asnnbrg

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This post is a bunch of bull. I joined this site hoping to learn more about guinea pigs, but honestly, the prejudice is disgusting. I worked for an animal rescue for years, and with the shelter. I am all for rescuing animals.

That being said, anybody who can sit back and allow any animal to live in horrible conditions, or die from lack of care is wrong. You may think you're doing the right thing, by not supporting a breeder but is allowing an animal to suffer the right thing? I don't think so. I rescued almost all of my animals. However, I was in a pet store one day, checking on their conditions as part of a job assignment. I came across a pitbull puppy who obviously had intestinal parasites and ringworm. The man checking her out, was going to use her to fight. So, according to you, I should've allowed that man to take her, and fight her, and give her a far worse life than any animal should have to suffer, simply because she had the misfortune of ending up being born to a breeder who didn't care? That's so hypocritical I can't even begin to comprehend it. If an animal is in a bad situation, I don't care where they are if I can help I'm going to. To sit back and watch an animal suffer is ridiculous and cruel. It's not the animals fault, and to say that these poor animals living in horrible conditions because of a breeder or petshop don't matter is just simply something I will not ever do.

I don't understand this post. Are you saying you bought the pit bull puppy so the man wouldn't fight her? Does your county not have laws against dog fighting? Was there a reason you couldn't simply note his info (license plate, name if you had it) so that the law could intervene?

If I'm being naive here, I apologize, but I'd have thought there'd be a way to keep it safe without having to actually buy it.
 

ShihTzuLover

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I'm entitled to have my opinion, and I stand by it.

No, I don't think your efforts are useless because you bred two litters. She has bred more than two litters, and I find it hypocritical to be SO against Guinea Pig breeding but be FOR dog breeding.

Of course I rescued my Guinea Pigs. What an absolutely absurd question in light of everything I just wrote. I'm done with this topic because people really fail to see the point of anything I'm typing, which is truly astonishing.
 

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aspecht

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I don't understand this post. Are you saying you bought the pit bull puppy so the man wouldn't fight her? Does your county not have laws against dog fighting? Was there a reason you couldn't simply note his info (license plate, name if you had it) so that the law could intervene?

If I'm being naive here, I apologize, but I'd have thought there'd be a way to keep it safe without having to actually buy it.

Unfortunately the laws against dog fighting are pretty vague, so unless you CATCH THE ACT of dog fighting, then there's not much that can be done. The county I lived in had a HUGE issue with dog fighting. I mean HUGE, and there was ONE officer who worked with animal welfare. Thankfully there are two officers now, and a lot more is being done but at that point, she would've been used either as a fighter (I doubt she would've fought) or bait, each equally disturbing. Reporting him for asking about if she would fight or not would not have accomplished a thing.

I want to point out that I DID work for the animal shelter, worked in rescue for four years, until my son was mauled by a pitbull and I had to give it up. The rescue I worked for did not endorse breeding, or pet stores, but still recognized that any animal in harms way was an animal that needed to be rescued. I had the pleasure to shut down one HORRIBLE rescue, that was doing more harm to the animals than you could imagine, from terrible living conditions, to no food or water or shelter, to taking sick or injured animals out back, shooting them and leaving them there for the other animals to eat, even if they weren't dead yet. I also had a chance to shut down a puppy mill, which was disturbing as well. The lady had 40 adult dogs, half male, half female, all were terribly matted, filthy, and most were forced to live with each other (they were Mini Schnauzers) in cramped medium sized dog crates. I have seen the horrors of both sides, from bad rescues, to bad breeders, to puppy mills, to just bad owners and still stand by my decision to take my guinea pigs out of the situation they were in. I can see where most come from for not wanting to buy from a petstore, but I cannot leave a sick/dying animal there to suffer. I may be part of the problem, but that's fine by me. Making an animal suffer just to prove a point is not something I'm willing to do. I'd rather save the animal, and go over the businesses head to shut them down, which is what I am doing in Niko's case. I've filed a complaint with the health department because the store was disgusting, and the BBB.
 

