Dogs Trust has commended the BBC for further highlighting the health and welfare problems affecting pedigree dogs, but claims there is still “extensive work to be done” to protect their future health.

Dogs Trust has commended the BBC for further highlighting the health and welfare problems affecting pedigree dogs, but claims there is still “extensive work to be done” to protect their future health.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years OnThe praise comes in response to the broadcast of Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On, which aired on BBC Four last night (February 27).

The 60 minute documentary is a follow-up to the 2008 documentary that lifted the lid on health and welfare problems faced by pedigree dogs in the UK.

Now, three years on, producer Jemima Harrison (left) returns to explore what has happened since she made the original film – looking at the positive changes that have been introduced and investigating areas of continuing concern, particularly among breeds like the pug, the bulldog and the cavalier King Charles spaniel.

However, Dogs Trust feels that there is still extensive work to be done to protect the future health of pedigree dogs. Most importantly, the charity says it is vital to establish and collate sufficient data on the prevalence of hereditary diseases in dogs to determine the scale of the problem and what needs to be done on a breed by breed basis.

The veterinary profession has its part to play in better surveillance and reporting of genetic problems, the charity claims.

Dogs Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin said: “While some headway has been made by breeders and The Kennel Club to put beauty on the back burner and review breed standards to prioritise the health and welfare of our dogs, there is still a lot to be achieved.”

Dogs Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin OBEMrs Baldwin said Dogs Trust would like to see:

  • A further review of breed standards to ensure that they are firmly focused on the health and wellbeing of the dog and for breeders and show judges to adhere to these revised breed standards.
  • The introduction of legislation to help prevent inappropriate breeding practices, particularly the intentional inbreeding of closely related dogs or those with known debilitating genetic illnesses.

Mrs Baldwin OBE said: “We are pleased that this documentary has drawn attention to the unscrupulous breeders who fall under the radar of regulation and churn out puppies for profit with little or no regard for their welfare or the breeding bitches left behind to continue the cycle. Dogs Trust has long been calling on the government to strengthen the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act to tackle this issue.

We urgently need to see the full force of the law applied to breeders who allow their breeding stock to continue to have litters when scientific knowledge has determined that their stock is unhealthy.”

She added: “There needs to be more investment in education, not only for breeders but, crucially for prospective puppy buyers to understand how to buy a dog responsibly and the questions they need to ask of breeders to help secure the future health of our dogs.”

 

  • Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On is available to view on BBC iPlayer until March 5, 2012.
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