The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has announced its support of a position paper launched in June 2018 by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA).
The paper, a response to the explosion in popularity of breeds with exaggerated traits, genetic disorders, and those with extreme brachycephalic conformation, such as French and English bulldogs and pugs, calls for health and welfare to be given priority over looks and offers detailed recommendations to address increased demand for and supply of these dogs.
Measures to reduce demand, supply
- Address demand for brachycephalic and other affected breeds through educating owners about the health issues they face
- Work with influencers to encourage owners to choose a healthy, high-welfare dog suitable for their lifestyle
- Introduce the mandatory registration of breeders, prebreeding screening programs, and the sharing of data on conformation-altering surgeries and caesarean sections
- Educate stakeholders and revising breeding standards and practices to put the health and welfare of dogs first
In addition, FVE and FECAVA have produced an infographic that explains the causes and consequences of extreme breeding and lists a number of recommendations.
“Extreme breeding is a global concern with our members seeing the results of brachycephalic conformation in practice on a regular basis. The suffering it causes is beyond dispute,” said Walt Ingwersen, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, president of WSAVA.
“Following detailed review by our Hereditary Disease Committee, our Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee, and the WSAVA Executive Board, we are delighted to endorse the joint FVE/FECAVA Position Paper and congratulate both associations on highlighting the issue and setting out a clear strategy to tackle it,” said Dr. Ingwersen. “It builds on momentum established by the Brachycephalic Working Group, an initiative that brings together all of the major stakeholders in dog welfare in the U.K. to improve the welfare of brachycephalic dogs.
“Lasting change requires commitment and collaboration between veterinarians, breeder associations and other stakeholders on a global basis,” he continued. “We are ready to play our part and look forward to working with our colleagues in the FVE and FECAVA and our member associations to deliver on the recommendations made in the Position Paper.”