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Puppy Farming

The interview below was conducted by, and is reproduced with the kind permission of, Pedigreedogs.

The alternative view of Puppy Farming - Interview with a Puppy Farmer
December 2004

Pedigreedogs readers have been unanimous in their condemnation of Puppy Farming (and rightly so). Here, the Pedigreedogs reporter interviews Hugh Jincumb, proprietor of The Fido Factory Wholesale and Retail Puppies, and puts to him the questions you want answered.

Pedigreedogs Reporter (PR)
"Thank you for agreeing to answer questions about your puppy farming activities".

Hugh Jincumb (HJ)
"I don't like you referring to me as a "puppy farmer" as people use that phrase in a derogatory way. I prefer to call myself a professional dog breeder".

(PR) "Most dog lovers believe that puppy farming for commercial gain is wrong, so how do you justify breeding and supplying dogs for profit on a commercial scale?"

(HJ) "Other animals are farmed commercially, so why not dogs? I don't see any difference. Lots of people earn a living from breeding and supplying animals. I am in business to generate the highest profit in whatever I do. I could trade in any commodity, it just happens to be dogs as I know there is continued demand for my product. So long as producing and supplying dogs is profitable and there is an outlet for my product I will continue running my business. Everyone knows that production costs and running costs and overheads work out cheaper on a mass-produced product, so I aim for the highest volume of sales to achieve the greatest profit from my investment. The punters are suckers, they fall for a cute pup every time and they can't resist buying them, so I simply fill that demand".

(PR) "But dogs are very different from other domesticated, farmed animals such as sheep and cows. Dogs are highly intelligent, they are a pack animal who need to function within a canine and/or human social structure. They need love and affection. Surely keeping them intensively, solely as breeding machines, is depriving them of a normal life?"

(HJ) "They don't miss something they never had. The life they lead is "normal" for them. You are being too sentimental".

(PR) "Let's discuss the dogs you keep solely for breeding purposes. We hear and read about puppy farms where the dogs are kept in cramped and dirty cages with little or no exercise or companionship. Do you think that is acceptable for an intelligent companion animal?"

(HJ) "That is just propaganda put out by the "do-gooders". Let's get one thing straight, I keep dogs for business reasons, they are kept solely for breeding purposes; they are not kept as "companion animals" or pets. Each one has a role to play in my business, I had to invest time and money getting them so they get adequate care, in fact each breeding bitch has a kennel or pen to herself when she has pups, plus a water bowl and they are fed every day. Their pens and cages are cleaned out when necessary, but dogs make a lot of mess and there isn't always enough time to do all the chores. I bet dogs in the wild live in messy dens".

(PR) "What about exercise and socialisation with their own kind?"

(HJ) "They see the other bitches and pups in adjacent pens. The pups get plenty of exercise as they are always chasing their mother around their kennel trying to suckle, and the dam gets plenty of exercise trying to get away from them! The bitches also get to mix with a stud dog when they are ready to be mated, so that's natural exercise they get too."

(PR) "What about the dogs you use for breeding? What criteria or selection processes do you implement to ensure your breeding dogs are fit and healthy and good examples of their particular breed?"

(HJ) "If they weren't healthy they wouldn't produce pups; when they stop producing pups I replace them; I have no use for freeloaders. That "good example of the breed" stuff is just the sort of rubbish those "specialist" breeders and show people thrive on, all those names in red or black on pedigrees means nothing to me; it plays no part in my business decisions. I mate a male and a female of the same breed together - that's my criteria. How the resulting pups turn out is down to nature and the buyers - it is not my concern".

(PR) "What happens to those dogs and bitches no good for breeding or surplus to your requirements?"

(HJ) "Some are put down, some are passed on to other professional breeders, some go through rescue kennels and some are even sold - you'd be surprised how many people will pay cash for even a clapped out old ex-breeder because it makes the buyer feel like a good Samaritan".

