One has too small a skull, the other too flat a muzzle… Because the traits that make them so endearing are also the cause of their torment, Norway has made the unprecedented decision to breed two breeds of dog.
In a resounding ruling, the Oslo court banned the breeding of the English Bulldog and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, on the grounds that the practice would cause them suffering incompatible with the Animal Protection Act.
Salué par les militantes et militants de la cause animale et critiqué par les éleveurs, le verdict a pour toile de fond un débat grandissant sur la planete : la quête de « mignonitude » pour les animaux de compagnie se fait-elle aux dépens de leur bien -to be ?
“Many of our herding breeds are highly inbred and carry a heavy baggage in terms of disease,” explains Åshild Roaldset, president of the Norwegian Humane Society, which has launched legal proceedings against dog associations and individual breeders.
“We need to change the way we breed dogs. The way we did it might have been acceptable 50 years ago, but it’s not today. †
Through inbreeding, both breeds have developed hereditary diseases that affect most if not all individuals. The list is long.
Sinister dog, especially popular in the Tweety and Sylvester cartoon and associated with the spirit of English resistance during World War II, the Bulldog accumulates breathing difficulties due to its flattened muzzle, as well as dermatological, reproductive and orthopedic problems.
More than half of these mastiffs born in Norway in the past ten years have given birth by cesarean section. “The breed’s genetic inability to give birth naturally is in itself a reason that the Bulldog is no longer used in breeding”said the judges.
As for the Cavalier King Charles – who has won the hearts of many personalities in history such as Louis XIV, Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone – their constitution means that they often suffer from headaches due to a too small skull, heart failure or even eye problems.
For Ms. Roaldset, the lack of genetic diversity on a global scale is driving these breeds straight to extinction. “And it will be painful for them because they will get more and more diseases”she says.