Saturday, January 30, 2016
Why is it always me who finds out these things and has to write the letter?!! This time:Puppy Farmer uses WWOOF (willing workers on organic farms)
A wwoofer who had stayed at the above farm came away upset. Alongside the horse sales, he is breeding puppies. The dogs are not allowed outside the stable barn, they get fed once a day, when their beds are skipped out and they can run up and down the aisle for that 2 minutes. They have no interaction, exercise or fresh air. There is no need for this as he has the additional manpower of a wwoofer and it is basic care. She could not bear to bond with them as she knew they had no life and felt so bad that she could do nothing to change that. I gather there is plenty of room for a big run for the dogs but he plans to build more kennels but still no run this summer.
I would like puppy farming to be made illegal in this country as there are already so many unwanted dogs. (In Finland, for example, it is illegal to buy a dog while there are any in shelters). I try and support the Carlow Kilkenny Dog Pound and PAWS in rehoming their dogs. This is why I got all the details from her and said that I would follow it up.
The girl was also upset about how she had been laughed at for her values. She said that she doesn't expect people to hold the same values as her but that it was horrible to be laughed at for being interested in a sustainable lifestyle. This is obviously offensive when she was specifically volunteering with wwoof to contribute and learn from like minded people. She herself has worked at both ends of sustainable production, with great innovative and compassionate companies and is a long time vegetarian herself.
She said as well though that he was a very nice man. The horses are looked after alright, except for one day that they didn't even get any hay until 4pm. I also gather that they are not turned out but do not know that for definite. I think the dogs are in okay condition physically and the puppies, of course, only have to stay until they are 10 weeks' old and then are sold, so they get another chance then. Except for the day before she left, one bitch that they didn't know was pregnant, had her puppies and they were eaten by the other dogs in the pen.
As you can imagine all this amounted to a stressful situation for a sensitive human being, so she left to visit some other places in Ireland. I believe there is another wwoofer there now. The ISPCA said that a person can have up to 6 bitches for breeding without a license. He has 7 bitches, 3 dogs and about 15 puppies. Therefore the ISPCA said they would keep an eye on the establishment but that it is not a problem yet. Some of the puppies he breeds are beagles, I gather. As you probably know, they are still a popular breed for toxicity testing in laboratories for household cleaning products. All completely unnecessary in this day and age but Ireland is the worst for experimenting on animals in the whole of Europe, so these puppies could easily end up in a fate worse than death, being profited from again.
I understand that when you have animals, you do need help. It is up to you at Wwoof, if you want to strike him off the wwoof listing, but then I would be concerned that the animals would get even less care. I am hoping that you could write and put him under some pressure and require him to offer better quality of life for his animals, such as turn out area, walks and toys and clearer evidence of his commitment to sustainability and the organic movement, to continue being a wwoof host.
I do not think he will stop breeding as he also said to her that he would have to keep '4000 sheep to make as much as he does from the puppies' a year or something like that. He values the dogs highly in that way but is not caring for them accordingly. Also, they are not mentioned on his website so the business is not completely above board either.
Many thanks for your help with this matter.