The Norwegian Society for Protection of animals work against unethical breeding has reached far. Many countries are interested in our work, and in creating a better future for our dogs. Tomorrow, we have been invited by All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG) to talk in the UK Parliament about this subject that is so close to our hearts. What an honor, and what a recognition of our work!
Text: Eva Hustoft / Åshild Roaldset, Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals
Both scientists and welfare campaigners several places in Europe have been warning about the high levels of inbreeding, disease and suffering in many of our purebred dogs. Even the kennel club itself has told the world about the problems of inbreeding and breed specific diseases in pedigree dogs, for decades.
Changing dog breeding
We saw that pedigree dog breeding has created a huge welfare problem and decided to get to the bottom of this and figure out how we can help these poor dogs. The journey towards the ambitious goal of changing the way dogs are bred began. We were determined that whatever we spend our precious animal welfare money on, must result in a noticeably better future for the dogs. We have not succeeded before the dogs can feel the difference.
As long as the current breeding practices holds on to old dogmas about exterior descriptions, breed purity and closed stud books, and keep ignoring research, science and outcross, their system will keep producing sick dogs. If the breeds are to be saved, we are truly heading in the wrong direction.
Successful in the supreme court
We took the case to the courts, it went all the way to the supreme court, and we won on behalf of the dogs.
In Norway the courthouses have now made it clear that not only do todays system for breeding purebred dogs lead to sick and inbred dogs, but the system is also luring some of the best breeders into potentially breaching the animal welfare act.
This is the first time in Norway that an animal welfare organization has been successful in the supreme court. The court agreed that breeding of cavalier was in violation of the animal welfare act and had to stop. The supreme court also stated that breeding dogs with BOAS grade 2 is illegal, and they raised a concern for dogs with BOAS grade 1. This even though the Norwegian animal welfare authority thought otherwise.
Breeding is science
It is beyond any doubt that dog breeding needs a renaissance. Not doing what is best for our dogs is a betrayal. This means that business as usual is really not an option at this point in time. We therefore believe time is well overdue to make necessary changes. Changes so the dogs can actually feel the difference.
Breeding is a science. It takes 5 years of higher education to become a geneticist. If we really want to help the dogs and preserve the breeds, science and technology is the solution.