Legislation regarding what's known as 'puppy mills' is working its way through the Indiana General Assembly right now. On the surface, it seems to be well-meaning legislation to protect animals from abusive stations where aggressive breeders keep dogs bred constantly, hoping to sell as many puppies as possible.
Maybe that's all there is to it. Maybe not. One inside source, who refused to be quoted, says it's likely being pushed by animal welfare groups that have other agendas in mind. What starts out as legislation to stop puppy mills, if successful, could set a precedent for the legislature to take up and deal with other issues supposedly linked to reported cruelty with other animals.
This source says it's a favorite tactic of such groups as the Humane Society of the United States. Not affiliated with county humane societies that exist in almost every corner of Indiana, this group has a much broader agenda. They invested heavily in helping pass Proposition Two, the California ballot initiative that means by 2015, caged egg layer systems will basically be illegal in the state.
This insider who has studied the actions of these and similar animal welfare groups, many of which border on being so aggressive that they're violent, says that in states without ballot initiatives, they often begin the process of getting their foot in the legislative door by promoting what seems like common-sense, helpful legislation that almost no one would oppose. After all, who would support true 'puppy mill' operations where animals are not well cared for and are treated strictly as breeding property for profit.
What's important to watch, this source says, is the language that is and isn't put into a bill. The word 'pet' may be loosely defined in some legislation, for example. That leaves it unclear as to whether a pet is a dog or cat, a turtle, or a pet calf or pig. When legislators come back to revisit legislation with such vague language after time, the original intent of the motion by those who were serving in the Indiana General Assembly at the time may no longer be so clear.
Even this year, The Humane Society of the United States held a rally day in early February at the Indiana statehouse. The group is in the state and worth watching, this source contends. His fear is that well-equipped with funds and in it for the long haul, such groups may take whatever time it takes to reach their ultimate goal. Many believe, based on only thinly-veiled statements by leaders of some of these groups, that their real goal is elimination of the livestock industry in the United States.