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If you watched Crufts recently there is a lot of controversy concerning the health of the dogs and the ethics of many breeders totally disregarding nature and the process of natural selection, particularly in breeding dogs for show. I am not saying that all breeders do this, and selective breeding is required when preventing hip dysplasia and other debilitating conditions, I am concerned with the negative results based purely on the aesthetics of the dogs in this type of practice. I have recently seen some articles on the problems of the wrinkle dogs, known as Shar Pei, needing corrective surgery to raise the folds over their eyes in order for them to see properly.

Nature determines traits that are beneficial e.g. body shape, eye colour etc. to be passed on in a survival of the fittest natural selection. However, inbreeding is used in order to produce puppies with a desired trait especially in appearance which increases the chances of genetic defect, for example deafness and heart problems and many more genetic defects. When choosing a puppy from a breeder always ask to see the parents and papers and veterinary certificates given to say that the parents have been checked for common hereditary defects.

Never go to a puppy mill as they are commercial dog-breeding facilities that are only interested in profit and not the health and welfare of the dogs.

So we have ticked all the boxes, think again, how are the puppies being socialized during their eight-week period at the breeders? Have I researched the breed and am I a good fit for my puppy? All puppies are cute little bundles but what happens if it grows into a large energetic dog, or has to be groomed frequently. If you cannot meet your puppy and adult dog’s needs, you may encounter some behavioural problems. For example, most gun dogs are couch potatoes in the home but have boundless energy outside and need plenty of exercise, can you meet their needs? This is why so many dogs end up in shelters when their owners cannot cope or are just not liking a huge dog trying to receive his emotional needs from his owner. Dogs feel emotions and give endless love so think before you choose that cute little puppy that could grow to be a giant, or is destructive because you cannot meet his essential requirements.

In 1965 Professor Brambell was asked to investigate how animals are farmed. This was the most comprehensive study in defining the basic needs of animals and as a result of his investigation brambell made recommendations on how farm animals should be kept. He recommended “Five Freedoms “and although made initially for farm animals can apply to all animals and can help us assess if we are meeting the fundamental needs of our animals.

Brambells Five Freedoms

1. Freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition

2. Freedom from discomfort due to environment

3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species

5. Freedom from fear and distress

Caroline Thomas


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Sep 11, 2023

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