by SHREYA SHANTHARAJ
California has officially become the first state to formally ban the pet store sale of puppy mill dogs. Puppy mills are largely known as commercial dog breeding operations where profit is held at a higher status than the actual well-being of the animals. Most puppies that come from puppy mills are usually sold at the age of eight weeks – pretty much an open invitation to all sorts of health problems. Even worse, female dogs are used as reproductive machines in these institutions as they are bred at every given opportunity, often with no regard to necessary recovery time that often pose as huge health risks. Although legislation has been passed in the past to improve these conditions, such as the federal Animal Welfare Act of 1966, the standards required by them are extremely minimal, if any.
Puppy mills have long been a topic of discussion among many animal rights activists. Stores such as Barkworks have experienced years of angry protesters expressing their opinions publicly in front of the stores themselves. But thanks to the recent passing of California’s Assembly Bill 485, cats, dogs, and bunnies that come from mills or backyard breeders are now no longer allowed to be sold in pet stores. Now – at least within California – stores like Barkworks will be forced to either shutdown or change entirely in order to accommodate to new regulations. If they do not oblige, violators will be charged up to $500 in penalty – that will actually be enforced.
As someone who has wanted to see stores like Barkworks be taken off the map for a long time now, I’m glad to see that California has taken the first step. The peoples’ voices have finally been heard and changes are in place; I hope to see more states follow this precedent so that all animals can escape from this cruelty. As Gandhi said himself, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” With more animals out of the system for good, I think we can pat ourselves on the back for this one, even though we still have a long way until the battle is finally over.