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I may be part of the problem, but that's fine by me. Making an animal suffer just to prove a point is not something I'm willing to do. I'd rather save the animal, and go over the businesses head to shut them down, which is what I am doing in Niko's case.

You don't make an animal suffer just to prove a point. That is not the issue at all. How deep are your pockets? How big is your home? You have to shut down the business first. Getting a pet store or better yet their supplier (distributor or breeder) shut down is very, very hard. It's especially difficult when what is seen by the public is borderline acceptable or marginal. Anything short of shutting them down, just fuels the flow of horror for more animals. So, yeah, you feel good by saving that one, but you just enable even more to follow, and in point of fact, become part of the problem. I wish it weren't so.

Absolutely, do everything you can to make changes, but I disagree with the position of enabling more suffering. It's really hard to do and really hard to accept and live with, but I think we have to face the true reality of our actions--even those that are not obvious and apparent.

And good point about calling out the "rescue" concept on the flip side. Yes, there are bad 'rescues' out there that call themselves rescues, when they really aren't. They typically start out as a rescue with adequate resources and a big heart. But unfortunately, too many turn into hoarders rather than rescues. They are not rescues, not by definition really.
 

Nessy

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I'm going to throw in a large and waffling post. I'm sorry, I'm finding it hard to type my view in a more concise manner as I don't even know what my view really is. I am throwing up a few thoughts for debate, as debate brings about ideas, and discussing conflicting views can bring to the fore facts and ideas that each side had not considered before.

Unfortunately the laws against dog fighting are pretty vague, so unless you CATCH THE ACT of dog fighting, then there's not much that can be done. The county I lived in had a HUGE issue with dog fighting. I mean HUGE, and there was ONE officer who worked with animal welfare. Thankfully there are two officers now, and a lot more is being done but at that point, she would've been used either as a fighter (I doubt she would've fought) or bait, each equally disturbing. Reporting him for asking about if she would fight or not would not have accomplished a thing.

I want to point out that I DID work for the animal shelter, worked in rescue for four years, until my son was mauled by a pitbull and I had to give it up. The rescue I worked for did not endorse breeding, or pet stores, but still recognized that any animal in harms way was an animal that needed to be rescued. I had the pleasure to shut down one HORRIBLE rescue, that was doing more harm to the animals than you could imagine, from terrible living conditions, to no food or water or shelter, to taking sick or injured animals out back, shooting them and leaving them there for the other animals to eat, even if they weren't dead yet. I also had a chance to shut down a puppy mill, which was disturbing as well. The lady had 40 adult dogs, half male, half female, all were terribly matted, filthy, and most were forced to live with each other (they were Mini Schnauzers) in cramped medium sized dog crates. I have seen the horrors of both sides, from bad rescues, to bad breeders, to puppy mills, to just bad owners and still stand by my decision to take my guinea pigs out of the situation they were in. I can see where most come from for not wanting to buy from a petstore, but I cannot leave a sick/dying animal there to suffer. I may be part of the problem, but that's fine by me. Making an animal suffer just to prove a point is not something I'm willing to do. I'd rather save the animal, and go over the businesses head to shut them down, which is what I am doing in Niko's case. I've filed a complaint with the health department because the store was disgusting, and the BBB.

That's the ideal scenario - to be in the position of being able to shut down a breeding mill, and to rescue the unfortunates that were produced.
I think alot of people here have valid points - to leave an animal to suffer is inhumane if there is something that can be done, and it certainly is not the animal's fault to be born into such unfortunate circumstances.
To financially support a breeding mill by buying said animal is also morally wrong if it helps to continue the problem. Except I do have to wonder how much difference it actually does make to the mill when someone here refuses to buy from them?

People are going to buy store animals for as long as stores stock the animals and the way I see it is that the best thing that could happen is for mills to be closed down, and to leave breeding to caring hobby-breeders who work with genetic health and animal welfare in mind - and yes they DO exist. Sites like this and word-of mouth may help to spread awareness and turn hundreds, perhaps thousands of people against buying animals that came from mills but it is a drop in the ocean. Drops can turn into torrents and popular public opinion can change, but it often does so painfully slowly, and may never quite do so when it comes to buying pets from stores (or perhaps one day it will - who knows?). I am not devaluing the good work done by the forum and the members but really I believe the only way to actually stop this crime against animals is to shut down the mills, and I can't see that being acheived by a few thousand people across the world deciding not to buy from them.

