The first lawsuit updates

Important victory for the dogs in the court of appeals

The Borgarting Court of Appeal in Oslo has on Friday delivered a verdict in the dog breeding case. Like the District Court, the Court of Appeal states that further breeding of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with today’s genetic material is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. For the English bulldog, the Court of Appeal sets the threshold higher, and believes that the evidence is not sufficient to uphold the ban from the district court.


Text: Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals. Published 20. november 2022.

 

The verdict in Borgaring Court of Appeal was in on friday.

 

Breeds in violation of the law

In Norway, we have an animal welfare law that gives our dogs strong protection against unnecessary injury, disease and pain. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals believes that this law is not followed in much of today’s dog breeding practice. We are therefore very satisfied with the Court of Appeal’s judgment, which shows us that the regulations have a real effect. Now two legal instances have established through the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed that parts of today’s breeding practices are in violation of the law. This is a huge victory for animal welfare.

For many decades, professional circles have been strenuously trying to raise concerns about these problems, now another legal instance agrees with this, says CEO of The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals Åshild Roaldset. This judgment therefore means that you cannot continue as before – and it is important to get it established.

 

Bulldog with reservations

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals is at the same time surprised by the Court of Appeal’s conclusion on the English bulldog. This is a breed with a huge disease burden, and where a large proportion of the population suffers from breathing problems. The hereditary disorders of this breed have been well documented in the literature for almost a hundred years, and recent research clearly shows that the condition of this breed is critical. The Court of Appeal nevertheless sets the threshold higher than what the District Court did for the bulldog, claiming that the health challenges have not been sufficiently proven.

With an inbreeding rate in the bulldog of approximately 35% and so many different diseases, we believe that you have no opportunity to significantly improve the health of this breed without cross-breeding, says Roaldset. It is a shame if our dogs have to suffer for even more years, in order for us to be able to shed enough light on this.

 

Dog breeding of the future

It is important to point out that this judgment is not about the consequences of the court establishing a ban on further breeding of one of the two breeds. Although it has been mentioned a lot, the case is not about crossbreeding projects, or about the risk of illegal imports. These are of course also very important topics, which the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals is actively working on, but they are outside of what the court has decided.

Our focus is and will remain on the dogs and their welfare. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals has worked for animals since 1859. To not address the biggest animal welfare problem in the dogs of our time would be to fail the values ​​that the organisation stands for, says Roaldset.

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals wants MORE and BETTER organisation of dog breeding, and that it must apply to all individuals – both purebred dogs, designer dogs and mixed dogs. We want all dogs to be sold with estimated breeding values ​​for temperament, function and health, and genomic relatedness. This is in line with the EU’s guidelines for dog breeding, which both breeders, kennel clubs, animal welfare organisations and the authorities should be able to agree on.

Geneticists must be involved in dog breeding. The time when selection of breeding animals is made by exterior judges, with the main focus on appearance, must be over. The price the dogs have had to pay for this type of unscientific breeding practice has been far too high for far too long. Dogs are descended from the wolf and did not look like they do today until humans started breeding. In other words, the ailments these dogs live with are entirely man-made.

Fighting for the Cavalier and the Bulldogs health

After The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals, won the case regarding unethical dog breeding in Oslo District Court, we are now ready for the appeal case. Dog breeding practices that are focused on looks have created the biggest animal welfare problem we have in dogs today, and the suffering is enormous.


Text: Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals. Published 16. september 2022.

 

The obsession with breed purity should long ago have been thrown on the scrap heap of history in favour of science and compassion for the well-being of our dogs.

 

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.

SIEG AUF DER GANZEN LINIE FÜR DIE HUNDE!!!!

Das Bezirksgericht Oslo verkündete heute das Urteil im Prozess über unethisches Züchten. Es wurde einstimmig beschlossen, dass es gegenwärtig gegen §25 des norwegischen Tierschutzgesetzes verstößt, die Hunderassen englische Bulldogge und Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Norwegen zu züchten.


Text: Norwegischer Tierschutzbund (Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge). 2. februar 2022. Updated 3. februar 2022. 

 

Ein Feiertag für unsere Hunde

Nach einer ausführlichen Erörterung des Falles im Bezirksgericht Oslo im November erhielt der norwegische Tierschutzbund heute die Nachricht über den Erfolg seiner Klage.