(PR) "What about the puppies you produce? They haven't been handled or socialised to prepare them for their new homes?"

(HJ) "Of course they get handled. We pick them up to inspect them when they are a week or two old to see what sex they are - I need to know exactly what I have for sale! They get handled if they are sick and also when they are crated up to be shipped out and when a buyer comes to view we always pick up a pup and place it straight into a buyers arms too. It is down to the buyers to socialise their pup when they get them home, l don't sell ready trained pups, that's not my job".

(PR) "You also supply whole litters of puppies to other dealers who then sell them on to the public. Do you think that being shipped off to another sales outlet is in the best interest of the puppies? Isn't it better for each pup (and the buyer) for the litter to stay with, and be viewed with their dam on the breeders premises and then taken directly by the purchaser's to their home?"

(HJ) "I do sometimes sell a few puppies direct to the public, I make a bigger profit that way but it involves extra work and a lot of hassle for me. Too many cars coming here might attract unwanted attention from nosey busy-bodies. I am trying to run a business, I haven't got unlimited time to spend on timewasters or punters who ask too many questions and are too nosey. Selling whole litters of pups via a showroom elsewhere is a good marketing proposition and results in a much higher turnover of trade as even casual browsers often end up buying a pup on impulse".

(PR) "You say some "punters" are "nosey", but isn't it true that puppy farmers often try to hide or disguise the fact that they are commercial dog traders? Don't you think puppy buyers have a right to see the parents and other close relatives of their pup and where their pup was born and raised"?

(HJ) "Don't keep calling people in my business "Puppy farmers", I am a professional dog breeder. All the bad "puppy farm" propaganda is made up by those daft owners who cosset their dogs and the so called "Specialist" breeders who want to treat their dogs like a four-legged member of their family! They over-indulge their own dogs and the pups they breed by spending loads of time and lots of money on them without expecting to make a profit. My puppy buyers don't have a right to know anything about my business, I mean, you don't expect to read the CV of the Chairman of the board or get taken around the factory every time you buy a new TV do you? Punters pay their money and take home the pup they choose - end of story".

(PR) "You don't seem to care who buys the pups you produce. Don't you think you should ensure they go to good homes?"

(HJ) "If someone can afford to buy a pup that is all I need to know! If they spend money on something they must want it. I don't force people to buy the dogs I breed, it is their decision. Once a sale is made the pup is someone else's responsibility and nothing to do with me. I am not interested in anything other than a sale, I sell a product for cash - it is that simple. I am not a social worker for dogs or the people who buy them. I was once told a hilarious story about a specialist, hobby type of dog breeder who kept in touch with all the people who bought pups from them years ago! They even swapped Christmas cards and dog birthday cards and photos for years later! If that story is true, it proves just how daft they are".

(PR) "It IS true that lots of breed-specialist hobbyist dog breeders DO keep in touch with the owners of the dogs they breed AND they provide a full after-sales support and back-up service to the owners and the dogs".

(HJ) "Then they are even more stupid than I had thought. If they want to play happy families with pet dogs and the people they sell them to they won't get rich. I am only interested in turning over a profit, there is no room for sentimentality in business".

(PR) "Do you have any conscience about the way you use dogs to produce a cash crop of puppies solely to generate profit? Do you have any regrets about exploiting the buyers?"

(HJ) "Absolutely not! Every pup I sell confirms that I am giving the buying public what they want, and as long as they continue to buy the pups I produce and I make a profit I will continue to breed more pups to fulfil that demand. Like I said before, I am in this business solely to make money and only when sales stop and I no longer make a profit will l stop breeding puppies commercially and go into another business".

(PR) "Thank you for answering my questions. I am sure that everyone who is disgusted by the Puppy Farm Trade will now understand your motives and be able to make an informed choice whether to support your trade by buying commercially bred puppies or to boycott the trade and force commercial dog exploiters out of business once and for all".