“…(people) want the ease and conformity of a retail experience—a place that caters to their create-a-poo wants and desires. “
An odd juxtaposition of articles appeared on the very last page in the December issue of PET PRODUCT NEWS. Sitting side by side, the first headline says: “Hunte Draws Record Attendance”. The second says: “Gulf Coast States Receive Funding For Pet Overpopulation”.
Hunte Corp., for those who don’t know, is one of the largest if not THE largest industrial breeder of puppies for sale to pet stores. They’re basically the Death Star of puppy mills, to use a Star Wars reference. Based in Missouri, the puppy mill capitol of the world, Hunte proudly announced that attendance at their eight Annual Breeders Educational Conference was at an all time high!
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Humane Society of the United States reports that 3 – 4 million cats and dogs will be euthanized this year due to a simple lack of homes. And even more shocking is the fact that 25% of dogs in shelters, according to USHS estimates, are pure breeds. My own experience bears that out, having adopted a pure breed Jack Russell Terrier from our local shelter about a year ago who had been there for TWO MONTHS. Great dog. He’s enjoying life as a spoiled member of our family as we speak. We also saw Westies, Beagles and a Yorkie at the time we visited the shelter.
GOOD FOR THE DOGS AND GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Since this is not an animal rights forum but a forum devoted to the pet business, I have to ask the tough question: Is selling dogs so lucrative that we as business people turn a blind eye to the consequences? Why can’t pet retailers become part of the SOLUTION by sponsoring more adoption days instead of being part of the PROBLEM by perpetuating the sales of millions of dogs, many who wind up in shelters?
Wouldn’t it make better business sense if instead of perpetuating the cycle of breed and sell, retailers became champions of ADOPT and sell?
TWO TO TANGO
It’s a complicated issue, I realize that. For every seller of puppies there has to be a buyer. Supply and demand. Many people want the dog they want and don’t have the interest or wherewithall to go around to multiple breeders. They want the ease and conformity of a retail experience—a place that caters to their create-a-poo wants and desires. I guess the old saying that it “takes two to tango” was never more apt. I mean, if people weren’t buying puppies and spending THOUSANDS of dollars on each one, industrial strength puppy mills like Hunte wouldn’t sell them. It’s the Ying and the Yang. Supply and demand. But I think retailers should lead the way to educating consumers that adoption is a viable alternative in many cases. Many already do. Even my local big box retailer, PetSmart, has weekly adoptions in the store where shelters come with homeless cats and dogs and try to find homes for them. There is, after all, more than one way to dance. Retailers should increase their efforts to promote adoption vs buying a puppy. Aside from the goodwill generated and the saving of perfectly good lives I think it’s just good business.