Der Fall wurde gründlich bearbeitet von einem erfahrenen Bezirksrichter und zwei Schöffen -Veterinär und Genetiker. Zahlreiche renommierte Experten haben als sachverständige Zeugen die massiven Gesundheitsprobleme, die die bisherige Zucht dieser Hunde verursacht haben, aufgezeigt.

– Dies ist ein sehr gründliches und generelles Urteil, dass wichtige gesetzliche Rahmen für Tierzüchtung definiert, sagt Anwalt Emanuel Feinberg der Anwaltsfirma Glittertind.

 

Kreuzzüchtungen sind vollständig möglich 

Ein gefälltes Urteil nicht das Verbot der seriösen Züchtung von Bulldogge oder Cavalier bedeutet, da seriöse und wissenschaftlich betriebene Kreuzzüchtung eine gut geeignete Alternative darstellen könnten. In den letzten 50 Jahren gab es eine rasante technologische und wissenschaftliche Entwicklung. In Norwegen haben wir die Infrastruktur und Technologie um eine gute, wissenschaftlich verankerte Zuchtarbeit zu erreichen. Unsere Hunde verdienen es, eine gute Ausnutzung dieser Entwicklung zu genießen, und die Art und Weise, wie wir Hunde züchten, muss ständig dem zur jeweiligen Zeit zugänglichen Wissen angepasst werden.

-Die menschengeschaffenen Gesundheitsprobleme der Bulldogge sind schon seit dem frühen 20. Jahrhundert bekannt. Dieses Urteil hat also sehr auf sich warten lassen, sagt die Geschäftsführerin des Tierschutzbundes, Veterinär Åshild Roaldset.

Über viele Jahrzehnte hat man kranke Hunde gesetzeswidrig gezüchtet. Was hier passiert ist ein systematischer und organisierter Verrat an unseren vierbeinigen Freunden. Heute wurde endlich festgestellt, dass dies ein Gesetzesverstoß ist.

 

Das Urteil verdeutlicht den Bedarf für Änderung

Der norwegische Tierschutzbund hat unter anderem die Einführung einer ID-Markierung und den systematischen Gebrauch von Gemüts- und Eigenschaftsmerkmalen sowie von Gesundheits- und Erbschaftsdatenbasen in der Zucht vorgeschlagen.

– Ohne Nachverfolgungsmöglichkeit und die Benutzung von Datenbasen ist es unmöglich für das Mattilsynet (die norwegische Behörde, die Brüche des Tierschutzparagrafen untersucht und anzeigt) eine effektive Aufsicht über die Hundezucht durchzuführen. 2020 hat die EU Richtlinien zur Hundezucht veröffentlicht. Es ist nur natürlich, dass diese Richtlinien grundlegend sind für jede Hundezucht in Norwegen, sowohl für Rassehunde als auch für Mischlingshunde, sagt Roaldset.

Viele europäische Länder haben eine entsprechende Gesetzgebung, und entsprechende Krankheitsbelastung bei ihren Hunden. Wir hoffen, dass dieses Urteil dazu beitragen kann, die Gesundheit der Hunde weit über unsere Landesgrenzen hinaus zu verbessern. Die “ærlig talt”- Kampagne (“mal im Ernst”, eine Kampagne des Tierschutzbundes gegen unethische Züchtung von Hunden) und dieser Prozess haben viele Teile der Welt erreicht.

Der heutige Tag geht als ein Feiertag für unsere Hunde in die Geschichte ein. ALLE, die Hunde mögen haben allen Grund, heute zu feiern!

 

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FULL VICTORY FOR THE DOGS!!!!!!

Oslo District Court has today ruled in the case concerning unethical breeding. A unanimous verdict concludes that breeding English Bulldog and Cavalier king Charles spaniel is a violation of the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act section 25.


Text: Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals. First published January 31st 2022. Updated february 3rd 2022.

 

A thorough judgment

After an extensive hearing of the case in Oslo District Court in November, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) today received the happy news of a full victory.

The case was carefully considered by an experienced district court judge and two co-judges who are veterinarians and geneticists, respectively. Several of the expert witnesses in the case possess the highest professional competence in their fields, and the major health problems these dogs are bred with were thoroughly elucidated.

