Or is it more like gaslighting us? Bill Smith of "Mainline Animal Rescue (MLAR)" is at it again beating up on the Amish. This was shown on ABC's Nightline news program on March 27, 2009. This link should take you directly to the story.
To really understand this news item, look at both what they say and what they don't say. They say that the Amish are hiding a "secret world", and also use the term "culture of secrecy." People are often either alarmed at the idea of such secret things or are fascinated, or both at the same time. "Secret" in this context is like a code word. They say "secret world" without saying explicitly that this is wrong, but they apparently hope that the viewer will catch the implication that there is indeed something wrong. There is a transparent pretense of journalistic neutrality.
They say that the dogs run on "chicken wire" but it's harder to catch the fact that this wire is coated to prevent harm to the dog's feet. This time, unlike when Bill Smith and MLAR were on Oprah, they don't claim that the dog's feet are torn up by the wire but that claim is implicit when they mention the coated wire. In the Oprah video I didn't see any torn up paws or claws and maybe that's why they're not making the claim in the Nightline video.
If you look carefully the stacked cages have catch trays to prevent feces and anything else from falling through to the cages underneath. I have yet to see a video of an alleged puppy mill where the cages lacked such trays but several of those videos included the claim that feces were falling through the wire onto other dogs. The Nightline video says outright that the cages are stacked so that feces fall into the cages below. You can see the trays that catch the feces and urine. In the Nightline video they're easier to see. Often when viewing these videos one has to hit the back button a few times to catch it.
They didn't show us the golden retriever in the ABC video trying to walk. They carried her everywhere. MLAR's claim was the only thing that it would have hurt. I just looked at some of the video from when they were on Oprah and I am not impressed. Ramming pipes down an animal's throat I do not believe because that would risk damaging valuable breeding animals. You also have the fact that there is a lot of barking in their footage at the puppy farms. I think that on Oprah the dog that they showed that didn't bark was a Basenji, which doesn't bark but uses other vocalizations. It's kind of like they don't want to get caught in a lie.
In the Oprah video Lisa Ling's voiceover said that the swollen teats of a mother dog were "sad testimony" to all the pups that she had bred. In nature often canids and other species live to reproduce because they have to, and there's nothing sad about that in and of itself, and why think so? And if some people are treating them like "agricultural products" that's their right. Animal rights activists don't like anyone to have "agricultural products" and I think they don't want us to eat at all. They do say no meat, no fur, no pets, and I say they need to move off the planet.
At least in the Nightline video the owner was allowed to speak in his own defense and I think he was right. He keeps them clean, he exercises them, and I think he's right to say that letting them run outside can be dangerous.
Proposed laws would among other things require solid floors and that would be less humane because the animals would be constantly walking in feces and urine. This law would force a breeder to maintain conditions that are inhumane to the animals. A cage that stays relatively clean is better than one that pools nastiness. A requirement for individual dishes means that less water will be available and it will not be as clean because water in dishes gets dirty.
The "secret society" stuff and the "they think of them as agricultural products" verbiage make appeals to bigotry. We can't prove them wrong about the Amish and the Mennonites quite as easily because they aren't nearly as much on the net as the rest of us. They get very little chance to tell their own side of the story.
Really, there are better ways to help animals.