Every second, animals are scuttling, slithering and crawling over the face of our planet, and we are lucky to share this world with them. As pets animals can enrich our lives and fill our homes with personality. As I write this my black and white cat named Chelsea is sat at my side, rather jealous that my laptop currently has the comfort of my lap, and clawing at my leg for attention.
Cats and dogs are the most popular household pets, but how sure can you be of where your beloved pets came from? A recent petition has arisen to help us question just that.
We are the generation obsessed with pugs, Grumpy Cat and various mammals wanting cheeseburgers but this commodification of animals leaves some people looking to cash in on animals in a different way. Puppy and kitten farms, or 'battery farms', are set up so that greedy traders can exploit animals in order to profit from their young. The cats and dogs used for breeding often go without proper socialisation or veterinary care and are often left in solitary confinement or in overcrowded conditions. This cruel exploitation results in thousands of new kittens and puppies each year. Some kittens and puppies are taken from their mother too early thus missing out on proper socialisation and life skills which leaves them emotionally stunted. Below is a picture of our youngest cat Wednesday. Having been removed from her mother too early and treated poorly during her youth she is wary of humans. Several years on and she becomes fearful when people get too close and panics when picked up. It serves as a daily reminder that, if she had been a responsibly bred and properly socialised cat, her behaviour would be totally different. Were she in a shelter she may have to be put down for such timid activity.
Though pet shops may seem the logical place to buy a pet I would urge you to locate your nearest animal shelter or find a pet through the RSPCA animal rehoming site. Animals from shelters are looking for a second chance. So much testing goes on with shelter animals that you'll be able to find the perfect pet for your home. Another option is to search out registered breeders whose breeding routine does not risk the health of the mother and is done in a responsible manner. If you see animals advertised online or in local ads, make sure you ask to see the mother before you buy. If you buy an animal from a trader where the mother isn't present there is a good chance you are personally funding animal cruelty and the perpetuation of animal exploitation that occurs in these battery farms. If they are being treated more as a commodity and less as a living being something is very, very wrong.
What is needed to prevent such practices in the future is better ethical legislation concerning breeding animals for domestic purposes. Then it would be more beneficial if there was public information about registered breeders who meet specific humane regulations with their breeding patterns. Improved legislature concerning animal welfare could reduce the amount of animals put down each year and the amount of animals exposed to lives of cruelty. The horrors of puppy and kitten farms need to be made aware to the public. In preventing the number of lives cruelly generated for personal gain without ethical consideration will decrease the number of animals that have to be put down due to poor health, lack of socialisation and lack of rehoming opportunities. I hope that the HM Government petition to ban the sale of kittens and puppies without their mothers present serves as the first step towards better and more effective legislation that will lessen animal cruelty so the cat will mew and dog will have his day.