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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
2 August 2000 Issue

Nationwide Boycott of Petland
Marshall Smith
Director of Investigations, IDA, msmith@idausa.org

On July 5, 2000, IDA formally launched a national boycott of Petland, Inc., one of the country's largest pet store chains selling puppies and kittens. Over a year ago I documented numerous Midwestern dealers and brokers delivering puppies acquired from "puppy mill" breeders to Petland stores. I sent Petland's CEO, Greg Hudson, a courteous yet resolute letter insisting that they sever all ties to the large scale commercial pet production and distribution industry. After nearly one month of silence I have learned that Petland officials are planning a trip to the Midwest to scout out some of their suppliers. Any subsequent announcements by Petland that they have dropped specific breeders should be viewed as inconsequential. The actions of Petland's officials clearly show that they value profits over the care and well-being of the unfortunate animals who are products of the puppy mill industry.

For over 15 years I have watched puppy mills flourish with animals housed in unimaginable and heinous conditions. As an Investigator for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), I documented and submitted cases against puppy mill operators for administrative hearings. In case after case, year after year, the USDA did not fulfill its responsibility to uphold the law. Policies have evolved that view puppy mills as an alternate agri-business. Enforcement initiatives clearly favor the vitality of licensees, rather than the well being of animals. I can't forget the images of filth, disease, despair and depravation so painfully evident at these facilities. Three years ago I joined IDA and have continued my efforts to expose and rectify the suffering and misery in mills. The magnitude of suffering and misery, however, necessitates a unified effort.

Please join us in our boycott against Petland and their puppy mill suppliers. Listed below are activities necessary to advance our campaign against the commercial pet production and distribution industry. The high demand for puppies and kittens will wane when "consumers" learn the truth about this cruel and heartless industry. Our campaign will also highlight the plight of millions of animals in animal shelters who are euthanized for lack of an adoptive family - another vile consequence of the puppy mill industry.

What you can do!

1. Meet with the owner or manager of your local Petland and explain your determination to educate consumers regarding puppy mills and how pet store purchases perpetuate mills. If there is not a Petland in your community, please target any pet store that sells puppies and kittens. Admonish management at these establishments to offer adoptable animals from rescue groups and shelters rather than to continue supporting the "mill" industry.

2. Contact local rescue groups and shelters regarding the availability of adoptable animals. Find out how many are euthanized annually versus those who are adopted.

3. Identify and promote local and national pet supply stores that don't sell puppies and kittens. Pet supply stores that don't sell live animals at all would be preferable.

4. Send letters to the editor regarding the campaign, stressing the plight of puppy mill animals as well as the forgotten animals who languish in animal shelters.

5. Organize volunteers to distribute educational brochures, display posters, etc., as close as possible to a Petland entrance. Coverage should be as consistent as possible, and should be most prominent during peak shopping hours. Puppy and kitten sales historically drop during the summer months and pick back up when school starts; sales will intensify during the Christmas season.

6. To maximize our combined efforts in this crucial campaign, display one of our banners on your organization's website, including our "Boycott Petland" banner. (http://www.idausa.org/linktousf.html)

7. Please feel free to forward copies of local news coverage (video or printed) that may be suitable for posting on our Web page.

8. Email me with information about your campaign efforts (which we will post on our website), and to order free brochures, flyers and posters specifically created for this campaign.

The lives of millions of animals depend on our making this campaign successful. I am confident that we can significantly impact the pet industry and their commercial suppliers. The images of mill animals permanently etched in my mind motivate my passion and determination to advance this campaign. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 636-9291, or e-mail me at msmith@idausa.org to get this campaign in full throttle. Let's keep the lives of these animals foremost in our minds and work hand-in-hand to end this suffering and misery.

Sincerely,

Marshall Smith
Director of Investigations
msmith@idausa.org

Go on to Independent Scientific Report on Animals in Circuses and Zoos
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