My question is to [MENTION=28225]aspecht[/MENTION] (directed at you because you have experience of this, not as any kind of test or challenge I assure you) is how do normal everyday folk go about getting these places shut down? Does it take someone to contact some licensing body with proof that the company has breached animal welfare rules and regulations? Does it take lobbying government agencies? does it take getting together and pooling money to create TV adverts to spread awareness of what goes on?

Aspecht has been in the fortunate position to shut a mill down and save some of the unfortunates that came from mills. If it were possible for more people to do the same would you see it as wrong to save the mill animals then? So if there was a way for folk to shut down a mill in a process taking only a few months would it be wrong to first rescue the animals?

What I'm saying is that refusing to buy from a store/mill is probably not going to make a difference to the profit turnover of the mill. Not unless enough people are involved. Learning what it takes to actually shut down the mill would surely make more of a difference. And if people had the power to do this, then why not also save the poor mill aniamls?

Likewise condemming someone for taking pity on a poor critter in a store may be harsh considering that really that one purchase is not making a darned noticebale difference to the mill's overall turnover. If enough people refused then yeah, mills would go out of business, but just a few people here and a few people there from a town of many thousands isn't enough. What I am saying is there is a delicate balance. One day with enough awareness it may become enough, like with charities where one small gift makes almost no difference but with thousands of people giving it's a massive difference. However I can't help but think that it's not going to be enough anytime soon for breeding mills to ever notice the difference from a small ratio of potential customers turning their backs on them in favour of rescues.

"Buying one store animal makes room for one more". Hmm but mills producing hundreds of animals are not going to breed one more because of it, they'll just breed the same amount to service the same pet stores as before. A few people out of a town of thousands getting rescues instead of buying from them won't even be noticed by the mills. Likewise if demand goes up by the shear fact that half a dozen animal lovers took pity on the animals it still isn't going to make a difference to mill breeding numbers - it isn't a one in-one out system. Of course it IS a supply and demand system but not so finely tuned that buying one store animal will create one more mill animal. Unless a massive amount of people turn away from the stores the supply-and-demand will be almost the same, and so will the amount of animals born in mills.

So slating a few people for taking pity on a store animal is only going so far in terms of putting mills out of business, and probably not very far at that.

There must be a better way to shut down the mills, hence asking Aspecht.

Perhaps other people have looked into this deeper and can see a whole bunch of flaws to my thinking, but the more I think about the problem of mill animals the more I think that the ONLY way to make a difference any time soon is to actually work together to find a way to close the mills. If this can be done then saving animals in the mean time perhaps is no bad thing? I think Aspecht does have a valid point - an animal in need is an animal in need no matter where it was born.

And this is where there is a problem that perhaps invites proper debate. Refusing to buy animals from pet stores/mills is only a viable solution in large enough numbers. If the numbers are too small it won't even make a difference to how many animals are bred by mills, even though they run to supply-and-demand. So is it still wrong then to buy a small number of mill-babies to save said babies from suffering? At what point are there enough people on board to 'vote with their feet' and start to make a difference to profit margins and over-all supply-demand of breeding mills? Obviously at that point there could be no more sympathy buying of store animals, but how would folk know when that point is reached?

I have no clear idea of where I stand on the issue myself. I am throwing in some points that may or may not warrant debate, may be shot down in flames with points that I hadn't thought of etc. Yes I question how much difference it actually makes when a few people in a town of many decides not to support the mill, and I then question whether it is more ethical to save the suffering animal or leave it to its sad fate out of principal, even if the mill would never notice any difference or make any impact on how many animals it breeds as a result of that single action. I am also aware that if enough people are on board with this then one day it will make a difference, and big differences start out with a few people, and it turns into many, turning into a proper impact. Can you see how my thoughts and therefore my post keeps going round in circles on this issue and how I am divided within myself? My apologies for the waffle, but hence the invitation for debate, education (if someone has facts and figures and examples of how this is already making a difference), discussions on individual opinions on morality etc. Cos seriously I see both sides and it isn't a clear black-and white view with me. I can see right in the wrong and wrong in the right!!! The stance of the forum is clear. The stance of members is divided. Perhaps discussing this could help consolidate people, or even bring about new ideas on helping the cause of getting rid of the mills :)
 

