Fighting for the Cavalier and the Bulldogs health
Science is the solution
The problem with dog breeding is that breeding over the last century or so, has mainly been based on the dog's appearance. In all these years, close matings, like cousins, mother to son, or grandfather to granddaughter, have also been allowed and even desired. Because of this, inbreeding has become sky-high, and many breeds suffer today from dozens of serious hereditary diseases that are impossible to breed away from without bringing in healthy genes. Systematic breeding has thus created the biggest animal welfare problem in dogs of our time. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and English Bulldog are two of the breeds most affected by these breeding efforts.
The core of the case, which will now go before the Court of Appeal, is a disagreement between The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) and the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKC), the breed clubs and the breeders about how the wording of the breeding clause in section 25 of the Animal Welfare Act should be understood.
NSPA has always made it clear that an out of court settlement between the parties would be the best solution, but only if such a settlement includes scientifically based crossbreeding projects to save the two breeds in question: English Bulldog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Professionals on both sides agree that crossbreeding is the fastest way to improve the health of these breeds. By carrying out scientific cross-breeding and scientific breeding work to improve the animals' health, breeding of these dogs will thus be able to continue.
NKC, insists that these breeds must be purebred, and that crossbreeding is not an option. This is a disturbing point of view, which comes at the expense of health, welfare and the dogs’ life span.
- The stubborn attitude we encounter from those who are supposed to care for the dogs is the reason why NSPA sees no other solution than to fight this case further in the legal system, says Åshild Roaldset, CEO and veterinarian of The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals.
Health testing is just lip service
For over 20 years, information and dialogue has been attempted, to bring about change for the dogs, with little luck. Meanwhile, the situation for many of our purebred dogs is getting worse. NKC’s arguments about health testing and efforts of systematic breeding work is just lip service. Where has this systematic breeding actually taken the dogs? All cavaliers have, through human-controlled breeding, the anatomical features that can lead to extreme headaches. All English bulldogs have reduced respiratory function compared to dogs with normal noses, and they have a life expectancy of only 7.4 years. The list of problems is endless. Our dogs suffer because the systems for dog breeding in Norway today prioritize breed purity at the cost of science. The health challenges of the two breeds have been well documented and undisputed for decades. The Norwegian Kennel Club and the breed clubs have over the years, implemented unscientific measures in an attempt to improve the serious health problems they themselves have created and acknowledge exist. The measures have, of course, not had a significant effect, but continue to mislead puppy buyers and the public. For several decades, tens of thousands of puppies have been born to very challenging lives.
- To insist that the idea of a pure breed should trump the dogs' right to good health and good function is a betrayal of our dogs. We can breed better, healthier and happier dogs. Our dogs deserve that we do our very best to give them good lives in a healthy body, says Roaldset.
The appeal case will take place at in Oslo at the Borgarting Court of Appeal from September 19th-23rd.
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Åshild RoaldsetVeterinær og daglig leder i Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge
Foto: Marcel Leliënhof
Om Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge
The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals was established in Oslo in 1859. The organisation has 26 local branches, around 250 stewards and approximately 3000 volunteers. The organisation rescues more than 6000 animals every year.
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