Originally published in the Rio Rancho Observer
Save the puppies, free the market
PETA, the ASPCA and the Humane Society are organizations well-known for animal advocacy and have led the way in raising public awareness regarding the treatment of animals in fashion, product testing, meat consumption and pet welfare. Because of these campaigns, it’s now socially unacceptable to wear fur, use animal-tested products and consume caged and/or genetically-engineered animals. “Animal Welfare Approved,” “Certified Humane” and “Leaping Bunny” are third-party certifications coveted by humane business owners.
These programs didn’t evolve because of legislative regulations, but because of consumer regulation: a unique characteristic of the free market. Consumer regulation has proven to be more effective in keeping unsavory business practices at bay.
Prohibitionist laws only handicap those who’re neither inclined nor determined to commit the behavior the law is intended to curtail. In other words, banning the sale of animals in pet stores only stops those who wouldn’t sell inhumanely-treated animals; those who would will find another venue, usually the black market where more cruelty takes place.
One opponent of this change stated that, “Just because you don’t see (cruelty) doesn’t mean it’s not there.” I agree, adding that just because you don’t see the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores, doesn’t mean that sale isn’t taking place.
Bans end the conversation, creating ignorant consumers rather than educated and informed consumers. I would hope that a hallmark of the City of Vision is that consumers here are informed and educated rather than ignorant, something only the free market can do.