The cute face of puppy farms

Puppy farms

Puppy farms, also called puppy mills, are breeding establishments that are run for commercial reasons, with little regard for the welfare of the dogs. You can read more about it and watch a video on the Pup Aid website here.

Physical health

Puppies from puppy farms are often weak and sick. You don’t have to search very far on the Internet to find heartbreaking stories of puppies that don’t live long when they go to their new homes because they are so ill. The parents are not cared for properly and the bitches are bred too often. The puppies are often taken away before they are fully weaned.

A reputable breeder will only breed from adults that are physically healthy.

Mental health

The mental health of an animal that is going to be a part of the family is just as important as the animal’s physical health.

Puppies from puppy farms can have issues caused by lack of socialisation. Puppies need to hear household noises and have human contact at an early age. For more information on this, read my posts “What is socialisation?” and “A trip down memory lane“.

A reputable breeder will only breed from adults of sound temperament. They will also ensure that the puppies get off to a good start by giving them human contact and the socialisation experiences that are appropriate for their age.

The cute reflex

Most people know that humans have some physical reflexes – things that happen without engaging their brain. A couple of examples are the leg jerking when the knee is tapped, and eyes closing if something gets too close.

Humans also have emotional responses to some things and don’t stop to think – advertisers have been using emotional responses for years. Most baby animals are cute and there is something I like to call the “cute reflex”. This video will give you an idea what I mean – you won’t be able to watch it without smiling at least once!

The puppy farmer encourages you to act on the “cute reflex” and buy a puppy, in contrast a responsible breeder will encourage you to think about the adult that the cute ball of fluff will become.

The cute face of puppy farms

Puppy farms don’t want you to visit their premises, as you wouldn’t like what you see.

Fewer pet shops sell puppies now – this is a result of public pressure when it was revealed that many of the puppies came from puppy farms. The puppy farms advertise in many different places and use middlemen to sell their puppies.

They are increasingly using social media. They are very good at using the “cute reflex”. They generally have a nice avatar and share pictures of very cute puppies. The “cute reflex” works so well that some people who know about the horrors of puppy farms are not stopping to think – they are talking with them and sharing the pictures of available puppies to their own followers.

Warning signs

If the person is advertising a constant supply of puppies ready to go to new homes, it is probable that these puppies come from puppy farms. Reputable breeders do not have new puppies always available. They only have the number of dogs that they can give a good quality of life and they do not breed them all the time.

If the person is advertising a wide choice of breeds, the pups probably come from puppy farms. Reputable breeders tend to focus on one or two breeds and have a wealth of knowledge about them.

If the person is willing to get a puppy delivered to you without asking you any questions then they don’t care about the puppy. A reputable breeder will ask you questions before parting with one of their pups. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about caring for the puppy. They can also tell you a lot about the breed – temperament, exercise requirements etc.

Where’s Mum?

“Where’s Mum” is the tagline for a campaign by Pup Aid to ban the sale of puppies and kittens without the mother being present. There is more information on that page to help you decide whether the puppy may have come from a puppy farm.

The organisation Pup Aid can also be found on Twitter – @pupaid

Rescue centres

Rescue centres sometimes have puppies. They may have been rescued from bad conditions or they may have been an unexpected litter.

They also have many adult, or adolescent, dogs that need a home. They should be able to tell you about the temperament of the dog and any issues the dog has. Puppies are hard work, a well-adjusted adult will need less training to fit into the family.

Clubs exist for most breeds of dog and these often run a breed specific rescue. The people who run these are usually very experienced with that breed and will be able to advise you on any difficulties you may have.

Worldwide concern

The links I have given you are about the U.K. and the campaign for change there, but the problem is not limited to the U.K.

Not just puppies

I have been concentrating on puppies, but there are similar establishments producing kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs and the smaller pets for sale. They face the same health and socialisation issues.

Awareness

It is important for more people to be aware that these places exist. The animals kept in them have a miserable life and it is heartbreaking for the people who buy a sick animal.

It worries me when I see people who are known as animal lovers on social media sharing pictures of baby animals for sale that have been put there by businesses that I suspect of being involved in puppy farming. I feel that it makes these businesses appear reputable.

Cuteness fix!

If you’ve read this far, I think you deserve another dose of cuteness to put a smile back on your face!

See you next Wednesday!

Update

A fellow blogger has written a post “When is a rescue not a rescue?”  about some puppy farmers setting up their own “rescues” to get dogs adopted. You can find out some of the things you should watch for in a rescue centre.

The sad truth about Kopi Luwak coffee

Double standards

I’m a dog and I find poop fascinating. On a walk, one quick sniff at a pile of poo and I know what type of animal walked this way and how long ago. I know some dogs are so enthusiastic about poop that they like to eat it. I don’t. A nibble at the edge of a particularly appealing cowpat doesn’t count as eating it. And what dog could resist a quick taste test, when happening upon a heap of horse dung that is still steaming?

If they see me nibbling at some poo, my bipeds always say, “Clowie, leave it!” I thought they were a bit strange to dislike poo, until I saw the reaction of other humans when their dogs are tasting poop. I decided that all humans are afflicted with a phobia of poop, their responses range from mild fear to panic when they see some.

