emmelinemay: (Default)
I watched this documentary last night on the iPlayer.

I would highly recommend it, with the caveat that it is pretty distressing in places if you love dogs.

Pedigree breeders and show-dog owners it appears, don't love dogs. It's the only explanation as to how they can with clear conscience put the poor creatures through what they put them through.

It's up on the iplayer now, and it's worth a watch if only for the feeling of sheer disbelief at the two pompous old windbags who run the kennel club (they can't be real people. They are extras from an Agatha Christie novel, they have to be) and the arrogance of the breeders who disregard all scientific evidence - 'what do the scientists know? I've been breeding dogs for FIFTY YEARS you know.' claiming that it is 'emotional rubbish' and that there is no scientific or medical evidence that proves in-breeding is harmful, or that the breed standards are damaging.

It's basically eugenics with dogs, which would *almost* be ok if it was about breeding fit and healthy dogs, but it's not, it's about breeding ones that *look* right, and so many of the 'desirable' physical characteristics are so bad for the dog that the very thing they are bred for is what makes them ill. You'd think that the fact that pure bred bulldogs can no longer breed without assistance would be a clue, but apparently not.

I was shocked to find out that the Rhodesian Ridgeback are actually healthy when born *without* the ridge, as the 'ridge' is a mild form of Spina-biffida. This means that breeders are deliberately breeding damaged dogs, and putting down perfectly healthy puppies. If they're not put down, they're neutered, so that the non-ridged ones can't breed.

Highly in-bred King Charles Spaniels can have this horrible condition called syringomyelia, which is caused by, put simply, their brains being too big for their heads. It causes horrendous pain, fits, paralysis. This is because small heads are part of the breed standard. Dogs have won best of breed who have this condition. There are no laws or guidelines to prevent dogs with syringomyelia being bred, which means it's getting worse and worse. You can't cure it, but you can have an MRI scan to find out if your dog has it. But few hardcore breeders will have the scans, because even if the dog DID have it, it won't stop them breeding. One woman in the programme says flatly 'I'll never have MY dogs have an MRI', as if it's something to be proud of.

I'm sorry, WHY? If you love dogs, WHY THE HELL would you not get them checked for a horribly painful crippling disease which ultimately means you have to either have your dog put down or have a hole opened in its skull to ease the pressure? WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WOULD YOU DO THIS THING?

The answer? Because that is what the breed standard says they are meant to look like.

They showed pictures of dog breeds at the turn of the century, and how skull and spine shapes have changed in 100 years. It's incredible that in just 100 years selective and manipulate breeding have changed some breeds almost beyond recognition. They showed a breeder a picture of a basset hound from 100 years ago, to show him how much the breed had changed, and his response was 'that dog isn't a basset hound'. It wouldn't win a dog show prize, it wouldn't meet the 'breed standard', and so it isn't a basset hound. Regardless of that fact that the picture is of a real working dog, the way they once looked, it doesn't *look right* and so it *isn't* right. Another example is the German Shepard. Those used as police dogs still look pretty much the same as 100 years ago. The german shepard show dogs look very different, with a downwards sloping spine and such bowed back legs that the poor things can barely walk. And yet these are the ones that are being bred, and touted as 'right'.

According to the programme, genetically, something like 200 of the 'pure breeds' that exist now are so different DNA wise to the same breed 100 years ago that the breed is technically endangered!! That's crazy! and all because of 'beauty'.

It was suggested that the Kennel Club should change the breed standards, so that we can try to repair the damage done so far, but as one contributor points out, if they did that and the breeders disagreed, then the breeders would just leave and set up their own breed standards and the kennel club would collapse.

The desire for things to be 'beautiful' over 'functional' applies to so many things in life, and that makes me very sad. When we subject these poor beautiful creatures to our desire for things to be 'right' and to 'fit', it makes me furious.

If you do watch it, sit a good distance from the screen to avoid breaking it when you try to punch people through it.
emmelinemay: (Bloody 'ell - Marsha)

High heels for babies aged 0-6 months.

That's so wrong, it has gone right off my wrong-o-meter.


emmelinemay: (Default)

February 2015



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