A national campaign to improve the health and welfare of flat-faced dog breeds like bulldogs and pugs is being supported by Basildon Council.
The council’s Animal Control team is encouraging other local authorities to follow in its support for the British Veterinary Association’s #BreedtoBreathe campaign.
Flat faced dogs, known as brachycephalic dogs, are being used more frequently on social media and marketing in recent years, driving a demand for them as pets.
Basildon Council’s animal control officer and co-chair for the Essex Animal Welfare Forum and Essex Canine Partnership Sarah Moran said: “Bad breeding practices in dogs, cats and rabbits result in poor welfare and result in suffering to animals.
“Flat faced breed dogs including the popular French bulldog and British bulldogs, cats such as Persian, Scottish Folds and even Rabbit breeds, namely the Netherland Dwarf and Lion Head are all being bred to have flatter faces and larger eyes. These types of pets have increased in popularity exponentially over the years, and more so during the pandemic, not helped by promotion from celebrities, social media and advertising.
“Although these types of breeds appeal to a lot of people, with their endearing personalities, big eyes and squashed faces, the reality is, most, but not all will suffer with some of, but not limited to, difficulty breathing, skin issues, eye disease and dental problems.”
Chairman of the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, Councillor David Harrison added: “These breeds are popular and it is easy to see why with the growing influence social media, celebrity and marketing has but please think twice before buying one of these breeds. We need to make this kind of cruel breeding less profitable and raise awareness of the risks involved.”
BVA Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos added: “These hereditary problems are distressing for the animals and can be costly for the owners to treat. Our advice to anyone looking for a dog is to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead and to always use the free Puppy Contract to ensure you are getting a healthy, happy puppy from a responsible source.”
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) have been leading the fight to highlight the serious problems these breeds suffer with their #BreedtoBreathe campaign https://www.bva.co.uk/take-action/breed-to-breathe-campaign/