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Victory for dogs

January 19th, 2018

Dogs and cats bring us joy in so many ways. And  yet, we so often take these wonderful animals from their own families,  confine them, and alter their lives in ways they would not choose for  themselves. Few cats, for example, would voluntarily swallow a worming  pill. Or consent to a de-sexing procedure, although they’ll benefit from  these actions. These wonderful animals give us faithful companionship  throughout their lives.

It’s hard to think of a worse violation of such trust and loyalty,  than to deliberately manipulate the genetic makeup of these animals, to  select for traits that compromise their welfare, simply because some  people find it aesthetically pleasing. Examples abound within pure  breeds of dogs and cats, with most being associated with one or more  such genetic or conformational disorders.

Among the very worst of these are brachycephalic, or short-snouted,  breeds of dogs. Such animals often endure breathing difficulties  throughout their entire lives (unless invasive and expensive corrective  surgery is performed). Their ability to exercise normally is restricted,  and they have increased risks of collapse, heatstroke, death under  anaesthesia, prolapsed eyeballs and birthing difficulties. The New  Zealand Veterinary Association has described the life of these animals as like “spending your whole day trying to breathe through a pillow”.

Trade Me is New Zealand’s biggest site for online animal sales, and  we’ve been very concerned about such sales fuelling the trade, and  further breeding, of these animals by unscrupulous animal breeders.  Accordingly, SAFE and other organisations met with Trade Me last year.  We supplied detailed information about the welfare problems associated  with such breeds.

We are delighted that Trade Me has now announced a ban on online sales of pugs, French and English bulldogs – the worst affected breeds. We hope their progressive position on this  issue will serve as an example to others. They’ve even called for  government regulation concerning such breeds.

 

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