Imagine my surprise when I was told that some bipeds drink coffee that is made from beans recovered from poop! I thought they were teasing me, but it’s true and people pay a lot of money for this coffee. This is a perfect example of the double standards of humans – tell the dog off for showing too much interest in poop at the park and then go and drink poop coffee! You couldn’t make it up!

Kopi Luwak Coffee

The palm civet is a shy, nocturnal creature about the same size as a domestic cat. It has sharp claws, similar to a cat, and it climbs trees easily. It eats a variety of fruit and small mammals.

Asian palm civet, or civet cat Attribution: By Rbalmonia (Photo shoot Previously published: Kopi Luwak Menu) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Asian palm civet, or civet cat
Attribution: By Rbalmonia (Photo shoot Previously published: Kopi Luwak Menu) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


One of the fruits it eats is ripe coffee cherries.

Two coffee beans from coffee berry

Two coffee beans from coffee berry
Attribution: By User:Ceazar77 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The stones, or coffee beans, are not digested. They can be seen in the excrement.

Civet faeces containing coffee beans - Attribution: By Vberger (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Civet faeces containing coffee beans
Attribution: By Vberger (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Someone in Indonesia decided to extract the coffee beans from the poop. I can find no information on who thought this would be a good idea, nor can I find how this person persuaded other people to drink the resulting coffee!

Kopi luwak beans from faeces Attribution: By Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak beans from faeces
Attribution: By Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak coffee was rare and the quality varied. I may think it strange that humans would want to drink it, but no animals were harmed.

The sad part

A little over twenty years ago, kopi luwak coffee was introduced to Europe and America. It has gradually become more popular and more expensive. It has been featured on popular shows, such as Oprah, and in the film “The Bucket List”, leading to more demand for it. Kopi luwak could only be produced in small quantities, so things changed.

Civet cat in a cage Attribution: By surtr (Flickr: luwak (civet cat)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa

Civet cat in a cage – Attribution: By surtr (Flickr: luwak (civet cat)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Civets are captured and kept in tiny cages, fed on a diet of coffee berries and little else. This picture is heartbreaking, but one of the least distressing I could find. These animals suffer and die because of their restricted diet. They are stressed because they are in such a confined space. Some have bad injuries. I could say more about their plight, but the cruelty is obvious.

Kopi Luwak coffee Attribution: By ohallmann (Kopi Luwak, Kaffee auf flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi Luwak coffee
Attribution: By ohallmann (Kopi Luwak, Kaffee auf flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak coffee is also known as civet coffee, weasel coffee, cat poo coffee, poop coffee, crap coffee and probably other variations.

Kopi luwak coffee that is labelled as authentic, with the claim it’s made from the poop of wild civets sells for even higher prices than other kopi luwak. We only have the word of the producer on this. There are no checks on their claims. People in the coffee world say that there is very little coffee made in the old way, by collecting excrement from wild animals, and the only way to know the origin of the coffee is to collect it yourself.

At least one plantation that sells ‘authentic’ coffee has civets in cages on its premises. They say the civets are there for research purposes and their poop is not used for the coffee they sell. True or not, I think they’re missing the point – they have wild animals in cages and are exploiting them.

What you can do

• If you drink or buy kopi luwak coffee, you can stop

• You can read the small print on that special blend you enjoy on a Sunday morning and if it contains kopi luwak you can choose a different blend

• You can help by informing other people

• You can sign this petition – http://www.thepetitionsite.com/950/570/866/stop-civet-cruelty/

• There is a Facebook page “Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap” – https://www.facebook.com/kopiluwakcutthecrap
This campaign is being run by Tony Wild, who imported the first kilo of kopi luwak coffee to Britain and hates what is happening to animals to produce this coffee now.

• There is a document (pdf) that is being maintained as part of his campaign. It lists the companies who make a profit from kopi luwak coffee – there are a number of household names on there – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/66turi0r7tlqnqg/KfTR9BGlz7/Kopi%20Luwak%20campaign.pdf

• You can inform the companies involved that you do not approve

Related articles

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/sep/13/civet-coffee-cut-the-crap

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/19/civet-coffee-abuse-campaigners

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24034029

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-pesce/kopi-luwak-poop-coffee_b_2260671.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_palm_civet

Click to access Kopi%20Luwak%20campaign.pdf

Cheer me up!

It makes me sad to see animals suffering. Give me some good news! Or share some poopy humour!

See you next Wednesday!

The Pick (Up) of the Litter

I’ve been thinking about what I could write about for Rumpy’s Animal Welfare Challenge. It’s quite difficult for a dog to do anything that makes a difference for other animals. I want to talk to you about litter and rubbish and lanterns, but before I begin I’d like to remind you that Rumpy needs your vote in the World Spay Day Pet Pageant.

Rumpy-blogger-challenge

Litter

I like to go out hiking with my bipeds. We carry food and water and have a picnic while we’re out. I always make sure that they pack all the wrappings into one of the rucksacks and that we leave no litter behind us. If we see any dangerous litter that someone else has left, I make sure that my bipeds pick it up and dispose of it safely later. It only takes a moment, but could save an animal’s life. Every year the RSPCA gets 7,000 calls about litter-related incidents  – and that is just in Britain!

Continue Reading