Free Market Solution to Puppy Mills
April 11, 2011
I've been watching the debate over Prop B, the “Puppy Mill Initiative”, and have concluded that everyone's afraid to say what really needs to be said. That is, that domestic animals are property, and animals DO NOT have rights!
There, I said it.
To claim otherwise is to diminish mankind's station. People have inalienable rights from the Creator, but that same Creator gave man dominion over animals. He gave animals to man for food, companions and as beasts of burden – animals are not coequal inhabitants of His creation.
God, however, also prescribed proper treatment for animals. Not muzzling an ox while he is treading, or unequally yoking two beasts of burden, are examples. From these instructions about treatment of animals we see that the moral thing to do is treat animals humanely.
The question becomes, then, what do you do about people who behave immorally and don't treat their property humanely?
The state's job is to protect liberty, not the moral training of the People, so the state's involvement, at best, should be limited to restricting only that moral behavior which in some way injures society. That means it is up to the People to put moral pressure on those who mistreat animals.
One of the best ways to apply moral pressure is through association – either by granting or withholding it. In a society founded on free market principles (e.g. America) association is often measured in dollars, so let's develop a free market solution to bad dog breeders.
I suggest that someone or some group start the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) of dog breeding. You may have noticed the UL label on appliances and other goods. Manufacturers willingly seek out UL certification because they sell more products, or can charge a premium, when consumers have assurance the goods were manufactured to UL standards.
Imagine a private sector UL like organization that certifies responsible puppy breeders – let's call it QPA (Quality Puppy Assurance). QPA would set standards for humane treatment and quality. Savvy consumers would seek out puppies with the QPA stamp of approval and the bad actors in the dog breeding industry would soon adapt to the standards or risk going out of business.
It's really that simple. The People's rights are respected, moral, humane treatment of animals is promoted and everyone's happy without the sort of government intrusion that always comes back to haunt us.