Breeding designer pets could effectively be outlawed in Scotland this year, as new, tighter licensing regulations are set to come into force. The Scottish Government plans to tighten the licensing of dog, cat, and rabbit breeding in the country, to crack down on keeping animals in poor conditions before selling them on.
It comes after a consultation between stakeholders last September to November, with the Minister for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon, saying responses will be published at the end of the month with the “hope to introduce legislation later this year.”
Higher demand for pets with certain physical features
Part of the new approach would involve stopping harmful breeding practices where pets are more likely to suffer from certain genetic conditions, which often lead to health problems in later life.
In recent years, there has been a growth in demand for pets with particular physical features such as short noses, protruding eyes and long ears.
This has incentivised breeding for extreme characteristics in some cases, but it heightens the risk of harmful genetic conditions and can seriously affect the future health and wellbeing of the animal.
It can also place unexpected financial strain on the owner as many of those pets will need on-going and costly veterinary care.
Animals which could be affected by the move include the Scottish fold cat, which has a genetic defect preventing it from forming cartilage, the absence of which causes long term arthritis, as well as the munchkin cat which has disproportionately short legs and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which can be bred to have an unnaturally small skull that compresses the brain.
French and English Bulldogs and pugs could also be affected, as they have significant breathing problems caused by narrow, constricted airways, pinched nostrils and shortened, squat necks, exacerbated by obesity which is common in all breeds.
Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “The Scottish SPCA believes that all animals should be bred to enjoy a normal life and be able to freely express normal behaviours, which includes being free from pain.”
While giving evidence to the the Public Petitions committee of the Scottish Parliament in May last year, Mark Rafferty, chief inspector in the special investigations unit of the SSPCA, referred to an: “…unquenchable appetite among the public for some particular breeds of dog, that are defined as either new breeds or designer breeds.”
Source: i News
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