IPFD's Collaborating Partner, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), has published a position paper where it confirms its support for the recent efforts of Animal Protection Norway and the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act.
WSAVA shares the concerns expressed by the Norwegian court regarding the breeding of English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It calls for a much greater focus on health screening of breeding animals and educating the public and urges that the selection of breeding dogs and cats should avoid extreme conformation that predisposes to disease and poor welfare.
In the position paper, WSAVA states:
We recognize the serious welfare issues that exist in relation to brachycephaly (short noses and skulls), as well as other extreme anatomy and hereditary diseases in dogs and all purposefully bred animals. We support and promote the breeding of healthy animals and support animal welfare laws that reduce the suffering of animals and optimize their welfare. We also support the efforts of Animal Protection Norway and the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act that states, “Breeding should promote traits that provide robust animals with good function and health.”
WSAVA encourages kennel clubs and cat registries to adjust breed standards to address and avoid extreme conformation and disease predisposing anatomy. It encourages them also to establish breeding guidelines that include breed-specific pre-breeding health screening to avoid genetic diseases, disease risk from exaggerated anatomical features, and monitoring of breed health.
“We in the veterinary profession seek to educate the dog and cat-buying public to ask breeders for veterinary documentation of pre-breeding health screening results on the parents of puppies and kittens, and to ask their veterinarian for advice. Altered public demand should encourage breeding practices that produce healthier pets and create real changes.”
The IPFD follows the situation closely and urges collaboration between all stakeholders. The challenges for the legal and/or legislative approach include whether laws and their enforcement are adequate to address all breeders (kennel club-associated and others) and whether, without changing the public's desire for these pets and the regional nature of legislation whether they can be truly effective.
WSAVA Position paper: A Response to the Norwegian Court Ban Against the Breeding of English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/A-Response-to-the-Norwegian-Court-Ban-Against-the-Breeding-of-English-Bulldogs-and-Cavalier-King-Charles-Spaniels.pdf