Pug and Bulldog breeding faces UK ban – vets call for end to vicious cycle
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Animal charity Blue Cross has been campaigning for the breeding of “flat-faced” dogs – also known as brachycephalic – to be outlawed. The charity has said that “poor breeding” leads to major health defects in popular breeds, such as English Bulldogs. They are calling for new laws which would significantly impact the appearance and availability of the dogs.
The animals are more likely to develop eye disease, skin disease, obstructed breathing, and spinal deformities.
Blue Cross said that this prevents the dogs from “living full and happy lives”.
But Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at the charity, claimed they “don’t want to ban the breed, we want healthier breeds”.
She told the Sun: “We have already started contacting MPs.
“Ultimately Blue Cross is determined to see the end of the poor breeding of flat-faced dogs and are considering all options both legislative and non-legislative to achieve this.”
Over the last two years, vets from the Blue Cross have claimed to have treated more than 5,000 brachycephalic pets for dangerous health problems.
Blue Cross has accused breeders of a “vicious cycle of over-breeding”.
According to the charity, one in five dogs in the UK are currently flat-faced.
They believe that an increase in “cute” advertisements on social media has triggered an increase in demand.
Earlier this year, the British Veterinary Association (BVS) launched a campaign called “Hugs not Pugs”, aimed at curbing the demand for the pets.
In the leadup to Valentine’s Day, it wrote to the Greeting Card Association and card retailers, including Moonpig, Paperchase, WH Smith, Scribbler, Clinton’s and Funky Pigeon, calling them to ban the use of pugs on greeting cards.
Justine Shotton, President of the BVA, said: “Flat-faced dogs and cats like pugs, French bulldogs and Persians and ‘long and low’ breeds like dachshunds continue to remain popular on greetings cards and gifts this Valentine’s Day, even four years after vets started the #BreedToBreathe campaign.
“These animals add a ‘cute’ appeal to merchandise but their looks mask a host of potential health and welfare problems.
“Valentine’s Day is a day for showing love, so giving a gift or card depicting an animal that can suffer because of how it has been bred is not the right message to give a loved one.
“That is why we are asking everyone to choose hugs not pugs to show your love this year.”
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She added: “While stock for this year is already in the shops, we hope that card retailers will work with BVA to reduce the visibility and, hopefully, the popularity of these breeds in the future.”
Four breeds of dog are already banned in the UK: Pit Bull Terriers; Japanese Tosas; Dogo Argentinos; and Fila Brasileiro.
The Government states that “whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.”
But the RSPCA argues that dogs “should not be judged on how they look”, calling for the policy to be changed.
The police or council have the right to confiscate banned dogs, even if it is not acting dangerously.
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