Media Centre

New PETA Ad Showcases the Sinister Side of Dog Breeding

For Immediate Release:
28 February 2012
 
Contact:
Elisa Allen 020 7357 9229, ext 243; ElisaA@peta.org.uk
 
London - Mimicking an advert for a Victorian freak show, a provocative new PETA ad highlights the genetic mutants who are frequently paraded around the ring at the world's largest dog show, Crufts. The ad, launched just days before the Kennel Club event, accuses shows like Crufts of promoting breeding traits which can leave dogs vulnerable to disease, pain, disability and behavioural problems.
 
About one in four pedigree dogs is afflicted with serious congenital defects, including hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cataracts, allergies, chronic ear infections and hip dysplasia. These and other conditions have been handed down through generations of inbreeding and selective breeding for distorted physical features. One of Britain's most popular dog breeds, the pug, is so inbred that all of Britain's 10,000 pugs descend from just 50 dogs! What's more, because they have been bred to have an extraordinarily flat face, pugs often suffer from blocked airways, which makes breathing difficult. English bulldogs suffer from similar breathing difficulties, and their anatomy now leaves them unable to mate or give birth without assistance. Virtually all Cavalier King Charles spaniels develop life-threatening heart murmurs, and more than a third suffer from an agonising condition called "syringomyelia", caused by having been bred with skulls too small for their brains. A recent study found that all of the 50 most popular breeds are at risk of some genetic defect which can cause suffering.
 
The BBC stopped airing Crufts after the 2008 TV documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed revealed how pedigree dogs suffer from an abnormally high rate of lifelong health problems. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals withdrew its support the same year because, as the group stated on its website, such shows "actively encourage both the intentional breeding of deformed and disabled dogs and the inbreeding of closely related animals. This is morally and ethically unjustifiable". Now, more than three years later, the Kennel Club has failed to address many of the serious health problems that continue to plague pedigree dogs.

"The Kennel Club promotes the breeding of dogs who are literally born to suffer", says PETA's Yvonne Taylor. "We are asking true dog lovers to take a bite out of cruelty by boycotting breeders in favour of adopting lovable animals from their local animal shelter or rescue group."