This is not a rhetorical question. It came to mind because someone on Twitter this morning suggested linking #woofwednesday with #banpuppyfarming or #banpuppymills campaigns.
For those not familiar with these weekly rituals, #woofwednesdays are a way to say hey to others in the dog tweeting community or to recommend them to others (the # indicates a trending topic). Linking these friendly barkouts to a topic of concern to ethical dog people makes sense; it will raise awareness.
That in itself is a good thing. I have followers in all kinds of pet-related (and other) businesses, some of whom might not know much about the topic, though it’s been well publicized by Oprah and others. If they become curious, all the better.
But most of us who would participate in this activity already know that puppy mills are evil. (Yes, I personally prefer the term puppy mills, and not just because I’m American and that’s standard usage in the U.S. Puppy farms sound almost idyllic; I picture verdant green meadows, dogs romping happily. Puppy mills, on the other hand, evoke the more accurate visions of impersonal mass production. William Blake helpfully linked the term “mills” to “dark” and “Satanic.”)
A couple of suggestions of further steps:
— Provide links to websites that discuss practical ways to get puppy mills banned. Personally, I’d prefer those without horrible pictures, or at least with the horrible pictures well hidden. I find I often close disturbing sites quickly, without reading the text. And if I don’t close them, I’m upset for a long time, which doesn’t make me very productive.
— Promote the idea of examining our followers on Twitter carefully before following back. Following implies endorsement, even if it’s a passive one. I try not to link to those (other than reputable breeders) who sells puppies on the internet. I say “try,” because it’s not always obvious at a quick glance at a profile. See my May 20 post for ways to recognize businesses that are a front for puppy mills.