The Netherlands banned the breeding of around 20 short-snouted dog breeds back in 2014 to address the cruelty of producing animals with unnatural features that cause severe health problems, allowing only dogs with muzzles at least one-third the length of their heads to be bred. The country will now extend this law to ensure people cannot own the breeds, and images of them on social media or in advertising will also be banned.
The UK must follow suit to prevent dogs from spending their lives in pain.
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 – strongly 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.”
What About Responsible Breeding?
There’s simply no such thing as responsible breeding, and breeding companion animals should be banned completely. The Kennel Club actively encourages extreme breeding practices and the inbreeding of closely related animals, which is morally wrong.
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 without human interference or give birth naturally.
Breeding deformed and disabled animals is cruel, and it has to stop. “Pedigrees” 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.
To add insult to injury, we are in the middle of a companion 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.
Always Adopt – Never Buy Dogs
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.