aspecht

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The ONLY way to shut down these mills, is to gather enough proof that the mills are doing wrong. Unfortunately, that means buying the animals, to take them to the vet and get documentation of the issues they come with. That is exactly how we closed the mill and the rescue. We made several visits to the rescue, each time we would rescue the most diar animal and have it evaluated by a vet. That evidence would then be used to give to law enforcement. It takes a LONG time to gather enough proof. The mill was much the same. We found a pet store that was supplied by the breeder, and noticed that there were health issues, some genetic in nature that were popping up with all of her litters. We had to purchase three of her animals before we were able to visit her facility (we used the pretense of wanting to breed the puppy we got from her ) and were able to gather enough evidence. without the ability to provide solid veterinary proof that the animals are indeed being mistreated, you will get NOWHERE. A mill will continue to breed, even if you quit buying from a petstore. They will find other means to make money. They may start marketing to reptile owners, or they may start selling online, or they may start shipping overseas for food. What good does it do then?
 

asnnbrg

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I'm going to throw in a large and waffling post. I'm sorry, I'm finding it hard to type my view in a more concise manner as I don't even know what my view really is. I am throwing up a few thoughts for debate, as debate brings about ideas, and discussing conflicting views can bring to the fore facts and ideas that each side had not considered before.



That's the ideal scenario - to be in the position of being able to shut down a breeding mill, and to rescue the unfortunates that were produced.
I think alot of people here have valid points - to leave an animal to suffer is inhumane if there is something that can be done, and it certainly is not the animal's fault to be born into such unfortunate circumstances.
To financially support a breeding mill by buying said animal is also morally wrong if it helps to continue the problem. Except I do have to wonder how much difference it actually does make to the mill when someone here refuses to buy from them?

People are going to buy store animals for as long as stores stock the animals and the way I see it is that the best thing that could happen is for mills to be closed down, and to leave breeding to caring hobby-breeders who work with genetic health and animal welfare in mind - and yes they DO exist. Sites like this and word-of mouth may help to spread awareness and turn hundreds, perhaps thousands of people against buying animals that came from mills but it is a drop in the ocean. Drops can turn into torrents and popular public opinion can change, but it often does so painfully slowly, and may never quite do so when it comes to buying pets from stores (or perhaps one day it will - who knows?). I am not devaluing the good work done by the forum and the members but really I believe the only way to actually stop this crime against animals is to shut down the mills, and I can't see that being acheived by a few thousand people across the world deciding not to buy from them.

My question is to @aspecht (directed at you because you have experience of this, not as any kind of test or challenge I assure you) is how do normal everyday folk go about getting these places shut down? Does it take someone to contact some licensing body with proof that the company has breached animal welfare rules and regulations? Does it take lobbying government agencies? does it take getting together and pooling money to create TV adverts to spread awareness of what goes on?

Aspecht has been in the fortunate position to shut a mill down and save some of the unfortunates that came from mills. If it were possible for more people to do the same would you see it as wrong to save the mill animals then? So if there was a way for folk to shut down a mill in a process taking only a few months would it be wrong to first rescue the animals?

What I'm saying is that refusing to buy from a store/mill is probably not going to make a difference to the profit turnover of the mill. Not unless enough people are involved. Learning what it takes to actually shut down the mill would surely make more of a difference. And if people had the power to do this, then why not also save the poor mill aniamls?

Likewise condemming someone for taking pity on a poor critter in a store may be harsh considering that really that one purchase is not making a darned noticebale difference to the mill's overall turnover. If enough people refused then yeah, mills would go out of business, but just a few people here and a few people there from a town of many thousands isn't enough. What I am saying is there is a delicate balance. One day with enough awareness it may become enough, like with charities where one small gift makes almost no difference but with thousands of people giving it's a massive difference. However I can't help but think that it's not going to be enough anytime soon for breeding mills to ever notice the difference from a small ratio of potential customers turning their backs on them in favour of rescues.

