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Why fight for the right to breed sick dogs?

Av 12. oktober 2022april 26th, 2023Ingen kommentarer
Bilde av engels bulldog-valp. Foto: Pixabay.

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals and the Norwegian Kennel Club met for a rematch in the dog breeding case in Borgarting Court of Appeal last month. Science is resoundingly clear that both the English bulldog and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel are two breeds with a very high degree of inbreeding and a heavy disease burden. It remains to be seen whether the court listens to science and rules in favour of the dogs.

Tekst: NSPA, Photo: Pixabay. 
S ome of the most prominent experts and researchers from various parts of the world explained to the court the terrible health and welfare state of these two dog breeds. It is widely agreed that crossbreeding is the best way to save the Cavalier and the English Bulldog.

New legal aspects

The essence of the case 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 the interpretation of the breeding clause in the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act section 25.
Oslo District Court gave its verdict in January this year. The court ruled in favour of the NSPA and the dogs, concluding that the breeding of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and English bulldogs with their current gene pools is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
In the Court of Appeal, a new legal question has come up that was not presented before the District Court. In this round, NKC is arguing that the case must be dismissed because the Court lacks the authority to decide on the subject matter of the case. NSPA disagrees with this and believes that there is no doubt that this case belongs in the courts. The Court of Appeal must therefore also decide on this matter.

Crossbreeding for healthier animals

Since 2018, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals has asked NKC to initiate scientifically based crossbreeding programs for the most vulnerable dog breeds which suffers from both a high burden of disease and a high degree of inbreeding. It is quite clear that an out of court settlement of the disagreement would be the best solution. For the NSPA such settlement would only be acceptable, if scientifically based crossbreeding projects were initiated to save the two breeds in question. Professionals on both sides agree that crossbreeding is the fastest way to improve the health of these breeds and that this can prevent many dogs from being born with disorders.
NKC has however insisted that these breeds must be purebred, and that crossbreeding is not an option. This is a disturbing point of view which is contrary to science and greatly affects the dogs’ health, welfare and life expectancy.
– The fact that NKC, opposes a scientific approach to dog breeding where the dogs’ temperament, health and function all are taken into consideration, is both incomprehensible and very serious. We need many different dog breeds, but breeding must take into account the well-being of the dogs. It is no longer acceptable to prioritize breed purity at the cost of the dogs’ health and wellbeing. Our dogs pay a sky-high price for this outdated way of breeding dogs, says Åshild Roaldset, veterinarian and CEO of the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals.
Unethical breeding is considered to be one of the most important welfare issues for our dogs. If we are to improve the dogs’ health, modern tools such as estimated breeding values ​​for function, temperament and health, in addition to kinship, have to be used. This is also highlighted by the EU in its guidelines for dog breeding. The EU guidelines for dog breeding is a well-written document that all animal welfare organizations, breeders, kennel clubs and authorities should be able to agree on.

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