Take a page from Starbucks when looking to source foreign-bred dogs for the American market.
Many of my dvm360 blogs this past year touched on a looming issue for veterinarians, animal welfare groups and the pet industry: namely, where is the source for humanely-bred dogs to meet the needs of American society during the next 50 years as our human population grows from 310 million to more than 400 million? Unless we turn a blind eye to human-animal bond research and the powerful evidence of the mutual value of relationships between people and companion animals, and American’s obvious love of pets, then we must start working in earnest to find a solution.
Here we’ll examine one facet of a potential solution: foreign-bred dogs. Before we do, let’s look at the list of possible sources of dogs to meet American demand:
- Hobby breeders (doubtful as a high volume source).
- Large-scale U.S. commercial breeders (puppy mill issues make this troublesome if not impossible, combined with lack of “positive” resources, like academia, devoted to challenge).
- Untreated feral dogs in the American South and Midwest producing litters for delivery by local shelters to urban markets around the country (difficult to view this as an intentional, humane source of the volume needed, although it is a steady source now).
- Foreign-bred dogs (see discussion below).