Everyone hates them but they never go away
I live in New York City. During the mayoral election of 2013, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was considered a shoe in, leading in all the polls. Quinn was NOT an animal advocate though and an organization with deep pockets came out of the blue to try and dethrone her. "Anyone but Quinn" was the battle cry and it succeeded beyond belief. She was defeated in the Democratic primary and went into political oblivion. The organization that accomplished this was NYCLASS, a group dedicated to mostly horses, carriage horses to be specific.
For a century visitors to New York City have been able to enjoy romantic strolls through Central Park in an old fashioned carriage ride. NYCLASS wanted those carriages pulled off the busy, trafficked streets and placed inside the park itself. A very reasonable and logical request. Mayoral candidate Bill DiBlazio agreed and got NYCLASS backing, going on to defeat Quinn and win the mayoralty.
The reason I tell this story is because of what happened after Mr. DiBlazio became mayor. The carriage horse drivers absolutely opposed the proposal. They fought it at every turn with everything they had. They even joined the Teamsters to give them more oomph. They sued, they screamed, pleaded poverty, anything and everything they tried. Yet the mayor stayed staunchly in favor of the change, as did almost every member of the City Council. Still it took seven years to get the ordinance passed, so fierce was the opposition by the drivers.
It is now over a year that the carriages are inside Central Park. Everyone is happy, the horses are at peace, the tourists don't mind as its right inside the park and the drivers have found that their income was not impacted at all. Yet, they did not go there in peace. Why?
Puppy mills, for the unindoctrinated, are places where dogs are continually bred in usually horrid conditions, for eventual sale in pet stores. While we are killing over one million dogs each year in shelters, we are creating unwanted dogs in puppy mills. Everyone in the animal community hates puppy mills. Some, like HSUS, has made a mission of putting puppy mills out of business. Yet the puppy mill operators survive and fight, much like the carriage drivers of New York city. If one passes a state law outlawing the mills, they will enact local laws that circumvent it. If you get the Department of Agriculture to issue more stringent regulations, they ignore them knowing enforcement is impossible. Puppy mill operators never stop, they never give up, they don't know compassion or morals. Again we ask, why?
In America nothing supersedes money. It is more important than life, love, decency or happiness. When you threaten money, you threaten the core of the being itself. As discovered by the carriage drivers, often they fight in a knee jerk reaction, even being unable to assess if the proposed change will actually impact their income. "Don't you mess with with my money", they say. Nothing else matters.
HSUS says 'the days of the puppy mills are nearing an end'. That may be true if one lives another one hundred years. But as long as money retains its preeminence in the American conscience, victory for morals and decency will need to be sloppy seconds. It will take comprehensive legislation outlawing puppy mills to finally accomplish the goal. And as seen in the seven year tryst of New York, it is indeed a long and winding road. In conversation I often ask my friends, 'If murder was legal, would you kill someone?' They invariably respond 'of course not'. However some, a small minority, would!