Ahead of Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, PETA sent a letter to Kennel Club Chair Tony Allcock OBE calling on the organisation to remove pugs, Pekingese, French bulldogs, and other brachycephalic breeds from the competition.
The Kennel Club’s “breed standards” – used to judge “pedigree” dogs at Crufts – call for distorted physical features. Our letter points out that this encourages the breeding of vulnerable flat-faced dogs who suffer from physical deformities that cause chronic health issues, citing a recent study by the Royal Veterinary College that found some of these breeds can no longer be classified as normal dogs due to their health irregularities.
The Kennel Club must realise that the tide is turning and take a stand against promoting dogs who spend their lives in misery.
Bans on Flat-Faced Dogs Are on the Rise
A recent court ruling in Norway recognised that these dogs suffer severely and should no longer be bred, and the Netherlands is now preparing to ban ownership of and advertisements featuring these animals to address the cruelty of producing dogs with unnatural features that cause severe health problems.
Why Breeding Dogs for Exaggerated Features Is Unethical
Many flat-faced dog breeds – like bulldogs and pugs – can barely breathe without gasping for air, let alone enjoy a walk or chase a ball. These dogs endure miserable lives. Veterinarians across the country are performing costly operations to expand the animals’ airways and make their lives a little more bearable.
Veterinary bodies – including the British Veterinary Association – recommend that animals who have extremely exaggerated features that negatively affect their health and welfare should not be bred. A recent study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College found that “the Pug has now diverged to such an extent from mainstream dog breeds that it can no longer be considered as a typical dog from a health perspective”. Dr Dan O’Neill, lead author of the study, concluded, “It is time now that we focus on the health of the dog rather than the whims of the owner.”
And it’s not just pugs who suffer. Cavalier King Charles spaniels are bred to have brains too big for their skulls. Bulldogs have been so inbred that they can no longer mate unaided or give birth naturally.
Breeding deformed and disabled animals for accolades is cruel, and it has to stop. “Pedigree” dogs exist only because of human interference, and due to selective breeding and a lack of genetic diversity, they end up with a host of health problems.
What About Responsible Breeding?
As long as dogs and cats continue to suffer from homelessness and abandonment, no breeding can be considered responsible. All breeders fuel the animal overpopulation crisis. In the UK alone, an estimated 20,000 dogs are euthanised in shelters every year because there aren’t enough good homes for them, while breeders continue to churn out litters of puppies. And every time someone purchases a puppy or a kitten instead of adopting from an animal shelter, a homeless animal loses their chance at finding a home.
The Kennel Club actively encourages extreme breeding practices and the inbreeding of closely related animals, which is morally wrong.
Always Adopt – Never Shop
Don’t support the cruel and exploitative dog-breeding industry. If you’re considering bringing an animal companion into the family, please adopt from your local shelter.