Fact Sheet on the OPPOSITION to THLN’s Licensed Breeder Bills
The American Kennel Club bills itself as “The Dog’s Champion,” but its lobbying activities demonstrate a pattern that is entirely at odds with that self-description. The AKC has opposed hundreds of bills and proposals over the last couple of years to implement common-sense, humane standards of care at large-scale breeding facilities.
Why does the American Kennel Club (AKC) fight against better dog welfare?
The AKC is not an animal welfare organization, nor has penal or regulatory authority. The AKC is a purebred dog registry sustained by dog registration fees. Because of their financial dependence on commercial dog breeders, the AKC lobbies against basic animal welfare bills for fear that they would cut into dog registration fees.
After reading the AKC action alert against SB 876, one might think they have legitimate issues with language, often citing concerns over “arbitrary” standards of care. However, to examine their cumulative opposition to even minimal improvements of laws, it becomes clear that they seek to inhibit any progress on puppy mill protection. The AKC website lists hundreds of alerts opposing dog welfare legislation, making it very hard to believe that the AKC seeks enhanced language. The goal becomes somewhat transparent: to prevent these bills from advancing and killing them instead. The AKC opposed a bill that would criminalize bestiality under Texas law in 2017.
What is the AKC’s strategy?
In addition to intentionally creating confusion among lawmakers about the AKC’s primary function (registering and collecting fees from dog breeders), the AKC argues that their perspectives represent all dog owners in Texas. For example, AKC affiliates and partners typically have names like “Responsible Dog Owners of Texas” (commonly known as RPOA), leading a person to believe that their efforts are grassroots, led by a local “dog breeders club.” However, their extreme positions do not reflect the opinions of most Texas pet owners. The AKC also utilizes fear-mongering tactics by claiming that animal welfare bills will end all breeding or pet ownership. The organization asks the members of its clubs who speak out against animal cruelty or in favor of common-sense welfare policies.
Who does the AKC find “responsible”?
The AKC also heavily promotes and defends pet stores as puppy sales outlets, even though they encourage the public to only buy from responsible breeders and to “Visit the breeder’s home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents.” Of course, these things are impossible when buying a puppy from a pet store. The reason for this discrepancy is apparent. Pet stores sell puppies “with AKC papers” and encourage consumers to register them, which puts more money in the AKC’s pocket. The organization opposes efforts to stop the sale of puppies in pet stores and supports state legislation intended to strip localities of their authority to regulate pet stores.