Group Says Pedigree Show Causes Dogs Painful and Life-Threatening Genetic Defects and Diseases
Birmingham – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has just fired off a letter to the head of Channel 4 urging him to cut the organisation’s ties with the Crufts dog show, which is set to return to television screens on More4 from 6 to 9 March. In the letter, PETA – an affiliate of PETA US, the world’s largest animal rights organisation –describes how the show promotes the purebred dog–breeding industry, which causes many dogs to endure painful and life-threatening genetic defects and diseases.
“Dogs don’t care about winning trophies or titles, yet they are the ones who pay the price for breeders’ selfish and superficial pursuits at Crufts”, says PETA’s Kirsty Henderson. “Just like the freak shows of centuries ago, it’s time we consigned this painful pageantry to the history books.”
The practice of breeding dogs for unnatural physical traits causes pedigree dogs to suffer from an abnormally high rate of painful genetic defects, including epilepsy, heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, severe breathing difficulties, heart murmurs and painful eye problems. One study released last month used MRI scanning technology and found that many dogs who have been bred to have small, round heads – particularly Cavalier King Charles spaniels and Chihuahuas – may suffer from constant, excruciating headaches because their skulls are too small for their brains.
These devastating health problems arise because breeders resort to cruel and unhealthy practices in their quest to produce dogs who match up to The Kennel Club’s arbitrary “breed standards”. Breeders routinely mate closely related dogs, which passes down recessive genes that cause genetic disorders. Shows such as Crufts – which was dropped from the BBC after a programme called Pedigree Dogs Exposed highlighted many of the problems caused by breeding dogs for particular physical traits – contribute to this suffering by prioritising looks over health and encouraging people to buy pedigree dogs from breeders.