Know where the item you are buying came from. Now, this isn’t a rant about only buying American made products – I’ll leave that argument to others. No, this is my little rant about how YOUR purchasing choices are adversely affecting other living things.
First, know where your meat/dairy/eggs are coming from! For too long we have allowed farmers to get bigger, but not better, at what they do. These animals are living lives that I would argue are not even lives. They cannot move, turn around, lift their wings, walk a few feet (or even a few inches for some).
They are pumped full of steroids and hormones, shot up with antibiotics, and fed food unnatural to them. They don’t get to feel grass under their feet, the sun on their backs, or the wind through their fur/feathers. They don’t get to interact naturally with their own species.
Factory farming has been allowed to exsist for way too long – and getting them to stop their abuse is as simple as not buying from the factory farmers. So look into where that piece of cheese came from. Don’t tell me it’s that hard to pull out your iPhone and Google the company’s name!
Second, know where your dog (or cat, or guinea pig, or gerbil…) came from! No one can still claim ignorance to the huge factories across the United States called puppy mills. Best Friends, HSUS, ASPCA, and hundreds of shelters across the country have spent years raiding these facilities in hopes to save as many of the tortured dogs as possible. And for years these organizations have tried to educate the public so that they wouldn’t support these organizations… yet somehow they still exist and in most cases are still thriving.
I have experienced firsthand the trauma the breeder dogs at puppy mills go through. Watching a dog literally freak out because she is touching grass for the first time in her very long 8 years of life is truly heartbreaking. All these dogs in these facilities know is concrete, bad food, and breeding. No warm beds, no toys, no car rides, no dog park, no lap to sit in. Their life is pure hell.
So when looking around for your next companion animal, make sure you know where that animal came from! And if the pet store owner says “a local breeder” ask them the breeder’s name. If they can give you a name, look them up! If they can’t give you a name, it’s because the breeder is a puppy mill!
And I know that many people will give me the argument that they really don’t care about animals because they believe them to be a lesser species. Fine. If you want to hold the beliefs equivalent to that of a caveman incapable of speech or basic knowledge, then that’s your prerogative. But my reasoning for why you shouldn’t buy factory farmed cows or dogs still applies to you:
Where did your meat come from? Factory farmed animals are pumped full of drugs, are unable to move/develop muscle like they naturally should, and eat unnatural foods. The result? Studies have shown that factory farmed meats have more saturated fat and cholesterol than free range, organic meat. Plain and simple, it is better for you AND the animal if you go free range, organic!
Where did your dog come from? Puppy mill owners are focused on quantity, not quality. Many shelters who have completed raids report most of the breeder dogs have genetic defects. The result? Those genetic defects are being passed onto the breeder dog’s children ie the puppy you just paid $600+ for. So not only did you just pay a ridiculous amount of money for an animal that isn’t even vaccinated or fixed, you also just signed on to a couple thousand dollars worth of vet bills, or worse, a dead dog. Example – I fostered a puppy mill breeder who was rescued from Wallace Haven’s facility in Wisconsin. She was about a year old at the time. My foster, now owned by my mother and named Miss Moneypenny, had a double ear infection and two luxating patellas (translation: she needed knee surgery on both her back legs). The vet bill if I had bought her from the mill as a puppy? Over $3000.
So be smart! In this day and age, we have the technology and knowhow to figure out where something came from. If you’re going to eat meat, or dairy, or eggs – make sure the animal that made this sacrifice for you at least was able to enjoy their life. If you are looking to get a pet – go to your local shelter or rescue group. A great site to look for your next new family member is http://www.petfinder.com.