– It is a very thorough and principled judgment, which provides an important legal framework for animal breeding, says lawyer Emanuel Feinberg in the law firm Glittertind

 

Cross-breeding fully possible 

A conviction does not imply a ban on serious breeding of Bulldog or Cavalier, as serious and scientifically based cross-breeding could be a good alternative. In the last 50 years, there has been a rapid technological and scientific development. In Norway, we have both the infrastructure and technology to achieve good, scientifically based breeding work. Our dogs deserve to benefit from this development, and the way we breed dogs must be adjusted according to the best available knowledge.

– The man-made health problems of the bulldog have been known since the early 20th century. This verdict is many years overdue, says CEO, BVSc Åshild Roaldset.

For several decades, sick dogs have been bred in violation of Norwegian law. What has taken place here is a systematic and organized betrayal of our four-legged friends. Today it has been confirmed that this is illegal.

 

The ruling clarifies the need for change

The NSPA has proposed the introduction of chip marking and the systematic use of temperament, traits, health data and kinship data in breeding.

– Without traceability and the use of databases, it is impossible for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to conduct effective supervision of dog breeding. In 2020, the EU presented guidelines for dog breeding, and it is reasonable that these guidelines should be leading for all dog breeding in Norway, both for purebred dogs and for mixed breed dogs, says Roaldset.

Many European countries have similar legislation, and a similar disease burden in their dogs. The NSPA hope that this ruling can help improve the health of dogs far beyond our borders.

This is an historic day for our dogs. EVERYONE who loves dogs has reason to celebrate today!

– This is a day of celebration for our dogs! The Animal Welfare Act is intended to protect animals from the irrational actions of humans, and it has done so today. This is about the dogs’ right to feel good, says Åshild Roaldset.

 

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Asking the minister to get involved in regulating dog breeding

In 2019, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to prepare a proposal for regulations on dog breeding. Just before Christmas last year, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sandra Borch.


Text: Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals. Published January 11th, 2022.

Here we strongly recommend her to follow up the work on these regulations, so they become an appropriate tool for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, ensuring better health for our dogs and harmonization with EU guidelines for dog breeding.

 

Important to use estimated breeding values

In this letter, the NSPA asks that the document “Responsible Dog Breeding Guidelines” by the EU platform on Animal Welfare, must be used as a guiding principle. This document states that estimated breeding values ​​(EBV) should be used as a tool when selecting breeding animals. EBV are also important as information that should be passed on to all puppy buyers.

EBV will enfold both purebred and mixed breed dogs and apply regardless of the number of litters bred by the breeder. In the NSPAs view, it is essential for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to have access to EBV for health, temperament and function, and sufficient knowledge of the dogs’ actual kinship, to be able to regulate dog breeding according to section 25 of the Animal Welfare Act.

 

All the required tools are available

Norway has both the technology and the databases required to monitor EBV and should therefore be a driving force in this work. The NSPA believes that the new regulations play an important part in solving the issues of serious health challenges and extreme inbreeding in our dog population.

We are also convinced that enabling monitoring of dog breeding in Norway with relatively limited resources will be of tremendous value to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. By embracing the latest advantages in science and by using existing technology, we can improve the health of our dogs and ease the supervision of breeding.

 

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The first lawsuit against unethical breeding

During five days in November Oslo District Court heard The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals` (NSPA) lawsuit against unethical dog breeding. The lawsuit concerns breeding of English bulldog and cavalier king charles spaniel. NSPA believes that these breeds have an unacceptable burden of disease combined with a limited genetic diversity, due to decades of inbreeding. Therefore, further breeding within these breeds is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act section 25.


Text: Eva Hustoft, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals. Published November 23. 2021.

NSPA believes that a scientific crossbreeding project must be initiated to save these two breeds from extinction. The expert witnesses that the court herd largely agreed that crossbreeding is the most effective measure to improve the health of these breeds. In court, reference was made to other successful crossbreeding projects initiated to save breeds. NSPA thus sees no reason why some breeds that suffer should not benefit from the positive effects of crossbreeding.

The Norwegian law clearly states that breeding from sick dogs is prohibited, even when the aim is to improve the breeds health in the long run. Initiating health programs for breeds with a high burden of disease with the aim of improving the breed’s health in a long-term perspective is thus not legal in Norway. There was consensus among the expert witnesses that the current health programs for the English bulldog and the cavalier will lead to dogs borne to a life with substantial suffering for many years to come. These dogs suffering is caused by an idea of breed purity and a human demand for dogs with a breed specific appearance. The suffering these dogs must endure to please its owner is manmade.

