Is YOUR Breed at Risk of Being Banned? A recent court ruling in Norway is set to have repercussions for breeders around the world (and not just dog breeders either).
On the 31st of January, the Norwegian Court ruled that it was against the law now in Norway to breed Cavalier King Charles spaniels and British bulldogs. The Court advised the ban may be extended to other breeds on welfare grounds, including, for example, flat faced cats.
The Court ruling bans the breeding of purebred litters of these breeds and advocates strategic outcrossing designed to restore proper healthy functionality. One example would be outcrossing a Pug to a Jack Russell Terrier to restore muzzle length in the breed.
The court ruling came about because the Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals took three kennel clubs and six individual breeders to court. Their argument was that breeding these breeds contravened Norway’s welfare standards for animals, and they won.
Even though it’s early days, the repercussions of this decision are already being felt around the world.
The Norway ruling is a precedent that is sure to encourage other animal protection groups worldwide to follow suit in their own countries.
Already as a result of this ruling, the UK Kennel Club has moved to change the breed standards for the Cavalier King Charles (a matter of too little, too late and likely to be as useful for staving off litigation as arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic).
And only six days after the ruling, the Australian Veterinary Association said in a public statement that they are advocating to ban the breeding of a whole suite of dog breeds. Currently they are targeting breeds whose muzzle length is less than a third of the length of their skull. Specifically mentioned are Cavalier King Charles, pugs, British bulldogs, Boston terriers, and French Bulldogs.
It is being said that Australia might be used as a test case for extending the ban because we’ve got quite a small dog breeder population here. So it wouldn’t be that hard for the animal protection agencies to win a similar Court case in Australia, particularly with the Australian Veterinary Association backing them up.
Look out for similar legal action in your country!
Which Breeds are at Risk?
Any breed (of any species) whose welfare has been negatively impacted through selective breeding is at risk.
Brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds are currently in the spot light due to reduced functionality of their upper respiratory system. Dogs with short muzzles are at higher risk of exercise intolerance and heat stress (panting is the main way dogs cool themselves and brachycephalic breeds don’t have a large surface area for heat exchange other breeds do).
Really, any breeds whose welfare can be improved by banning purebred breeding is fair game.
That includes dogs with long backs, short legs, pendulous ears or excessive skin. All of those diversions from the wolf ancestor phenotype can adversely affect the dog’s health and welfare.
It could also be argued that breeds with very small genetic pools suffer – as a result – a shortened lifespan and higher incidence of genetic and other health issues. So even morphologically correct dogs, like my own breed – the Miniature Schnauzer – could be included in the ban, and forced to be outcrossed for welfare reasons.
What can Breeders do about it?
We’ve seen the rapid response by the UK Kennel Club to bring in more humane breed standards for the Cavalier King Charles. That’s a good start, and shows at least they are trying to do something positive. But it won’t be enough to satisfy requirements in the wake of similar rulings rolling out in the UK and elsewhere.
The rulings seek to force kennel clubs and other breed registries to open up their stud books and allow the outcrossing from their purebreds to other breeds. They see this as the only way to rapidly improve welfare outcomes for our pets and prevent future animal suffering.
What do you think about this? I’d like to hear your comments on the Facebook group.
Is your breed affected? Do you think it might be? What do think should be done about it? I’d like to hear what you’ve got to say.
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