National | Aotearoa

Aotearoa no place for puppy milling

While it is definitely no new issue, the awareness around puppy breeding farms in Aotearoa has made its way into the spotlight again with a new campaign launched by non-profitable organisation, Paw Justice.

"Puppy mills" are commercially-run dog breeding facilities where as many as 100 animals of different breeds can be farmed.  Like in factory farms, animals are often kept in small cages in extremely poor conditions.

Such farms are apparently in New Zealand, and animal rights and welfare groups want these places shut down.

The campaign by Paw Justice though is aiming its push at Trade Me, claiming it to be "one of the largest online suppliers of pets in New Zealand".

Paw Justice wants a number of regulations put in place by Trade Me, where Trade Me says they already have an existing programme of work following engagement with SAFE and the SPCA to develop a code of responsible breeding for sellers on Trade Me.

SPCA CEO Christine Kalin confirmed their work with Trade Me, outlining that SPCA Auckland employs a thorough process when finding homes for animals at their shelter, which includes ensuring animals are ready for their new home, and that the potential adopters are ready and suitable for the animal.  That the whole process is "animal-centric".

Other points for all animals leaving the SPCA include having the animal desexed, vet-checked, vaccinated, temperament assessed and micro-chipped.  They advise that any person rehoming or selling a companion animal should use an "adoption ready" checklist.

Trade Me Manager of Trust And Safety, Jon Duffy, says in terms of any alleged maltreatment of animals, they are happy to take information on any source that could suggest maltreatment, however both SPCA and Trade Me can only act on solid evidence.

In terms of Paw Justice's proposal, Duffy says that their existing programme of work could cover some of their concerns, and that a draft for members to consider will be out in coming weeks.  Other issues raised would come under the Animal Welfare Act and should be directed at the Ministry for Primary Industries for law change.

"Lumping all Trade Me members who have listed an animal for sale on the site, with breeders who may be causing problems," Duffy says it is inaccurate and unfair to say that all online animal sales are negative.

The campaign has mixed reviews, with concerns from animal lovers, Trade Me members and more.   But until puppy mills in Aotearoa are exposed, it's clear that buyers should take every precaution to ensure they're well aware and informed of their animal's background.