Starting this project made me ponder:
- There always seems to be another perspective related to welfare and ethics that I had not thought of before.
- There appear to be two camps online—those for breeding and those against (and there is little in between).
- Veterinarians seem to be under-represented in the breeding dog public debate.
This provides further validation for an aspect of my project – to create educational resources for veterinarians/veterinary students.
In seeking resources, I came across One Welfare (see link below), a collaborative effort of veterinary schools in Australia and New Zealand to engage the veterinary community in animal welfare discourse. It highlights some of the questions I have been pondering related to the complexities surrounding dog breeding.
Dogs have great species differences in size, color, and temperament and people can choose from registered purebred dogs to homeless dogs, and everything in between. One Welfare resources can be used to inform questions related to the adorable internet video posted below. Hazel is a purebred rescue. No one can deny that she is cute, well-deserving of a good home, and born with a genetic condition that leaves her challenged. Difficult questions still remain:
- Is the breeding pair that produced Hazel still breeding?
- What genetic defects are in their lines? How could they be prevented or detected?
- Are we glorifying “disabled animals” because they are cute and not thinking critically about breeding practices?
Hazel has a happy ending, what is the outcome for other disabled dogs?
The goals of One Welfare and IPFD are similar—to engage in conversations that inform, raise awareness, and improve animal welfare. Check out all the resources on their page and look at articles we will be posting on IPFD for more details - for example: An Interactive Scenario from One Welfare to Illuminate Brachycephalic Welfare Challenges.
I hope my veterinary project generates greater understanding between veterinarians and breeders, so we can come together to improve the welfare of individual animals, understand the needs of breeders, and improve future generations of dogs.