Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Britain's pedigree dogs plagued by disease

A documentary, "Pedigree Dogs Exposed," will be shown on BBC One at 2100 BST on Tuesday 19 August.

The BBC documentary says an investigation has found that pedigree dogs are suffering from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding. The program shows a prize-winning cavalier King Charles spaniel suffering from syringomyelia, a condition which occurs when a dog's skull is too small for its brain.

The study also features boxers suffering from epilepsy, pugs with breathing problems and bulldogs who are unable to mate or give birth unassisted. It says deliberate mating of dogs which are close relatives is common practice and the Kennel Club registers dogs bred from mother-to-son and brother-to-sister matings.

In a related story, the MailOnline reports that the BBC could stop showing the Crufts dog show after the documentary exposed the diseases and deformities suffered by many of Britain's 5 million pedigree dogs.

Mark Evans, the RSPCA's chief vet, said: 'When I watch Crufts, what I see is a parade of mutants. It's some freakish, garish beauty pageant that has nothing, frankly, to do with health and welfare. We've become completely and utterly desensitised to the fact that breeding these deformed, disabled, disease-prone animals is either shocking or abnormal.'

Eamon Hardy, the documentary's executive producer, said: 'In light of this programme, the BBC will request a meeting with the Kennel Club to discuss the implications and potential impact of the film.'

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