The Oslo District Court’s verdict is expected towards the end of the year or in the beginning of next year. It is time that the dogs’ right to a life with good health and function is taken seriously!

For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no /+47 47 45 88 44.

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Legal changes may strengthen animal protection

The Norwegian Parliament has decided to change the wording of the breeding section of the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act. The new wording clarifies that the Norwegian Kennel Club, the breed clubs and the individual breeders are all responsible for breeding robust animals which function well and have good health.


Text: Eva Hustoft, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals.

Over the years the different parties involved in breeding pedigree dogs have blamed one another for the burden of disease our pedigree dogs are suffering from. The new wording of the law will hopefully put an end to this and strengthen the dogs’ legal position.

The new wording is a clarification of the current legal text so that the intention of the law becomes clearer. The NSPA and our local branch in Oslo and Akershus have, for several years, worked to highlight unethical breeding through the campaign Honestly. This work has now culminated in a lawsuit in Oslo City Court in November 2021, where the NSPA will meet the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK), two breed clubs and six individual breeders over violation of the breeding section in the Animal Welfare Act section 25.

The law now clearly states that the Norwegian Kennel Club and other parties can be held accountable for violations of the breeding provision. The NSPA believes it is entirely appropriate to clarify the responsibility for dog breeding. Today, even though this is a responsibility all parties already had, systematic offences take place where all parties blame each other. The law must, in line with the stated purpose behind the Parliament’s decision, be followed up with a further regulation that requires that today’s science and current technology make up the foundation of breeding practices to the benefits our dogs.

For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no /+47 47 45 88 44.

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Press release: The Oslo District Court has agreed to hear the Norwegian Society for the Protecion of Animal’s case of illegal dog breeding

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals has brought a case before the Oslo District Court against the Norwegian Kennel Club, the Norwegian Cavalier Club, the Norwegian Bulldog Club and six breeders of English bulldog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The defendants argued that the case should be dismissed. The Oslo District Court has now agreed to hear the case. Unless the ruling is overturned on appeal, the case may be heard already in the autumn of 2021.

Text: The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals.

Illegal breeding

The Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals (NSPA) is very pleased with the court’s ruling. If the ruling is upheld, the Oslo district court will sometime this autumn consider whether further breeding of English bulldog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is illegal as contrary to the Animal Welfare Act.

The NSPA is of the opinion that these breeds have such major health challenges that further breeding of them is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act section 25. This provision prohibits breeding that changes genes in such a way that the animals’ physical or mental functions are negatively influenced, reduces the animals’ ability to practice natural behaviour, or evokes ethical reactions. It also prohibits breeding that passes on such genes.

 

The case is suitable for judicial review

The Norwegian Kennel Klub, the breeding clubs and the breeders argued that the case was not suitable for judicial review and should be rejected by the courts. In its decision, the district court concludes that the case is suitable for review. The court states that the NSPA has a genuine need to have the claim decided against the defendants.

The court emphasizes the extensive material the NSPA has presented to substantiate the claim, and that the defendants themselves acknowledge that both breeds have real health problems. The court also emphasizes that the scope of the breeding provision in the Animal Welfare Act is uncertain. The court concludes that the claim is suitable for judicial review in the form it was presented by the NSPA.

 

Many years of work

The NSPA and our local branch, NSPA Oslo and Akershus, are very pleased with the Oslo district court’s decision. We have worked to stop unethical breeding of family animals for several years and have been working on this specific case since 2018.

  • The court case is a result of several years of work to improve the health of purebred dogs. Together with other involved parties we have worked continuously on this issue for more than 20 years. Through our dialogue with the Norwegian Kennel Klub, it has become evident that we have very different understandings of what constitutes acceptable animal welfare and legal breeding of pedigree dogs. Therefore, it is important that the court interprets the content and limits of the breeding provision in the Animal Welfare Act, says Åshild Roaldset, veterinarian and CEO of the NSPA.

The defendants have one month to appeal the Oslo district court’s ruling to hear the case.

