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Pet Stores, Breeding Facilities, and Zoonotic Diseases

by Steve Fitzsimmons, President,
Madison Area Cagebird Association of Wisconsin

Scarlet Macaw
(Click on photo for a larger view & caption)

What Is A Puppy Mill?   *   What Can I Do About It?   *   Laws/Legislation   *   ACTION ALERTS!


Zoonotic Diseases: those diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

        The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) receives hundreds of calls each year from people complaining about the heartbreaking conditions animals are kept in at Wisconsin puppy mills, breeder factories and pet stores. Unfortunately, when enforcing Ch. 951 Crimes Against Animals, an animal is almost dead before it is considered a crime. If we can't regulate pet stores and breeding facilities out of compassion for the animals involved, perhaps it's time we took a look at the health risks for HUMANS.

       Seventy-five percent of all viruses animals carry can pass to us humans. West Nile, SARS, Monkey Pox, Psittacosis, the Exotic New Castles disease, and "bird flu" are six well known viruses that have affected humans just this past year alone. Animals kept in inhumane conditions, crowded cages, dirty cages, with poor ventilation and packed so tightly as to maximize profits are breeding factories for many viruses including some newer ones.

       Some animals, like birds, can hide their illness from you and your family for weeks thereby infecting everyone before you even suspect the bird is ill. According to an article appearing on CNN, cats and ferrets are known to have carried the SARS virus which infected over 8,000 people and killed close to 800 in 2003. This is not a scare tactic, this is reality.

        People who have pet dogs, cats, birds and reptiles love their animals and treat them as if members of the family. Disease outbreaks can bring health department personnel to your home to take your animals away, sometimes to be euthanized as was the case in California during the Exotic New Castle Disease outbreak. Even though your pet may have been healthy, your pet can be viewed as a carrier and a risk.

       It is important that breeders and pet stores be monitored so the spread of disease is stopped as early as possible to prevent problems from getting out of control like Monkey Pox and Exotic New Castles Disease. (For more information on diseases that can be transmitted to humans, see: Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site guide to Zoonotic Diseases.)

       The sad reality is, many of our leaders do not see this problem. They choose not to see animals as living beings with feelings, but rather as commodities that are bought and sold like furniture. They follow the dollars not their hearts and they listen to the breeders because the breeders have the funds to contribute to their campaigns. They also choose to ignore the health risks as long as you don't notice and there are no current health problems making the news. People who care about this problem are labeled animal rights activists to group and belittle these people and their concerns.

       In the end it comes down to the dollar. It is cheaper to take an animal that is ill to a freezer than call a vet. It is cheaper to sell an unweaned baby bird than wait 9 months for when it can eat seeds on its own. It is cheaper to keep 30 parakeets in one cage than getting four cages and spreading the birds out. It is cheaper to clean cages and change food and water less.

       Are these the people we want to support with OUR dollars?


Logo of the Madison Area Cagebird Association of Wisconsin

 pawprint bullet point   More information on MACAW   pawprint bullet point   More information on Pet Store Birds   pawprint bullet point   Monkeypox & other Zoonotic Diseases   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   What is Brucellosis?   pawprint bullet point   What is Rabies?   pawprint bullet point   Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site guide to Zoonotic Diseases   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   The Petstore Connection   pawprint bullet point

What Is A Puppy Mill?
What Can I Do?
Laws/ Legislation


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© Copyright, 2008. The Wisconsin Puppy MIll Project
P.O. Box 926    *    Sheboygan, WI 53082-0926   *

Article Copyright © 2003 by Steve Fitzsimmons. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Photos Copyright © 2003, Steve Fitzsimmons & MACAW. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

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