by Edward Paque Introduction: Animal companionship has been a growing trend over many generations. Today pets have a great variety from insects to mammals. I want to focus on a certain species today and that is puppies. Puppies are adored my most people around the world, people love to comment on how cute they are and how they might just want to take that cute little puppy home. The problem is that those same people will never question where that puppy came from, they’ll just buy it and take it home no questions asked. Many issues come from this blissful ignorance, that money that you spent on that puppy may go on to further fund unethical breeding practices that may create genetic issues for offspring, and also enforce the unethical treatment of the breeding parents. Puppy mills are notorious for their pet living conditions, doing a quick Google search of puppy mill will show you the horrors that these poor dogs go through on a daily basis. Warning it can be hard to watch! Puppies tend to be the lucky ones in this situation when it comes to harsh living conditions, but they may end up suffering from extreme shyness, aggression, fear and anxiety. Families that take in these poor pups don’t usually know what they sign themselves up for. Many of us will be proud to say that California is the first state in the United States to ban the sales of animals from puppy mills, so if any pet store sales dog, cats, or rabbits they must come from animal shelters or rescue programs. California is a current example for other states and hopefully it creates a chain reaction. Humans are the ones that created these circumstances so it is our responsibility to create solutions to make puppy breeding more ethical at the minimum. A Short History of Puppies: Puppy breeders rely on different distributors to create a pretty picture for them; they use pet shops, online retailers, dog brokers, auctions and transporters. A puppy’s time in the puppy mill or malpractice breeders is short. The big issues are that they are usually sold before eight weeks and the first few months are necessary to socialize the pup. As mentioned earlier they develop negative quirks when they are weaned off to early. Puppies don’t just suffer from mental afflictions some of these puppy mills are prime areas for many diseases, illnesses and parasites. Some of these dogs are infected with polio, pneumonia or carry parasites. Dog brokers have created an efficient system for puppy mills to sell their puppies allowing them to increase production. These dog brokers obtain puppies in mass amounts then they sell them to puppy stores. These dog brokers have a portfolio of different breeds allowing pet shops to get a diverse set of puppies that may be popular in one stop. This platform has now evolved to have an online presence. Brokers now create fancy looking websites that match pet breeders with unknowing customers. Puppies are then trucked off across the country only offering food and water every 12 hours. Standard for transporting are minimal and poorly enforced. While all of this occurs the puppies parents never leave the breeding facility many never get to see the outside. Unless, the dog breeders decide that they are of no use to them anymore. The dog breeders may then take them to an action that allows them to sell them to other breeders which mean just another cage. If no one buys the dogs then they get discarded or abandoned. Lens of Environmental Ethics: Anthropocentric systems are dominating the puppy industry. This is evident when looking at the laws that are meant to protect puppies and other animals. A minimum amount of effort is put to enforce ethical treatment of pets. Puppy mills abuse the system by creating ethically unfit environments. One question humans fail to ask themselves when dealing with other species is “Would I like to be in their situation or would I want to create a better system?” simply asking this question can improve the decision we make as humans. Helping us tap into our empathy. The root of the problem is the leniency of the current law and its enforceability. Puppy mills take advantage of these conditions and abuse the animal’s physical limitations. Puppy mills are a prime example of this anthropocentric society that we live in, the system exploits dogs to create wealth for breeders and future health issues for the dogs. The purchasers are only focused on getting a pet so they don’t usually put in effort to research their puppy provider. The owners then have to deal with the hidden fee of obtaining one of these puppies which may range from psychological trauma to physical illnesses like pneumonia. There are an estimated amount of 10,000 puppy mills throughout the United States. (Humane Society) On average that would be about 200 puppy mills per state. That is crazy, to top it off there are states that don’t support the puppy mill system so that means that puppy mill must be concentrated in the states that have lenient laws. Thousands of facilities are licensed 165,400 dogs are kept solely for breeding by USDA-licensed facilities. (Humane Society) This basically means that they may get away with poor living standards for breeding animals and may not have to provide proper medical support for these animals. 2 million puppies are sold each year after originating from a puppy mill. (Humane Society) This number only accounts for the puppies that are sold not born, imagine how many don’t survive. This astronomically big number is also very frightening because so many bad genetic traits are slipping through the breeding process that many dogs end up suffering long term. Lens of Social Construction of Nature: as time passed our relationship with dog grew. At first we used dogs to help us perform jobs like hunting and herding. In return we would provide sustenance for them. As the human race developed our bond with our pets became less practical and more companionship oriented. Today multiple dog breeds have risen up. Dogs now have a multitude of purposes like, service dogs, companion dogs, designer dogs, and completion focused dogs. Puppy mills have been the fuel for filling these roles in the past, giving an abundant amount of dogs to choose from. Meany owners would like the opportunity to hand select their own breed of dog, so many don’t complain about puppy mills. Many people may also be ignorant to the ugly conditions in breeding facilities. They assume that the dogs live happy lives and are satisfied. The problem lies in how the dogs are not happy or satisfied because they are being exploited for all of their “value”. We as a species made it ok and continue to make it ok for puppy mills to continue as they were. The solution is to create actual enforcement for strict laws. This will only become possible when we begin to believe that animals deserve natural rights just like us. Conclusion: Puppies don’t always come from a reliable source. It is our responsibility to deconstruct the system in place. IF you must buy a puppy; do your research make sure that you are getting your puppy from a reliable source, someone who provides more than just basic necessities for the puppies and their parents. Another recommended choice is to visit your local sheltr and adopt, there is nothing wrong with adopting from a shelter. You are doing that poor animal a service when your rescue him from the shelter. Many are overloaded with dogs so the shelter must do what it has to do to make space, which may mean euthanasia. Be the example you want to see in the world, other will follow. Eventually I hope to see the dissembling of the anthropocentric system that revolves around dogs. It will show me that humanity is walking on a better path, one that will take us to ecocentric society.