For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no /+47 47 45 88 44.
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Legal changes can improve the wellbeing of pedigree dogs in Norway

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has invited stakeholders to a hearing for the upcoming changes to the Animal Welfare Act. The provision regulating breeding of animals is one of three changes that are a part of the current hearing. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) is welcoming the suggested changes. The NSPA has asked for stronger regulation of breeding of pedigree dogs since 2018.

Text: Eva Hustoft, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals.

T he Animal Welfare Act prohibits breeding that changes genes in such a way that they influence the animals’ physical or mental functions in a negative way or passes on such genes.

A clarification of the law is cherised

Breeding of dogs has traditionally had acceptance for a high burden of disease within certain breeds and the provision regulating breeding has never been used.  “It is time to put an end to breeding dogs that cannot give birth, that cannot breathe and that are literally riddled with disease”, says Åshild Roaldset the CEO of NSPCA. “As a veterinary surgeon I have seen these dogs suffer for decades, we have to stop this and start breeding animals with compassion for their wellbeing, their health and function.”

The suggested changes in the law clarifies that the Norwegian Kennel Club can be held accountable for breaching the breeding provision in the law.

For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no /+47 47 45 88 44.
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The EU breeding guidelines – the best Christmas present our dogs could get!

In October 2020, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) submitted an input to the EU Commission’s platform for animal welfare. We gave them our view on the situation regarding the breeding of dogs and cats and suggested specific actions to improve the situation. We are pleased to notice that we have been heard, and that the finished document reflects several of our thoughts.

Text: Eva Hustoft, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals

T he NSPA suggested several changes, all vital to improve the welfare of breeding dogs and cats. We are thrilled to see the EU share our concern for today’s breeding and that they are calling for a change. Here are a some of the highlights.

 

Breeding values

We are very pleased that EU is acknowledging the importance of using estimated breeding values (​​EBV) in dog breeding. Estimates breeding values is also the best way to say something about the puppies health and hence provides vital information for any puppy buyer. EBV should be based on comprehensive health data and breeding values ​​for different traits. By doing so, breeders will also fulfil parts of the requirements in section 27 of the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act, which among other things, require puppy sellers to provide necessary information to puppy buyers about conditions that are important for the well-being of the animal.

 

Natural mating

We are also delighted that the EU guidelines now says that no forced matings must occur. Furthermore, the guidelines states that semen collection and artificial insemination should only be performed by a qualified veterinarian.

It is also positive that a veterinary health plan should evaluate the suitability of the individual for breeding. The plan should be reviewed annually, ideally by an independent veterinarian.

 

Monitoring at population level

The document has its own chapter on hereditary disorders. In our hearing we emphasised the need for increased focus at a population level. In our opinion, the focus on the inbreeding at the level of an individual mating does not yield enough information to properly manage the breed. Professional management of a breed requires an overview of the increase in inbreeding over time. The EU agree with us and suggest careful monitoring of the degree of inbreeding within the breed.

The EU guidelines pinpoints the need to change and modernise the way stud dogs are selected and urge the use of the different tools already available. We now expect the Norwegian government and The Norwegian Kennel Club to ensure these guidelines are endorsed in Norway. The first step will be registration of all traits in a database, as this is largely lacking for many traits and most breeds. These guidelines are a big step in the right direction for the welfare of our dogs and cats. This important document is the best Christmas gift for our four-legged beloved friends, says Åshild Roaldset, veterinarian and CEO at the NSPA.

You can read more about our input here (In Norwegian): https://www.dyrebeskyttelsen.no/2020/10/12/haper-a-bli-hort-i-eu-kommisjonen/

Here are the breeding guidelines from the EU: https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/animals/docs/aw_platform_plat-conc_guide_dog-breeding.pdf

Feel free to sign our appeal against unethical breeding (In Norwegian): https://www.opprop.net/underskriftskampanje_mot_uetisk_avl_av_familiedy

 

For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no /+47 47 45 88 44.
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Reputable lawyer Geir Lippestad will represent the Norwegian Kennel Club

On November 23rd 2020, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals summoned the Norwegian Kennel Club, 2 breed clubs and 6 breeders for illegal breeding of purebred dogs. It is attorney Geir Lippestad who will represent the Norwegian Kennel Club.

