Mind my language.
Actually, no. Don’t. I make no apologies for calling those who support the suffering of puppy farmed dogs exactly what they are.
How do we stop puppy farming in the UK?
An interesting topic for discussion. I fear we (I’m talking about we as in us, the media) have possibly skirted the heart of the issue on this one. I also fear we’ve been too kind and too soft on the main underlying cause of puppy farms in the UK. So, let’s try and get it out in the open shall we….
…the reason we still have puppy farms in the UK is because there are still significant numbers of would-be puppy buyers who plain don’t care where they get their dog from or what route that dog has taken to make its way to their home. They, quite simply, want a dog and they want it now.
Let’s think about it for a second; if people didn’t purchase from puppy farms and from pet shops, there’d be none.
So why do people do it?
Some of them are misguided, misinformed. OK, I accept that. But even so, in 2012 with ALL of the wealth of information that exists about how to obtain a dog responsibly, is it REALLY a valid excuse any more? I mean, really?
And for everyone who accidentally, unintentionally winds up putting money in to the pocket of puppy farmers, there’s certainly more folk who do it and who couldn’t really care less either way.
Whilst it is an ongoing disgrace that puppy farms are allowed to thrive and propser in a country where laws, legislation and enforcement of such establishments have never really been properly crafted to a point where they have been forced out of business, whilst the demand exists – the puppy farmer will thrive.
If puppy farming is to be defeated, the first point of action needs to be in changing the attitude and behaviour of purchasers.
Look at this way; if there was ZERO demand for cocaine, would the governments of the world even need to make laws and spend BILLIONS on trying to combat traffickers around the globe? Of course not! No demand means the supplier is automatically redundant. And let’s establish one thing, for the record, puppies are NOTHING like cocaine. So our failure to combat puppy farmers is interlinked, exclusively, with our failure to convince enough people of the right and wrong ways to acquire a dog.
How can we change this? How do we push for a culture change?
It’s going to be hard and I feel it’s going to take something big. But I am 100% convinced that even if we were to bring in laws that would legislate against puppy farms, if there is still a 10 or 20% demand from the same sort of people who acquiring their dogs from puppy farmers today, the laws themselves won’t be enough.
Which is the low hanging fruit with this issue? Do we push hard for tougher laws first and then hope for the best in terms of people abiding by them? Or do we go for a major push on trying to affect a change in the way people think about acquiring dogs, in particular puppies?
I am, increasingly, more inclined toward the latter.
I thought of some slogans. But please bear in mind these are slogans straight from the gut. I have little time for anyone who contributes to the suffering of puppies and I do feel that sometimes too much sympathy is extended to folks who purchased from puppy farms only to ‘realise their error too late’. Maybe the kid gloves need to come off?
1) Thinking of getting a puppy? Don’t buy from a puppy farmer, dunce!
It’s unsubtle, straight to the point and uses one of the most effective forms of peer-based persuasion; ridicule.
2) Thinking of getting a puppy? First make sure your supplier isn’t a total scumbag!
Now, you see, I’m getting straight to the point with these slogans. A distinct theme is emerging.
3) Thinking of getting a puppy? Only a turd-for-brains would buy from a puppy farmer! Are YOU that person?
It’s insulting, yes. I stand by it.
4) Would you wear a fur coat made from Labrador puppies? Then don’t fund sick puppy farmers, silly!
It’s not quite so insulting.
5) Only an arsehole supports puppy farmers! You’re not an arsehole, are you?
Again, to the point. Sums up my feelings.
6) If you purchase from a puppy farmer, your knees will fall off – Ouch!
OK, bear with me. I’m thinking, some of the puppy farmer’s key customers come from the demographic that marketers describe as ‘incredibly stupid, oafish morons’ – so I’m working on the assumption that they might actually believe this. Maybe even link it to some sort of ‘scientific study’.
Bottom line here, we have GOT to make a change. Somehow, some way we need to influence buyers. There was a programme on BBC last week which set out to ‘uncover’ puppy farmers, in one scene people were turning up to buy puppies even whilst there was a camera crew ‘exposing’ the place as a puppy farm. What does it take to get people to understand?
The media who carry adverts for puppy farmers, they are guilty as sin. Some big names out there profiting from the misery of dogs. I think it’s about time they were named and shamed. I’m more than happy to take up that mantle. Why should a company be allowed to make even £100 from the abject suffering of a single dog? Let’s get this in perspective, if the demand end of this relationship is stemmed, the supply end automatically dies – those who are involved in the perpetuation of the demand end, they should be held to account.
What do we need to do? How can we start to affect a real, genuine, long term change in culture and attitude?
It absolutely CAN be done, make no mistake. There is enough evidence to prove that culture change and buying habits CAN be influenced dramatically – and in many cases, it only requires one, very loud, very direct message to hit home with the ‘right’ audience.
It’s no good me ranting about this to you, you’re reading this blog – I already know you’re not, therefore, stupid enough to purchase from a puppy farmer. So without wanting to preach to the choir, want I do want to do is try and discover how best to deliver the message.
(Oh, and for the record – my personal pick would be:
5) Only an arsehole supports puppy farmers! You’re not an arsehole, are you? – I’d be prepared to make this in to a full page poster and national advertising campaign. And no, I’m not kidding).
So, am I wrong?