It has become common for Australians to buy animals online via classified ads sites, especially those breeds who are considered ‘designer’ and therefore attract a high dollar value. This demand has given rise to unscrupulous animal breeders, also known as ‘puppy farmers’, who abuse animals as breeding machines with a focus on producing a high number of litters every year.
Puppy and kitten farms are commercial breeding facilities where the parent animals are kept, generally in very poor conditions, to be bred repeatedly for their young. Animals kept in intensive breeding facilities may be subject to a host of welfare concerns, including overcrowding, ongoing confinement, over breeding, early infant-mother separation, health complications, a lack of veterinary care and unhygienic housing conditions.
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In the mass breeding business dogs are generally not housed or treated in a manner adequate to their needs. Nor are the mothers or puppies provided with the medical care they require. Dogs languish under the worst conditions confined in basements, sheds and garages. The puppies and their mothers are kept in small, cramped spaces, with little lighting, no ventilation or heat. The breeding dogs are sometimes chained and are not given any exercise, often underfed and mistreated.
In these factories, the ‘mothers’ often suffer horrific physical injuries as a result of constant pregnancies and birthing, while the ‘fathers’ are usually kept alone and suffer neglect.
The puppies are generally taken away from their mothers before the end of their nursing period and kept in horrible living conditions, such as small wire cages, and are at risk of being infected with deadly puppy diseases like parvo. Being removed from their mother too early means the puppies are deprived of the social contact. The mother, reduced to a breeding machine, is often too weak to care for her children, as she is bred over and over again with next to no recovery time allowed in between litters.
A few weeks after their birth, the puppies may be sold to pet stores or be advertised online. In some cases, these animals are sold without proper vaccinations, worming treatments or microchipping.
buying a puppy ONLINE risks supportING a cruel, illegal trade.
Do your homework before choosing your new furry friend to help put an end to puppy farm abuse.
How is puppy farming legal?
While the welfare conditions on a puppy farms may be illegal under animal cruelty standards set out in various Australian state and territory codes of practice, puppy farming itself has not been considered illegal as a practice in the past.
Encouragingly, several Australian states are introducing new legislation to protect animals from intensive breeding, with Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia restricting the number of animals a commercial breeder can own and tighter regulations around the registration of animals.
We always recommend adopting a rescued animal rather than buying one
At the heart of this issue is consumer responsibility, it is consumers creating this demand for online pets, so it is also the consumer who can end it.
At FOUR PAWS we strongly advocate for adoption. Choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group not only saves the life of that animal, but also positively contributes to the ongoing fight against animal overpopulation and homelessness.
However, if people are determined to buy an animal, we suggest that they always buy from a reputable breeder, that they insist on seeing the mother of the puppies, that they check that the puppy is healthy, has had their injections and is at least eight weeks old before they leaves their mother.
We strongly recommend avoiding buying from online classified sites especially from people advertising different breeds of puppies for sale and from pet shops, which may be supplied by puppy farms.