Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blog The Change: Look What We're Doing!

Has healthy dog become an oxymoron? Why are so many of our dogs suffering from inherited disorders? And what is our role in all this?

Most diseases are affected to some extent by both genes and the environment. A genetic disorder is one in which an abnormality in the genetic make-up of the individual plays a significant role in causing the condition.

Like it or not, we are responsible for both - the environment and the bad genes!

While on one hand the  advances in veterinary medicine offer more and more tools to battle disease, our dogs seem to be getting sicker.

What is wrong with this picture? And what can we do about it?

The problem is in our priorities!

Let's start with the problem of breeding practices.

One of human biggest problems is greed. 

We are quite willing to exploit anything and everything for easy money. This actually has to do with both environment and genetics.

And on the day when greed and breeding came together under one roof, man created puppy mills.

Frankly, I find it mind boggling that puppy mills have survived to this day! There is no gray area here, there is no room for confusion—it is just plain wrong. It is exploitation at its worst. How is it possible that this is allowed to keep happening?

These are not good intentions gone wrong, these are not products of ignorance, this is just plain and pure greed with no regard and no remorse.

If you have seen the movie The Matrix, I'm sure you were appalled at they way the machines were farming human beings.

“Human beings are no longer born, we are grown.”

Well, I believe that puppy mills are worse than that!

Why? Those humans were at least provided with optimal biological conditions and nutrition. In their minds they could live out their lives any way they wanted. That is more than the puppy mills can say for themselves!

Puppy mills are the worst case scenario from both genetic and environmental perspective.

Of course those are just some particular individuals who are running those mills, right? We didn't do it, they did, right?

But what are we doing to stop it?

"He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done." 
—Leonardo da Vinci
There is just one thing puppy mills remind me of ...

Image from Quality Information Publishers, Inc.

We need to open our eyes and see. We need to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak up for themselves.

Wow, would you believe that I originally planned on writing about something else all together? But this is one of those things that needed to be said (again) until no puppy mill is left in the world.

Stay tuned for more articles on breeding and dog health.

To read more about puppy mills check out these articles or just Google it:
Puppy Mill Dogs (and Puppies) and their Health Problems
Puppy Mills: What Can We Do to Stop Them?
Dog Health Problems: My Puppy Mill Plea
Blood Pup: The New Term For a Pet Store Puppy?
A New Way to Close Puppy Mills!



  1. Those are some graphical pictures. Couldn't chose what is worse. Definitly not mankinds finest hours. Well, except the matrix then :) Just to close on a positive note...

    Looking forward on what you are going to write about breeding and health.

  2. This is tragic indeed, a topic we have both discussed in-depth before. You were the one who opened my eyes to the horrors of even "credible" dog breeding practices. That made me hopelessly aware forever with the kind of understanding that needs to be shared everywhere.

    Thanks for Blogging the Change, Jana!

  3. Mankind's capacity for cruelty is simply startling. Great cause to call attention to today.

  4. These genetic problems started long before the puppy mills. It started with the AKC & CKC. Dog "fanciers" (and I use this term loosely) breeding for fashion instead of breeding for health and function. There are so many good dog breeds that have been genetically ruined forever. 70% of Boxers and Golden Retrievers die of cancer. Cancer is a huge problem with many sight hound breeds, as well. The German Shepherd breed is crippled with hip dysplasia for that fancy "flying gait". Cocker Spaniels with a health disorders list as long as my arm.

    The AKC could help to solve the problem, but they refuse to let any fresh breeding stock into their registries.

  5. Wholeheartedly agree with you! Standing right beside you on this one - and thank you for speaking out about it!

  6. Thank you guys for reading and commenting!

    Karen, yes, that was the original plan to write about that, but the piece took on a life on its own, happens to me sometimes. I do plan on writing more articles about how bad breeding affects our dogs' health.

  7. Hi Y'all,

    It's so important that what was bred into our ancestors so we could perform our jobs does not get twisted and exaggerated by the "standards".

    As certain breeders turn their backs on the purpose for which the various breeds were created, their breeds become "objects" for display; their breeds become unable to do their jobs.

    Some of the breeders of working and hunting breeds are now making an effort to breed well rounded dogs that can both perform and work or hunt. Perhaps it isn't too late for some.

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. Exactly. We all need to think a lot more seriously about what we are doing in the name of greed. What we are doing and what we have done and how to make changes that will improve animal health in the future. There are a lot of controversial topics I could bring up about breeding but I won't because this is your blog and I am sure you know about them already. Thanks for being brave enough to start a conversation.

  9. hi jana, i've been reading so many sad topics over the weekend in this blog the change bloghop. puppy mills are one of the worst, next to petshops that still sell pets in cages. worst of all are the people who continue to buy from these places, and therefore create the market.

    i don't know if this is an appropriate place to post a link. but here's one, to an old BBC programme about the terrible problems that so many pedigree breeds now face thanks to unscrupulous and just plain stupid breeding practices. [exactly as mentioned by karen f in an earlier comment.] you might have seen it already. If not, bring out the tissues :(

  10. Hawk, I don't think it's too late but something needs to be done now.

  11. Kristine, yes, I plan on a bunch of posts on the topic. Anything you can bring to the table is welcome though.

  12. Excellent post. Very well done.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  13. I think one of the problems is that there actually is a gray area, at least for most people. Most people believe puppy mills are the extreme worst places with hundreds of dogs crammed in small cages with serious injuries, no food or water, etc. The rest are just "bad breeders."

    But the reality is most "puppy mills" are much smaller businesses (bad breeders). The dogs have food and water and space to at least move around. There may only be 15 dogs and puppies total. To a lot of people, these "breeders" are not necessarily good, but they are not bad enough to be considered "puppy mills" even if their sole purpose is to produce as many puppies as possible to make a big profit with little upkeep.

    our local mall pet shop tells its customers that it gets the puppies from "local breeders" and that seems to make people happy enough. They don't realize that puppy mills are "breeders"!

    Ugh ...

  14. Lindsay, I can see what you're saying. I think it would be best to start with the big and bad ones, get rid of those and move on to the lesser evil.

  15. Great blog, Jana! Our pets are our family, & they should be our priority.

    The same as for people, the food that we feed our pets, the water that they drink (should be purified, not tap!); also consider any weed killer, toxins, fertilizer that might be in the lawn. When the dogs go outside & play, & do their business in the grass outside, has it been sprayed or treated with toxic chemicals? Dogs instinctively eat grass. I give my dog, Taz, fresh juiced organic grown wheat grass. Just a few teaspoons in his pure water, once or twice a week. It's cleansing/detox & nourishes their bodies on a cellular level...just like it does in humans! It can heal & reverse cell damage, even cancer. Also, what is really in the food that you are feeding your pet? Are there artificial colors, preservatives, fillers? Start reading the labels! Do a little research. Check into your dog's food. We ARE what we eat. The environment is also a factor. But we can change most of these things. We have the ability to become healthier, & help our pet companions lead longer & healthier lives! The medical profession likes to tell us that things are hereditary. If you change your habits & your lifestyle (or your pet's) than health can be greatly improved. It’s much better to be pro-active, & prevent disease than it is to try to heal it after the fact.

    And don’t get me started on the puppy mills!! I will always get “rescue dogs” anyway. :)

  16. Great points Donna, and great tip with the wheat grass, thank you!