After posing the question of what the Twitter community could do to help ban puppy mills/farming (see July 14th post), I came across an article in Newsweek about Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue. Smith discovered that the farmer who ran B & R, a puppy mill in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was also also supplying milk to a company called Horizon Organics. This milk, in turn, was sold in markets like Whole Foods, businesses careful to maintain a green, friend-to-all-living-things image. When the Newsweek reporter, Suzanne Smalley, notified Horizon and Whole Foods that she was about to break the story, Whole Foods sent out an inspector to verify Smith’s charges. The inspector discovered that, indeed, the dogs at B & R were living in appalling conditions. To head off the negative publicity, Whole Foods stopped buying Horizon’s milk until B & R shut down its puppy-selling operation.
From this example comes a clear strategy: Hit puppy millers in the pocketbook. Not all farms that traffic in dogs operate other, more legitimate businesses, but many of them do.
Twitter and other popular social media excel in getting information out quickly. So if any one discovers similar stories about businesses that sell products from places that double as puppy mills, let us — the people who care about getting puppy mills shut down — know. And we’ll spread the word — including the word “boycott.”
P.S. Many legitimate breeders (understandably) got the impression from my earlier puppy mill post that I was suggesting everyone who has dog businesses on the internet be shunned. Not so. I amended my earlier post a bit to reflect that. Again, I refer people to my May 20th post about how to spot likely puppy millers online.