The Truth About Amish Country
The Amish (and Mennonite) community are known as“The Gentle People”. Amish Country is known for its wonderful restaurants, craft shops and well-kept Amish farms. Beautiful fields where bearded men in wide-brimmed hats lead teams of shaggy plow horses tilling the soil. Hay fields dot the rolling hills of Amish country, and the fields that sustain the simple lifestyle are mostly bare. But one crop; the most important crop to some, still remains. Puppies. Be warned … the Amish life that is depicted for tourist is nothing like the reality. There is animal abuse among Amish in the form of puppy mills. A simple Google search for Amish puppy mills will return thousands of hits. For farmers, a big crop of dogs can gross up to $500,000 annually, with successful operations netting six figures. The men in the suspenders and bushy beards are masking a cruel form of factory farming behind the quaint and pure image of the Amish culture.
In areas of the U.S. where Amish dwell, there is a high number of puppy mills. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement lists 243 kennels in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and 98% of them owned by Amish. Holmes County, Ohio, has 470 kennels — more than any other county in the nation.
Do you know what puppy mills are? Puppy mills are mass dog-breeding operations. They have been around for decades, but they continue to be a problem because unsuspecting consumers keep buying those adorable puppies in the pet store window, on Internet sites and ads in local newspapers; and, more often than not, they are dogs purchased from puppy mills.
These canine breeding facilities frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, particularly for breeding stock animals who are caged and continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family. After their fertility days are over, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.
Daily existence for these dogs is a life of neglect, abuse, torture and suffering, and when they have outlived their usefulness, an often brutal ending! Disease, malnutrition, dehydration, sickness and death flourish in cramped filthy cages, freezing in the winter, scorching in the summer. Females bred and over-bred from their first heat cycle through every subsequent one until their bodies are so used up and broken down that death is a welcome release for them. They never know a kind word or a gentle touch. And this description barely scratches the surface of the cruelty.
Do a Google on the Amish and puppy mills. Look at the pictures and read the newspaper articles that come up. Nothing has changed despite attempts to change the laws.
While the Amish landscape is among the most beautiful in the world, the puppies bred at the mills NEVER see the outside of wire cages that are usually stacked on top of each other in dark barns, feces from one draining down into those beneath it.
We are not throwing ALL the Amish into the same category. Actions of a select few is might sound prejudiced, but hold on! The puppy-mill breeders might be just a small fraction or a very small percent of the Amish population, but the majority of the population have chosen to ignore what is going on in their own backyards. NOTHING IS BEING DONE TO THEM! And we must remember the words of writer, political activist and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel…“to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”And the Bible itself says, in James 4:17,“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
“IF” the Amish faith opposed this mass production and torture of dogs, I would hope the people would rise up and take a stand. And what of the Bishops of the Amish faith? They should make it known to all who are of the Amish community that anyone who contributes to this horror will be SHUNNED! What is shunning? Members who break church rules may be called to confess before the congregation. Those who will not correct their behavior are excommunicated. Excommunicated members are shunned in order to shame the individual into returning to the church. Members may not accept anything from the shunned person like a handshake, payment or automobile ride. This form of discipline is recommended by the bishop after a long process of working with the individual. Excommunicated members will be accepted back into the church if they return and confess their wrongdoing. Those in the Amish community can be shunned for something as simple as painting their barn in an unapproved color … SURELY the act of animal cruelty deserves nothing less from their own peers.
Head coverings, long beards and solid-colored clothing DO NOT a Christian make!
But as they say, MONEY TALKS. The Amish have been allowed to continue their inhumane treatment of animals without pressure from the rest of the population because of the money that tourism brings to Amish businesses.
Most people who visit Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Holmes County, Ohio go there to experience the Amish Culture. Yes, the Amish in general are hard-working, modest people. But ethical? NO! Hypocritical? ABSOLUTELY. Selling your religion for tourism bucks and international trade does not seem ethical to me. On top of that, they have others (“the English” as they call outsiders) post on the internet for them. Isn’t it amazing how these Godly people who shun the outside world have no qualms about using a third party to do what God has forbidden them from doing. I would say that the majority of Amish are living double lives or have double standards.
When the “breeding stock” dog’s usefulness is gone, they are dumped like garbage into the dog pound where they try to undo all the damage that has been done. Or worse, they are taken behind the barn and shot, or drowned in the family pond. Their puppies are sold as pets, but the parents of these puppies are not treated as pets. They are nothing more than livestock to the perpetrators of this disgraceful act.
It’s imperative that we stop this inhumane process. The best way to stop puppy mills from continuing their abuse is for consumers to stop buying the puppies they breed. Many people think they are rescuing a puppy by buying one. Don’t be fooled. You’re just creating space for another puppy to be sold.
Never buy a dog unless you can see for yourself where it was born, how the parents are kept and what condition all the dogs are in. A reputable kennel owner and breeder will never sell to a pet store, and they will willingly give you the name of their veterinarian as a reference.
Another way is to contact your county dog warden and your commissioners to make sure that they are enforcing what is enforceable. Call or write your state representative. Changes must be made through the law in order to protect God’s loving, innocent creatures from this kind of abuse. It is up to each and every one of us to raise our voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
We are in no way saying that the puppy mill business is the exclusive problem of the Amish community. Far from it. Approximately 500,000 puppies are produced each year from the country’s 4000-5000 puppy mills. But it is truly sickening to see this cruelty being done by those who would have us believe they are living according to God’s word. . The Amish may live simply and eschew modern technology but they have cell phones, caller ID, and they sell dogs over the Internet!
The puppy mill business is a vicious cycle and there is only one way to break it. Laws and legislation will only go so far and many of these puppy millers can skate on the edge of abuse and cruelty laws, if they even exist, for years. People need to learn about puppy mills. So many people just do not know that the cute puppy in the window of that neighborhood pet shop comes from a puppy mill or that the ads in the newspaper or on the internet are for puppy mill puppies.
In some areas legislators are working to improve the laws but even if the measures pass they will still fall far short of what it will take to really make a difference. What is necessary is to get the word out, to educate and show people and teach people. There are thousands and thousands of dogs each year that are killed for lack of homes, why bring more puppies into the world, especially puppies that are sick and produced out of the most torturous and horrendous conditions imaginable.
What YOU Can Do? The first thing you can do is to take the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) pledge to stop puppy mills!
“I will do my part to help stop puppy mills. I pledge to help end this cycle of cruelty by:
Choosing not to buy my next pet from a pet store or Internet site
Refusing to buy supplies from any pet store or Internet site that sells puppies”
Now that you’ve made your pledge, join us in Boycotting Amish Made Products until the Dog Auctions and puppy mills owned by the Amish Community cease to exist!
Quite simply, this means to boycott EVERYTHING that is Amish made or Amish related. Do not buy the handmade Amish furniture, quilts, crafts or food products … not even the little squares of fudge at a flea market! Don’t even eat at Amish restaurants! It’s time to send a strong message, loud and clear! And the only way to do that is to hit them where it hurts … the pocketbook!
Next, DON’T buy from pet stores! You probably already knew this one. But tell your friends, co-workers, anyone and everyone you know. The ASPCA feels that 9 of 10 pups at a Pet store come from a puppy mill.
This is possible. It can be done, but will need the help of every one of us. Please help spread the word, and you will be helping to end the suffering.