Pet owners might be interested in hearing about a new bill introduced in the Colorado legislature. In short, it wants to prevent pet stores from selling cats and dogs in the state. Furthermore, it wants to put in new standards for how breeders treat their cats and dogs, with examples ranging from limiting the number of animals being cared for at any one time to just 25 to forbidding any animal from being bred more than once a year and more than six times over the course of their entire lifetime. On top of this, the bill wants to ban the selling of cats and dogs in public places.
Combined, it should be clear that the bill is meant to eliminate puppy bills. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, puppy mills are commercial facilities that breed dogs for the purpose of making a profit. There is no universal consensus on what separates a puppy mill from more reputable breeders, but there is a very strong sense that such facilities prioritize the minimization of their overhead for the maximization of their profits. Something that can have catastrophic consequences on their dogs’ health and happiness. Unfortunately, the concept is by no means limited to dogs, as shown by the other facilities out there that specialize in other pet species.
What Are the Arguments Being Made For and Against the New Colorado Bill?
Naturally, the introduction of the bill has prompted much discussion, which in turn, has resulted in both arguments for the bill and arguments against the bill. For the most part, they are pretty much what most people would expect based on the premise.
For instance, much mention has been made of the effect that puppy mills have on their dogs. First, it is common for puppy mills to put their animals in very small spaces that receive insufficient cleaning as well as other forms of care. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t exactly do wonders for those animals’ health and happiness, which is compounded by the fact that they tend to get very little medical attention because medical attention is expensive. In a lot of cases, the animals will even suffer from malnutrition, whether because they are getting underfed or because their food and water is so contaminated because of the circumstances in which they live. On top of this, it is very, very common for the animals from a puppy mill to suffer socialization problems, not least because they tend to be separated from their mothers at a very young age so that those mothers can be used to breed more animals.
Of course, it should also be mentioned that for every animal that a puppy mill manages to sell, there is a lot of suffering that goes into making that sale possible. In some cases, this is a very direct consequence. For example, puppy mills tend to maximize their output, which is why they tend to keep their animals breeding on a near-constant basis until said animals are no longer capable of doing so. At which point, said animals are either destroyed or just discarded by the facilities because their perceived value to them has been exhausted. Meanwhile, there are other kinds of suffering that are more of a byproduct of pupp mill’s production processes. For instance, it is very common for them to just let sick animals suffer without intervention because paying for the necessary healthcare is more expensive than just letting them expire because there are always replacements. Summed up, puppy mills are pretty much exactly as bad as what one would expect from facilities meant for the mass production of animals for commercial purposes, which makes for a very powerful argument against such institutions.
Besides this, supporters of the bill are making much mention of the practicality of the bill as well. Basically, they are saying that many of the responsible breeders that operate in Colorado are already in compliance with the standards required by the bill, meaning that there is no real need for them to make expensive and time-consuming changes to their practices. However, even for those that would have to update how they run their operations, there is still enough of a grace period that it shouldn’t cause too much of a disruption to what they are doing.
As for the opponents of the bill, it should come as no surprise to learn that they aren’t exactly making much of an effort to defend puppy mills. After all, most people care about cats and dogs in a way that they don’t care about pigs, cows, and other livestock. This is because many of them see pet species as either family members or potential family members, though even those who don’t see those species in that light will still hold them in higher regard than species that they see in nothing but terms of utility. As such, they tend to be uncomfortable with the suffering of such animals, which in turn, makes them less receptive to arguments that said suffering should be permitted to continue when the situation is presented to them. Naturally, this means that the opponents of the bill have been focusing more on the practicalities. One excellent example would be the argument that the bill would hurt smaller pet stores by banning the sale of cats and dogs through such retailers, which is unfair when they are not the institutions responsible for such abuses in the first place.
On the whole, there can be no doubt about the fact that puppy mills are horrendous. As a result, it seems safe to say that a very wide segment of the population would agree with the idea that something should be done about them. However, as always, it is much easier for something to be said than for something to be done, not least because poor implementation can cause setbacks for further efforts in this regard. Having said that, it will be interesting to see what happens next. There is no guarantee that this bill will pass, but the sentiment behind the bill is something that has already brought about bans in smaller jurisdictions, meaning that it is very much real. Should the bill pass in Colorado, that could provide a notable boost to such efforts, which could produce meaningful changes elsewhere as well.