“Adopt, don’t shop” is a phrase many people have heard. I assumed that this phrase was said to encourage people to adopt a pet from a shelter rather than purchase from a breeder or a pet store. While this is true, I learned, through research, that there is more to this saying than people realize. Some reasons as to why people should adopt a pet from an animal shelter rather than buy a pet is to eliminate the practice of animal mills, to decrease euthanization of adoptable animals and to help the overpopulation of pets.
Adopting a pet from a shelter rather than buying is the only way to stop puppy mills. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a puppy mill is a commercial farming operation in which purebred dogs are raised in large numbers and often in substandard or poor condition. There’s also kitten mills which are the same business but with kittens. Many people are uncertain about adopting a pet from a shelter because of possible health and behavioral problems the animal could have.
However, shelter animals undergo full physicals from a veterinary technician or from an on-site veterinary clinic. Animal mills don’t offer this care so the animals are more at risk of having problems. Inga Fricke, director of sheltering initiatives of the HSUS was quoted saying “Getting an animal from a breeder is no guarantee either.” (Adoption Vs. Buying From Breeder). She recalls buying a dog from a reputable breeder, only to find out that the dog had significant medical problems.
To solve the issue of behavioral problems, Fricke advises that when adopting to ask about the behavior of the animal since entering the shelter. Most shelters have staff that will match an animal to fit you. It’s also cheaper to adopt than to buy because most breeders charge hundreds to thousands of dollars, and this doesn’t include vaccinations. Nonetheless, shelters spay, neuter, vaccinate and microchip before the animal can be adopted.
Eliminating animal mills isn’t the only positive outcome of adopting a pet. It also helps decrease the euthanization of adoptable animals. Buying from a breeder does nothing to help the 1.5 million shelter animals that are euthanized every year. (Frankson) It’s estimated that sixty percent of shelter animals do not make it out alive. (Heather Mohan- Gibbons) Every shelter has a maximum number of animals they can hold. Therefore, to make space for new animals, shelters must euthanize healthy animals. Many people think creating no-kill shelters would solve this issue. Even so, if shelters didn’t euthanize the conditions would become similar to animal mills. For example, a no-kill shelter in Blanchard Idaho was raided and more than four hundred cats were found; Almost all the cats were sick and dying. “It was like a concentration camp,” Says Dr. Jeff Rosenthal executive director of Idaho Humane Society, “We have to realize that sometimes the no-kill philosophy runs into a problem when you have animals suffering.” (Hewitt) Therefore, when someone adopts a pet from a shelter, they not only save one animal, but they also help another by making space available.
While adopting a pet helps eliminate the euthanization of adoptable animals, it also helps the overpopulation of pets. Many U.S animal leagues have attempted to save dogs and cats from overpopulated areas and bring them into our country where better medical technology is available. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S is receiving animals from Puerto Rico, Thailand, and India. (It’s more than Sochi- Time to End Overpopulation of Dogs and Cats) Public health becomes a concern because many of these animals could have rabies. Roughly thirty- six percent of the world’s rabies deaths occur in India. (It’s more than Sochi- Time to End Overpopulation of Dogs and Cats) When someone adopts an animal the shelter spays or neuters the animal before it leaves. This practice helps the problem of overpopulation.
In Conclusion, “Adopt, don’t shop” represents a cause that helps better the lives of animals in shelters by promoting the benefits of adopting. Adopting from a shelter rather than buying from a pet store or breeder, helps eliminate animal mills, helps decrease the euthanization of adoptable animals, and helps the overpopulation of pets.