"Buying one store animal makes room for one more". Hmm but mills producing hundreds of animals are not going to breed one more because of it, they'll just breed the same amount to service the same pet stores as before. A few people out of a town of thousands getting rescues instead of buying from them won't even be noticed by the mills. Likewise if demand goes up by the shear fact that half a dozen animal lovers took pity on the animals it still isn't going to make a difference to mill breeding numbers - it isn't a one in-one out system. Of course it IS a supply and demand system but not so finely tuned that buying one store animal will create one more mill animal. Unless a massive amount of people turn away from the stores the supply-and-demand will be almost the same, and so will the amount of animals born in mills.

So slating a few people for taking pity on a store animal is only going so far in terms of putting mills out of business, and probably not very far at that.

There must be a better way to shut down the mills, hence asking Aspecht.

Perhaps other people have looked into this deeper and can see a whole bunch of flaws to my thinking, but the more I think about the problem of mill animals the more I think that the ONLY way to make a difference any time soon is to actually work together to find a way to close the mills. If this can be done then saving animals in the mean time perhaps is no bad thing? I think Aspecht does have a valid point - an animal in need is an animal in need no matter where it was born.

And this is where there is a problem that perhaps invites proper debate. Refusing to buy animals from pet stores/mills is only a viable solution in large enough numbers. If the numbers are too small it won't even make a difference to how many animals are bred by mills, even though they run to supply-and-demand. So is it still wrong then to buy a small number of mill-babies to save said babies from suffering? At what point are there enough people on board to 'vote with their feet' and start to make a difference to profit margins and over-all supply-demand of breeding mills? Obviously at that point there could be no more sympathy buying of store animals, but how would folk know when that point is reached?

I have no clear idea of where I stand on the issue myself. I am throwing in some points that may or may not warrant debate, may be shot down in flames with points that I hadn't thought of etc. Yes I question how much difference it actually makes when a few people in a town of many decides not to support the mill, and I then question whether it is more ethical to save the suffering animal or leave it to its sad fate out of principal, even if the mill would never notice any difference or make any impact on how many animals it breeds as a result of that single action. I am also aware that if enough people are on board with this then one day it will make a difference, and big differences start out with a few people, and it turns into many, turning into a proper impact. Can you see how my thoughts and therefore my post keeps going round in circles on this issue and how I am divided within myself? My apologies for the waffle, but hence the invitation for debate, education (if someone has facts and figures and examples of how this is already making a difference), discussions on individual opinions on morality etc. Cos seriously I see both sides and it isn't a clear black-and white view with me. I can see right in the wrong and wrong in the right!!! The stance of the forum is clear. The stance of members is divided. Perhaps discussing this could help consolidate people, or even bring about new ideas on helping the cause of getting rid of the mills :)

You make good points, and you're right: My not buying a piggy isn't going to make one whit of a difference to the breeding mills. But ... I still wouldn't do it, and I'd still recommend others get their pigs from a reputable shelter OR a private person (which isn't always a rescue situation either, but it's a pig needing a home nonetheless). Why? Well, for the same reason I encourage people to vote and get out there and vote myself. My one vote probably doesn't make a difference in the world. But, when combined with millions of others, it becomes something pretty powerful. Now, I'm not going to condemn someone for buying a pig (petstore or breeder) just like I'm not going to condemn someone for voting in a way with which I disagree. But I am not going to let their choices and actions silence my own beliefs, either.

Every journey begins with one step, right? Which means every revolution begins with one person.

I'm ok with not being able to shut pet mills down on my own. But I believe that one day they WILL shut down if we all tell others and fight for what's right.

(Also, I am not at all trying to shoot you down. I'm using your thoughts as a jumping-off point about why I believe what I believe).
 

2198lindsey

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I'm entitled to have my opinion, and I stand by it.

No, I don't think your efforts are useless because you bred two litters. She has bred more than two litters, and I find it hypocritical to be SO against Guinea Pig breeding but be FOR dog breeding.

