A remarkable thing happened in Texas last week: a prominent and well-organized special-interest group—which consistently fights efforts to regulate puppy mills in the State—announced its opposition to House Bill 2981, which would make it illegal for a municipal animal shelter to kill a healthy, adoptable animal if a qualified rescue group or adopter is ready, able, and willing to save the animal. By opposing such lifesaving shelter-reform legislation, the puppy mill supporters elected to align themselves with the most regressive and radical groups in the country—like PETA—who believe that shelter animals are “better off dead” than adopted or rescued.
So what would make a group that actively seeks to profit from the unrestricted and unregulated commercial breeding of dogs and cats join forces with PETA to fight No Kill reforms?
I think I know why: It’s because No Kill is a threat to puppy mills.
If more Americans adopt dogs and cats from shelters rather than acquiring them from alternative sources like pet stores and on-line sellers, demand for commercially bred animals will necessarily decline. In fact, we’ve seen this come true in Central Texas: at least one large-scale breeder gave up in the face of increased competition from progressive area animal shelters and turned over his keys to a shelter to find homes for his animals.
In some ways, you have to wonder what took puppy-mill supporters so longer to figure this out: By saving shelter pets’ lives, No Kill policies and programs eat into commercial breeders’ profits.
Why is this so important? It’s important because of the consequences of this unholy alliance. By fighting lifesaving shelter reform, PETA and other regressive animal organizations are effectively aiding and abetting the commercial breeding of animals. By arguing that all pit bulls in shelters should be killed, PETA and others are necessarily driving those who aim to adopt a pit bull to breeders who will gladly meet the demand. By killing nearly every animal that comes in its front door (and lobbying against No Kill reforms throughout the country), PETA is, in reality, aiding and abetting the continuation of the large-scale animal-production industry.
We’ve known for a while that PETA is the enemy of lifesaving at animal shelters. So too, apparently, are puppy-mill supporters. It’ll be interesting to see if these groups begin to work together publicly, or if they will merely continue—as they do now—to aid each other’s efforts behind the scenes.
They say the enemy of your enemy is your friend. PETA now has a friend in puppy millers.