I read this for the first time a long time ago, and it was very disturbing for me. First, of course, because it was "puppies"!
But after reading through it again, I realized, of course, that different cultures have different ways of looking at things, and that it really was no different than veal or lamb chops, for instance, and that killing something to eat it - well, it doesn't matter to the animal whether it's cute and cuddly or big and ugly - it's still dead. But what still bothers me to this day is that trapeze artist - people like that, with that kind of logic, scare the bejeebers out of me. That's the same kind of logic that makes women kill their children to "save them" from a terrible world, or has other people murder their families so they can go to heaven. True, they are motivated by love - but how many atrocities are done in the name of "good"? Look at Hitler. As Dirk pointed out, the model of efficient management, public relations, and a total lunatic. But what was his motive (or at least one of them)? Patriotism. Love of his country, wanting to bring it back to the greatness it was held.
I'm really not sure which is worse - detestable acts for the love of money, or deplorable acts in the name of love.