By KYLIE FREYMAN, age 9, USHNA KHAN, age 15 , and NANCY RYERSON
That puppy in the window may be cute, but it probably went through a lot of hardship to get to that store. IndyKids talked with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), a non-profit organization that works to stop animal cruelty, about the injustice that takes place at puppy mills. Ashley Byrne, a PETA campaign manager, explains how the animals are treated at these farms that breed dogs for profit.
Before animals are sent to pet stores, they live in puppy mills, which are dirty and unsafe farms where purebred dogs are raised in small, over-crowded cages and not given much veterinary attention. “The puppies are not treated well in these mills,” Byrne said. Female dogs are bred twice a year and are usually killed or abandoned after they can no longer produce puppies. After the puppies are born, they are torn away from their mothers, packed into crates and sold to pet stores. They sometimes travel hundreds of miles in trucks, trailers and airplanes, often without much food or air.
We asked Byrne why people would treat animals so badly. One reason is because of money, she said. People only see the animals as prizes or something to bring their status up. Also, some people see animals as objects, as if the animals have no feelings and should not have a say in the way they were treated.
PETA has tried to stop these injustices by going undercover and making videos of what happens at puppy mills. Kids can help puppies by encouraging their parents to adopt pets from animal shelters, rather than from pet shops. Even if a pet store claims that it doesn’t get puppies from mills, it probably gets them from a puppy broker, someone who makes an arrangement between the buyer (the pet store) and the seller (the puppy mill).