Victory for dogs

Dogs and cats bring us joy in so many ways. And yet, we so often take these wonderful animals from their own families, confine them, and alter their lives in ways they would not choose for themselves. Few cats, for example, would voluntarily swallow a worming pill. Or consent to a de-sexing procedure, although they’ll benefit from these actions. These wonderful animals give us faithful companionship throughout their lives.

It’s hard to think of a worse violation of such trust and loyalty, than to deliberately manipulate the genetic makeup of these animals, to select for traits that compromise their welfare, simply because some people find it aesthetically pleasing. Examples abound within pure breeds of dogs and cats, with most being associated with one or more such genetic or conformational disorders.

Among the very worst of these are brachycephalic, or short-snouted, breeds of dogs. Such animals often endure breathing difficulties throughout their entire lives (unless invasive and expensive corrective surgery is performed). Their ability to exercise normally is restricted, and they have increased risks of collapse, heatstroke, death under anaesthesia, prolapsed eyeballs and birthing difficulties. The New Zealand Veterinary Association has described the life of these animals as like “spending your whole day trying to breathe through a pillow”.

Trade Me is New Zealand’s biggest site for online animal sales, and we’ve been very concerned about such sales fuelling the trade, and further breeding, of these animals by unscrupulous animal breeders. Accordingly, SAFE and other organisations met with Trade Me last year. We supplied detailed information about the welfare problems associated with such breeds.

We are delighted that Trade Me has now announced a ban on online sales of pugs, French and English bulldogs – the worst affected breeds. We hope their progressive position on this issue will serve as an example to others. They’ve even called for government regulation concerning such breeds.

Take action

  • If you’d like to share your time and life with an animal companion, please do not support the commercial animal breeding industry. Instead, please consider providing a home for a shelter animal.
  • Carefully consider everything you’ll need, to be able to provide a good home. See here for advice.

19 January 2018