A hard-hitting television documentary about the Crufts dog show has said that major changes are needed in the way pedigree dogs are bred in Britain.
The probe raises welfare concerns over puppy farms, inbreeding and the breeding of animals with physical characteristics which are prized at dog shows but can cause health problems for dogs.
AdvertisementIt was set up after a 2008 BBC documentary about Crufts, Britain's top breeders' show, which said some dogs put on display suffered from genetic diseases after years of inbreeding.
The BBC later dropped Crufts from its schedules. The Kennel Club, which runs the prestigious event, filed a formal complaint over the documentary.
"Many breeders exercise high standards of welfare, but negligent management on puppy farms is a major welfare issue, as is inbreeding in pure-bred dogs," said the report's author, Cambridge University professor Patrick Bateson.
"Fashions for extreme conformations are also a cause of welfare problems."
This is when a dog is bred with specific characteristics which can cause health problems, like flattened snouts linked to breathing problems.
Bateson added: "Widespread concern was expressed about dogs that are farmed and bred for profit, sometimes on a large scale."
The professor's recommendations, following a 10-month inquiry, include compulsory micro-chipping of all puppies, creation of an independent council on dog breeding and beefing up a breeders' accreditation scheme.
His probe was funded by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust but was independent and backed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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