Monday, 19 December 2011

Bred for looks, born to suffer: pedigree dog health and welfare

Imagine what a wolf looks like. Now conjure up an image of a pug. Very different, aren’t they?

The pug, like every dog, is descended from the wolf.

I think we’re so used to seeing the many breeds of dog available today that we just accept the problems they suffer due to their short legs, long backs, large heads, or other exaggerated feature.

But if you compare these dogs to their ancestors it’s obvious that nature didn’t mean them to have the flattened faces and wrinkled skin that for some reason we humans find so endearing.

We shouldn't be allowing this to happen.

Dogs have been bred for the way they look over many centuries and lots of them – and in particular pedigree dogs – are now vulnerable to unnecessary disease, disability, pain and behavioural problems.

The RSPCA has launched a new campaign, Bred for looks, born to suffer, in order to raise awareness of the issue.

TV presenter and dog trainer from the hit TV show It’s Me or the Dog Victoria Stilwell agrees that dogs shouldn’t be bred solely for the way they look and has recorded a message of support for the RSPCA’s campaign.

We've also created a new hard-hitting press ad:


I think this says it all.

To add your voice to the campaign, please sign up at

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dog legislation: a hot topic

In the world of animal welfare, dog legislation is one of the hottest and most controversial topics.

The RSPCA takes every opportunity to improve the welfare of dogs, and in recent years we have aired our views about the current failing legislation - often receiving plenty of criticism for it along the way.

What a lot of people fail to recognise is the level of expertise and experience within the RSPCA, from scientists to political lobbyists to inspectors out in the field. Our decisions are made with what we believe ultimately is in the best interests of animal welfare, and are based on scientific evidence and practical experience.

One thing that many organisations agree on is that the current law isn’t working. It isn’t working in terms of public protection, it isn’t working to stem anti-social behaviour and importantly from our point of view, and it isn’t working for the dogs themselves, who are as much the victims of irresponsible ownership as anyone.

That’s the reason why the RSPCA along with 19 other organisations, ranging from fellow animal welfare charities to workers’ unions, have launched a new petition calling on the Government to make good on its pledge to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.

More than 5,300 people have signed up since it was launched less than two weeks ago. If you too would like to see dog legislation change, please sign up.

Andy Robbins, senior RSPCA press officer