Of course I rescued my Guinea Pigs. What an absolutely absurd question in light of everything I just wrote. I'm done with this topic because people really fail to see the point of anything I'm typing, which is truly astonishing.
Just to clarify, I no longer breed BECAUSE I am not supportive of it. And I agree with you completely.
 

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You make good points, and you're right: My not buying a piggy isn't going to make one whit of a difference to the breeding mills. But ... I still wouldn't do it, and I'd still recommend others get their pigs from a reputable shelter OR a private person (which isn't always a rescue situation either, but it's a pig needing a home nonetheless). Why? Well, for the same reason I encourage people to vote and get out there and vote myself. My one vote probably doesn't make a difference in the world. But, when combined with millions of others, it becomes something pretty powerful. Now, I'm not going to condemn someone for buying a pig (petstore or breeder) just like I'm not going to condemn someone for voting in a way with which I disagree. But I am not going to let their choices and actions silence my own beliefs, either.

Every journey begins with one step, right? Which means every revolution begins with one person.

I'm ok with not being able to shut pet mills down on my own. But I believe that one day they WILL shut down if we all tell others and fight for what's right.

(Also, I am not at all trying to shoot you down. I'm using your thoughts as a jumping-off point about why I believe what I believe).

Thank you @asnnbrg and I believe you are right too. Like in the charity example I gave and your voting example we know the money I give/our vote makes liitle difference to the cause, but many thousands of contributionsvotes make a huge difference.
This forum, animal welfare organisations, shelters, other pro-adoption forums, individuals are a part of what I would hope to be a revolution in the way people think about their pets, the pet industry and what is right and wrong. What I am saddened by though is that shelters have been around for decades, as have animal welfare organistations and still it would appear that there hasn't been a big enough shift in public opinion/buying habits to actually make the slightest bit of difference in reducing the numbers of animals produced by mills. It's nice to not be part of the problem by not buying the store pet, but right now it appears we're not part of the solution either simply because our numbers are too low, so I cannot find it in my heart to feel scorn on someone's actions when they buy that suffering store animal, as I don't actually think it is making a difference to that mill or the animals in the mill whether it's bought by us or left in the store for someone else.

Of course though one obvious flaw in my thinking is that I am not factoring in shelters and genuine rehoming. Animals there also require a home.

And another flaw in my thinking, having thought about it further, we are in the age of network technology - internet, smart phones - information is an ever easier thing to access, so it IS easier to spread the word and get more people involved.
Public opinion can stay stagnent for decades then start to change. Look at the meat industry, no matter what your views are on eating meat and whether or not a humane farm exists I really do not want to start a debate on the matter - but supermarkets in the western world are turning more and more to responsibly sourced fish, outdoor reared meat (people are cottoning on to the fact that free-range can mean nothing more than being able to force one's way from one side of a dirty overcrowded shed to another), responsible packaging (in the UK several large chain supermarkets have stopped buying from wood pulp industries that cut down rainforests) Fair-trade goods........ It's still too little, and the sad fact is that most shoppers still do not buy the more ethical choices, either because they cannot afford to or they just don't give a damn where their goods come from, but still, supermarkets know that when it comes to a significant minority of the population 'ethical' choices sell.

If it is so darned hard to shut these mills down then perhaps one of the biggest hits we can make against them is to target, not just the general public, but the stores themselves in making more ethical choices. Sure they need to make a profit and get in cheap mill animals to help sell the whole set-ups, but 'ethical' also sells, especially if a store becaomes part of the campaign. It is quite possible that a very large percentage of the population would buy from an ethical store instead of the standard store if the two types were in fairly close proximity, but only if they knew that the ethical store was indeed ethical and the reasons why.

So - 'ethical' can mean a nice fat profit. It can be abused and twisted (such as the free-range label on meat), but factually accurate ethical with freely available information really can make good business sense. Perhaps THAT is how to start making a bigger difference to the pet mill industy and the pet industry as a whole?
 

