A Challenge To Oprah

Apparently, Oprah talked about puppy mills on her show today. Kudos to Oprah for bringing this disgrace to the public eye. If anyone can get Americans to change their behavior, it’s probably Oprah. Just look at what she’s done for Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, and all those authors on her book club list.

According to my mom (she’s the one who watched the show), Lisa Ling did an undercover story for Oprah (I’m not clear if she’s a staff person or not). There was actual footage of puppy mills, showing their inhuman treatment of dogs:

  • how the female dogs are bred every time they go into heat, so they are always pregnant or nursing;
  • how the dogs don’t know how to walk because they’re kept in tiny little cages, even if the breeder has acres of land;
  • how there’s little use for the male dogs that aren’t sold…

Puppy mills sell their puppies to pet stores, so as a consumer, you are potentially supporting this industry. The only way to avoid this is to rescue a dog or puppy from the pound, or a breed rescue. Unfortunately, those animals that are brought to the pound will often be euthanized since these facilities can only handle so many animals. If the animals are not adopted after a period of time, they are “put down.” The other way to help minimize the number of animals that are euthanized is to spay and neuter your pets. This reduces the number of unwanted and feral animals.

I think it’s laudable that Ms. Winfrey is taking this step to promote animal rights. However, in her show she and Ms. Ling made comments that the dog breeders felt they were justified in their behavior because they thought of the dogs as “livestock.” So, are we saying that it is okay to treat livestock in an inhumane manner?

Oprah, maybe you should watch Earthlings and see if you still feel the same way about the “acceptable” treatment of livestock.

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