Text: Eva Hustoft, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals

Disagree on the requirements of the law

T he Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) and the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) disagree on the interpretation of the Animal Welfare Acts requirement that animals must be bred with good function and health. It is clear to the NSPA that any breeding passing on genes that affect the animals negatively, either physically or mentally, is illegal. Thus, we see it necessary to try the Animal Welfare Act’s breeding provision (Animal Welfare Act section 25) in our legal system. The NSPA claim that some breeds are bred with a disease guarantee, since all individuals develop one or more hereditary diseases during their lifetime. Several breeds also suffer from diseases and health challenges associated with their extreme exterior. The NSPA therefore regard further breeding as a violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

The solution

It is common knowledge among professionals that good breeding must be based on science, registration of the animals’ characteristics and function, and access to comprehensive health data in addition to the pedigree. There is no reason why family animals should not benefit from the advances made over the past 50 years, in both computer technology and genetics. We can solve the issues with today’s breeding using these solutions. The NSPA believe that the right to good health and welfare must outweigh the owners desire to own an animal with a specific appearance. Breeding of pedigree dogs is a hobby that causes serious health problems for many dogs and there are no good reasons to let this continue.

Extreme breeding has gone so far that for some breeds, the only solution is cross breeding with a healthy breed. Both the English Bulldog and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are in this situation and we have therefore decided to focus on these breeds.

We understand the love that dog owners have for their animals. Many of these dogs have a wonderful temperament and a lovely personality, even more reason to give them a life without man made disease and suffering.

Respond to criticism

After it was known that the NSPA is taking the NKK to court, there have been several negative reactions. The NSPA have been criticized for not prioritizing combatting dog smuggling and unethical breeding of mongrels.

“I would like to remind everyone that this is first and foremost a fight we take on for the animals, and not a fight against breeders and other stakeholders. When it comes to smuggled dogs and unethical breeding of mongrels, I want to assure everyone that we work tirelessly to report matters concerning illegal import, puppy farms and illegal breeding of mutts. The NSPA consider that all animals are equally valuable and work to improve the wellbeing of all dogs, purebred or not ” says Åshild Roaldset, veterinarian and general manager of the NSPA.

Lawyer Lippestad has been granted a postponement of the response on behalf of the NKK, breed clubs and breeders, to Oslo District Court until 18 January 2021.

For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no /+47 47 45 88 44.
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Norway to decide if breeding of English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels violates Norwegian law

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) works to prevent and stop unethical breeding of family pets, hereunder pedigree dogs. The NSPA believes breeding of both English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in Norway today does not meet the legal animal welfare criteria laid down in the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act of 2009. The NSPA is now taking The Norwegian Kennel Club, the two breeders’ clubs and selected breeders to court.

Text: The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA).
T he wording of the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act is very strict. Breeding must encourage characteristics which give robust animals which function well and have good health. It is prohibited to pass on genes that influence the animals’ physical or mental health in a negative way, reduces the animals’ ability to practice natural behaviour, or which evokes general ethical reactions. Paragraph 25 which pertains to breeding was even strengthened in the new act of 2009. Below you will find an unofficial translation of the relevant provision:

§ 25. Breeding

Breeding must encourage characteristics which give robust animals which function well and have good health. Breeding, including through methods of gene technology, shall not be carried out in such a way that it:
a. changes genes in such a way that they influence the animals’ physical or mental functions in a negative way, or passes on such genes.
b. reduces the animals’ ability to practise natural behaviour, or

c. evokes general ethical reactions.

Animals with a genetic constitution as cited in the second paragraph shall not be used for subsequent breeding.

This revised wording has not yet been tried in Norwegian courts. The NSPA believes that some breeds have now accumulated so many serious health conditions that further breeding of them will constitute a breach of this provision.

Therefore, the NSPA is now taking legal steps towards selected breeders, clubs, and The Norwegian Kennel Club to have the content and limits of this provision interpreted by the Norwegian courts.

At this point, the NSPA is of the opinion that a number of these breeds are too sick to continue breeding them. In addition, the lack of sufficient remaining genetic diversity makes it impossible to breed robust and healthy animals within the remaining population. Based on these facts, the NSPA believes that outcrossing of these breeds is the only available option that is in accordance with the relevant legislation in Norway.

“We believe that many dogs are bred unlawfully in Norway. The purpose of the law is to protect the animals from human atrocities, and what we see in this case is of major animal welfare concern,” says Åshild Roaldset, BVSc, DVM and CEO NSPA.
For press: post@dyrebeskyttelsen.no/+47 47 45 88 44.

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