CavySpirit

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The ONLY way to shut down these mills, is to gather enough proof that the mills are doing wrong. Unfortunately, that means buying the animals, to take them to the vet and get documentation of the issues they come with. That is exactly how we closed the mill and the rescue. We made several visits to the rescue, each time we would rescue the most diar animal and have it evaluated by a vet. That evidence would then be used to give to law enforcement. It takes a LONG time to gather enough proof. The mill was much the same. We found a pet store that was supplied by the breeder, and noticed that there were health issues, some genetic in nature that were popping up with all of her litters. We had to purchase three of her animals before we were able to visit her facility (we used the pretense of wanting to breed the puppy we got from her ) and were able to gather enough evidence. without the ability to provide solid veterinary proof that the animals are indeed being mistreated, you will get NOWHERE. A mill will continue to breed, even if you quit buying from a petstore. They will find other means to make money. They may start marketing to reptile owners, or they may start selling online, or they may start shipping overseas for food. What good does it do then?

Your whole experience first assumes that you even know who this local mill is. Your scenario is how you closed down a hoarder and their breeder/supplier/mill. Don't get me wrong, it's a good effort and a great win and took a lot of work. But it's also kind of a given that anyone is going to be upset by someone claiming to be a rescue and is the opposite. Your path is already socially easier than most of what we are talking about here. The pet store being the point of entry for most people.

I don't want to really argue with you about this, but I hope you can appreciate that your way is not the only way either. I have managed to help get 2 pet stores closed and one to stop carrying small pets, and never did I have to buy a pet. Your approach works in egregious circumstances with horrific conditions. I've also been involved in several of those cases working with Animal Control officers and shelters. And in the two BIG cases that I worked on (breeder mills) and am intimately familiar with, in the end, the offenders got little more than a slap on the wrist, they moved, and in the long run probably set up shop elsewhere. I know one I'm referring to on the east coast did. I'm not sure if the other is breeding again. I do know she moved. One I'm referring to is the Hollister rescue story. A 300 guinea pig horrific backyard breeder mill.

Because of my efforts on many fronts with that, it was not just a single rescue event that shut down one mill, it was a rescue 'heard around the world.' I leveraged the hell out of that and got some frickin' incredible press and PR and awareness. We fought back using business and marketing techniques. We were in practically every newspaper around the country. I was interviewed on every major news network. The story was picked up by CNN and even the BBC. We were on a TV magazine show, a morning talk show, I was even interviewed for a Japanese radio talk show, not to mention the radio talk shows around the country. I used that one sorry ass situation to get a mountain of exposure and education out to the public. During the rescue, we got a lot of great local support in the Bay Area and had a great group of people helping with the whole thing. I'm not suggesting that this exact thing can be done often, but I'm saying that sometimes, when bad shit happens, if you think outside the box, you can leverage your efforts. I'm all about leverage. Getting the most exposure and education out to the masses that you can from your efforts. That is to me, what we all need to do from an animal activist point of view. Because there surely aren't enough of us to go around.

It's all about business. Going through legal channels, is in my experience, almost impossible. The very sad truth is that the legal system is NOT set up to protect the innocent, voiceless animals. Not at all. And also, in the end, I don't believe we can solve business/marketing/social issues with legislation. We have to solve business problems with business tools.

~~~~~~~~~

Sidebar rant:

In 2002, I was quite instrumental in getting one of the few objective (vs subjective, read "big fat gray lines") laws pertaining to pet stores passed in California. Now, in California, when you buy a pet, you have to be given a care sheet about that pet. Just that little common sense bit was a monumental fight against the PIJAC lobbyists, Petco senior management and lobbyists, the cat breeders association, Kmart or Walmart (fish) (can't remember which one), other breeders, and a boatload of pet store owners, not to mention the infighting amongst animal welfare organizations because it wasn't a perfect bill, so why bother. So, when I hear people say "they ought to pass a law," sure, yeah, right. Go for it. I'm all for that (kind of, although I hate big government, animal legislation is sorely lacking). I lobbied HARD. Spent many days in Sacramento (2-hour drive for me each way) along with the top lobbyist from the Doris Day Animal League at the time walking the halls, knocking on the senators and assembly people's doors, attending events, posting online, sending out stuff, testifying at committee meetings (that was an experience). I even personally created a website so that stores could easily get common pet care sheets branded with their pet store info to allay the bullshit complaint that it would be too hard and too expensive for them to do. And quite frankly, I think it was that in the end, that convinced the BUSINESS PEOPLE sitting in those chairs to pass the damn thing. That whole process took months and was a giant civics 101 lesson for me. I do recommend EVERYONE try to have that experience. Champion a bill and try to get it passed. It's a HUGE wake-up call on how our political process works. Even on that little thing, despite all the many, many hours of work put into it, in the end, you can see that how it goes, depends a lot on who owes who what favors and support and who even shows up to vote when the time comes even if you thought you had their support. Then after all of that, assuming you get it passed in both the state Senate and Assembly, you then have to lobby the governor personally and his or her office to make sure that the dang thing actually gets signed into law, all the while fighting against very well-paid hired guns who are VERY motivated to suppress ANY bill that restricts them in ANY way.

End rant.

