RSPCA Launches Campaign Calling On Crufts To Stop Showing Brachy Breeds
8th March, 2023 10h38
The charity’s Save Our Breath campaign highlights health issues faced by brachy dogs
The RSPCA has called for Crufts to stop the most popular brachycephalic breeds of French bulldogs, pugs and British bulldogs competing at the annual dog show - and new research by the charity shows that most people agree.
The animal charity’s Save Our Breath campaign - launching today - highlights concerns that brachycephalic breeds such as French bulldogs, British bulldogs and pugs can suffer from terrible breathing issues and many dogs cannot live normal lives due to the irresponsible way they’ve been selectively bred.
As Crufts gets underway, new research by the RSPCA* has shown that:
- 58% believe breeds such as British bulldog, French bulldog and Pugs should not be allowed to compete at Crufts
- 78% support mandatory health testing for brachycephalic animals in order to compete at Crufts
- 84% think that Crufts has a responsibility to show only healthy dogs
- After being shown information about brachycephalic animals and Crufts, 62% agree Crufts is leading others into believing that brachycephalic animals are healthy.
The warning comes as the Crufts dog show prepares to kick off in Birmingham this week, sparking concerns that the showing and celebration of such breeds will further popularise them and will lead people to buy one without knowing the true cost both to their dogs’ lives and financially.
The public can show their support for the campaign by signing an open letter to The Kennel Club on the RSPCA website.
Caroline Allen, the RSPCA’s chief vet, said: “The health issues which brachycephalic breeds can face can lead to so much suffering and it concerns us that Crufts may give the public the view that these breeds are healthy.
“Numerous dogs have competed and been awarded prizes despite having visibly exaggerated features that are associated with serious health issues.
“Last year, despite less exaggerated versions presented in other classes in the competition, we still saw a more exaggerated bulldog coming first place in the best of breed - so judges thought he was the ‘best’ example of his breed, but at what cost to his health?
“Every year Crufts awards these types of dogs with certificates for best of breed with the potential for one to be named best in show. While some changes have been made to the breed standards, it is far from sufficient and there remains an urgent need to protect these dogs.
“The Kennel Club has the power to inform real change, and has an incredible influence. They get to decide what a Crufts ‘winner’ looks like, and by taking a stand against brachycephaly - and ending the involvement of French bulldogs, British bulldogs and pugs from competitions until these breeds are returned to health - they can help protect future generations of these dogs.
The campaign is launched as research shows:
- Brachycephalic breeds have a significantly shorter lifespan than others
- French bulldogs were the number one breed being advertised for sale in the UK in 2022
- The RSPCA has seen an increase of 37% in these breeds coming into our care
Emma Slawinski, campaign director at the RSPCA, said: “Featuring brachycephalics at Crufts legitimises their exaggerated features and increases their popularity amongst the public.
“This year we are campaigning to have French bulldogs, pugs and bulldogs removed from the show as we do not believe their extreme physical features and associated health and welfare issues are a cause for celebration.
“We completely understand why there is so much love out there for these breeds, but breeding for features which compromise their basic health and welfare is wrong.
“We need to change the general view that these dogs are ‘cute’ and that the symptoms of their health problems are ‘funny’, ‘cute’ or normal for the breed.”
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