Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
From  Issue
14 March 2002
Former USDA Inspector Condemns AKC Over PPA

From Erin Williams - [email protected]
Contact: Marshall Smith, IDA, (573) 636-9291 

Former USDA Inspector Condemns American Kennel Club for Opposition to Puppy
Protection Act

MILL VALLEY, Calif. Marshall Smith, a former USDA inspector for nineteen years, has condemned the American Kennel Club (AKC) for spearheading opposition to the recently passed Puppy Protection Act (PPA). Smith strongly supports the PPA, which will establish and enforce socialization standards and breeding limitations for breeders. The act will also impose a three-strikes provision to permanently revoke USDA licenses for Animal Welfare Act violators. The AKC, along with others in the commercial pet production and distribution industry, argue that its passage poses a threat to individual pet "owners" who do not fall under USDA's regulatory authority.

The USDA is currently responsible for regulating the commercial pet industry, noted for the perpetuation of "puppy mills." However, retail pet sellers are generally exempt from federal regulations despite rampant consumer complaints. Critics of the industry attribute the PPA's passage to exposes revealing the appalling conditions breeding animals are forced to endure. Preserving the integrity of the PPA is critical to the improvement of these dismal conditions, and will allow the USDA to revoke the licenses of repeat offenders.

Commercial pet production facilities use factory-farming techniques to mass-produce young animals in "pet mills." These creatures are then shipped over thousands of miles to pet stores around the world in a variety of transportation vehicles, even those as crude as tractor-trailers. The breeding animals that remain are forced to spend their entire lives in tiny cages, reproducing until they are no longer productive.

"I support any legislation that would improve the quality of life for animals in the mills and revoke licenses for repeat offenders," stated Smith, who is now the Director of Investigations for the international animal protection group In Defense of Animals (IDA). "However, I am opposed to commercial breeding, especially since millions of healthy animals are euthanized in pounds and shelters each year."

In an effort to break the connection between pet mills and pet stores, IDA is leading a nationwide boycott of Petland, Inc. and other pet shops that sell puppies and kittens. Supporters of the boycott advocate adoption as the only moral option for those seeking a companion animal. Consumers are also encouraged to avoid the temptation of the cute baby animals found in some pet store's windows by shopping only at pet supply stores that abstain from selling live animals.

* 415-388-9641

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