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Friday, April 4, 2008

After the show: Oprah on Puppy Mills

I just finished watching the Oprah Winfrey Show on Puppy Mills.

After years of hoping throughout the animal welfare community, Oprah has made a show about puppy mills. She has saved more dogs than we can ever know. Her celebrity status allows her to reach more people than we can and I think she did a great job of speaking out about animal welfare. I am very satisfied with the show; I think she provided a very complete view of how puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

This show documented, through undercover video, the terrible lives of dogs in puppy mills. They explained that the lives of the mothers are the most deplorable. The mothers are bred repeatedly with little or no break between litters and are killed after they can no longer can reproduce.

Oprah spoke with Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Although I generally mistrust HSUS, I was pleased with the information he provided. He said that "as a nation, we are better than this" (this is not an actual quote, I cannot remember exactly what he said). I believe this was an excellent thing to say to really reach Americans.

I believe we are better than this.

A very emotional part of the show was when they showed a dog being euthanized. I am still not sure what I think about it but it was difficult for me to watch. It was not gory or violent--but still difficult to see. The dog appeared to be sleeping and the animal control officer of Fort Worth, Texas who allowed the cameras inside, stated that the dog was unconscious. They showed the dogs and how the animal control officers make the decision about which dogs will be euthanized the next day.

They also showed dogs in trash bags being thrown into a dumpster with a forklift. That image will stay with me for a long time. It was incredibly sad.

Overall, this show was excellent and very informative. The only thing I would have added to the show is that the same things can happen to cats. I wish that they would have focused on the fact that more cats are euthanized than dogs and can also be bred by irresponsible breeders--though much less. Despite that, the show was excellent and I am excited to see if anything positive happens because of it.

Click here to be taken to Oprah's Website.

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