~~~~~~~~

In my opinion, one of the quite frankly easiest ways to get a pet store to stop selling pets is to DISRUPT their business. You have to make them want to stop carrying the animals. It has to be more costly and difficult for them to sell them than not. It's that simple really. And I mean easiest as in best chance for success. It's still not easy.

Here's one of my successful techniques in getting a pet store to stop selling pets:

1) Have a good relationship with Animal Control in your town. Get to know them. It's not that hard. Just go in and talk to them. Ask for 20 minutes, talk about the issues, what's important to them, etc. etc. Develop a relationship and respect.

2) Be a PITA to the store. First, you can't cry wolf. So, when you see something that isn't right in the store, you have to call AC, you have to get them to come out to the store. Just having a uniformed AC officer walking into a pet store is BAD PR for them. Doesn't matter how it works out. No doubt they'll clean up or fix whatever the issue is. And if you can somehow pull off a visit by AC on a busy Saturday afternoon with lots of people in the store, all the better.

3) Go in again a few days later. If you see something not right, go get a store manager. Let's say a water bottle is missing or leaking or something is needed in the cage. I love making them go open up product off of their shelves to fix it. You WAIT until they do it in front of you. And they typically will make you wait.

4) Rinse and repeat. If it's necessary, threaten to call AC and do call if you have to, so make sure it's a valid issue.

5) If they get to the point where they won't let you in, you have to enlist a friend or two (and that is also very hard).

6) Take photos of bad stuff. Some stores post signs that cameras and photos are not allowed. Why do you think that is? It may even be against the law. I don't know. Cell phones with cameras are everywhere. The gagging of whistle-blowers in this country has reached new highs, but if you are advocating for the voiceless, I believe you have to have courage of conviction. But that's just me. You do what you feel is right.

7) Photos and stories MUST get posted to YELP. it's still the most popular local business review option.

8) Post here and other places and mention that they are bad or whatever and include the business name, address, general location and website address so that google can find it.

~~~~~~~~

So, you can see that this level of effort is pretty significant. It sure as heck takes a lot more time and emotional energy than going in and buying one pet and a trip to the vet (what most people want to do). Those actions are all in our comfort zone. Super super easy to do. And do nothing to solve anything other and just make it worse.

However, dealing with confrontation, management, officials, possibly press, media, etc. are all outside of most people's comfort zones. But, that's what it really takes. And it IS possible.

~~~~~~~~

With pet stores, you're almost never going to be able to visit the "source" of where they get their animals. This is where PETA comes in on the big players. The VAST majority of small pet stores and of course all the chains, buy their pets from distributors. Some distributors also breed, many get theirs from various mills and crappy breeders, some do both. Distributors also sometimes buy animals en masse at the SHOWS where the so-called responsible breeders (as they like to dub themselves) attend and win their ribbons and get their social jollies at. Distributors also buy animals at the animal auctions -- again where some breeders sell their cast-offs. So, it's a complicated morass. And I absolutely guarantee you that no distributor is going to let you in to look at anything. For that, you'd have to go undercover.

I'll have to go more into this another time, but I also take issue with the sense of hopelessness that our actions overall won't be enough and we'll just shift the problem around.
 
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