There are many contentious political topics that divide dinner tables and can even turn friends into foes, but something that can unite most Australians is our love for dogs. One in three Australian households are home to ‘man’s best friend’ .
So, why do we kill thousands of innocent dogs a year?
Dog Overpopulation Crisis
Australia has a dog overpopulation problem with tens of thousands of dogs being destroyed every year due to shelter overcrowding.
Worldwide, only one in every ten dogs successfully finds a home .
This tragedy can be accredited to the fact that we breed en-masse thousands of dogs for profit, despite the ongoing epidemic of dog homelessness.
‘Puppy farms’ are industrial breeding mills that often see dogs kept in appalling conditions in order to produce as many as possible. Dogs in these mills are kept in confinement for the majority, and sometimes entirety, of their lifespan. They often suffer from untreated health conditions such as infections, tumours, and dysplasia.
Dogs that are kept for breeding purposes are repeatedly impregnated until they are no longer useful, and then often are terminated. Too often dogs who are kept on puppy farms end up suffering from psychological damage and need to receive rehabilitation before they are able to be rehomed.  
South Australia likes to view itself as a state of dog lovers, as evidenced by our reliable uproar every year as thousands every June voice their disgust for the Yulin dog festival – as they should. While human abuse of dogs is abominable internationally, perhaps we should amend our domestic sins as we seek to cast stones.
Locally in South Australia there has been a proposal to erect two puppy farms in Two Wells. This industrial grade dog-breeding complex – if approved – would seek to house 300 dogs in just 114 kennels.
South Australian locals clearly oppose the notion of dog abuse in their backyards, as the Adelaide Plains Council was inundated with over 300 emails opposing the proposition.
The RSPCA chief executive officer spoke about the proposition, claiming that the mill would have to operate “seven days a week 24 hours a day” in order to properly care for the animals, and stated that he was “horrified” with the proposal.  
Puppy farming is not entirely unregulated in South Australia, with the state government introducing a Code of Practice in 2017; however, this code allows abusive behaviours such as keeping the dogs confined for 23 hours and 30 minutes a day. Additionally, it allows the farmers to kill the dogs however they wish to (with the exception of drowning) so long as it “causes death or unconsciousness as rapidly as possible”. 
The sinister nature of puppy farms is multi-faceted as not only do they seek to keep dogs in sub-par living conditions in order to exploit them for profit, but these farm’s existence adds to the problem of overcrowding in shelters and the needless execution of innocent and unloved dogs and puppies.
So What Can We Do to Ensure Dogs and Puppies are Protected in South Australia?
There’s never been a better time to re-think our relationship with animals and how we treat them.
The ‘adopt don’t shop’ initiative has done a brilliant job in promoting the grassroots movement of adopting dogs in need rather than contribute to the dog production industry; however, as a community we must put our foot down when we see exploitation at our doorstep.
The Animal Justice Party seeks to ban all puppy farms in Australia in order to expel the exploitation from our nation and reduce the needless death toll. Our South Australian branch of the Animal Justice Party has been taking action against puppy farms through our advocacy work.
Your support and membership fee go towards helping us put animals on the political agenda and letting the SA Government know we are unified in helping to end puppy farms.
By Hannah Pledger-Firth
You can also find more information and resources on https://www.oscarslaw.org/what-are-puppy-factories.htm