Puppy farms originated in Wales which has the second highest number in Europe, after Ireland. After World War II the authorities there decided that a good way to generate some income for impoverished farmers would be encourage their wives to breed pedigree pups.
It would allow disused sheds and barns to be put to use again. It would also allow for improved community spirit between involved parties.
But greed and poor implementation of animal welfare laws resulted in a proliferation of puppy-farms as we know them: mass-production of sick, poor quality dogs in putrid conditions.
Most would say that nobody in his or her right mind would allow this to happen again, especially since it is now universally accepted by experts in animal behaviour and health that dogs, being intelligent, predatory, domesticated animals, are completely unsuited to being ‘farmed’ under any conditions.
However, I was horrified that your issue of Irish Examiner Farming on November 11 reported that this very idea has been suggested by the Irish Dog Breeders Association (IDBA) to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture and Food.
A great way to make money, a great way to utilise disused sheds and a great way for farmers’ wives to get to know others with a similar interest. Sound familiar? The ISPCA tell me that they have a long list of puppy farms, just as bad as those we saw earlier this year, ready to be raided.
However, they can do nothing about them because they have no money. Every day, animals suffer unimaginable cruelty, but the ISPCA cannot respond. They don’t have the staff. So, Irish Dog Breeders Association, who is going to enforce any of the proposed standards on all these new breeding premises you encourage? Not the ISPCA, obviously.
Not the Irish Kennel Club (IKC) either. There is nothing to stop a breeder applying for IKC certificates for non-pedigree, and even non-existent, pups, and until they can prevent this and other abuses they are in no position to regulate the proposed puppy farms.
Not the IDBA themselves, as self-policing is no policing. Almost 20% of all dogs born in Ireland each year are put to sleep in Irish pounds - a minimum of 18,000 dogs. Every year. Pedigree and mongrel.
This does not include the thousands more put to sleep privately by their owners. This country is awash with unwanted dogs, and there are virtually no resources provided by the state to rescue cruelly-treated dogs.
The suggestion to breed even more dogs seems to be aimed at one thing, and that is to line some peoples’ pockets. Will the farmers’ wives be liable for tax on their new-found wealth? Dog health and welfare gets little mention in the IDBA’s plans, and even if it did, there are no resources to ensure minimal care standards.
Not to mention the prospective puppy owners who are conned into believing their new pup has been reared to the best standards when, in fact, they have paid over the odds for a sub-standard, conveyor-belt produced dog.
I appeal to the working group not to consider the IDBA’s suggestions.
I am disappointed that you would publish such an unbalanced report. I suggest that you present the opinion of the other side, who are not interested in profiting from the misery of dogs.
107 Oriel Cove