What do French bulldogs and Scottish Fold cats have in common? They're adorable, for starters. But unfortunately, both breeds are among the genres of pets that face complex health problems due to what makes them cute—squished noses and folded ears, respectively. Both breeds are also soon to be regulated by the Netherlands government. Minister Piet Adema of Culture, Nature, and Food Quality announced that the government plans to ban dog and cat breeds where their physical traits cause pain and suffering. While the ban is not yet in place, the government warns it is to be expected.
Much is still up in the air about the proposed ban. Clearly, the government is passionate about change, and it is likely to touch both brachycephalic dogs and folded-ear cats. “This subject affects me not only as a Minister but also as a person. We make life miserable for innocent animals purely because we think they are beautiful and cute. That is why today we are taking a big step towards a Netherlands where no pet has to suffer from their appearance,” Adema said, noting that “no pet has to suffer from its appearance.”
The government is still developing a list of physical characteristics and criteria to determine whether an animal is needlessly suffering due to irresponsible breeding. However, it is known that the ban will reach owning, importing, selling, and even promoting these breeds. The latter addresses the “influencer” process which has made breeds like the French bulldog skyrocket in popularity. The Frenchie is known for its breathing issues alongside other health issues. Scottish Folds, adorable cats also popular on Instagram, are named for their folded ears. However, this is due to an inherited cartilage defect that causes the cat joint pain as well as fused joints and malformations.
For those who already own the to-be-banned pets, the critters will be grandfathered in during their lifetime. Adema notes, “These issues [on the specifics of the law] will take time to work out. But we already want to inform people that this is coming, especially people considering bringing a new pet into their home.” Consumers in other countries can take note too. Norway has already banned the breeding of bulldogs because of the extreme health problems that human preferences have led to. Unfortunately, even “ethical” breeders cannot circumvent many of these issues inherent to purebred pets, especially for certain breeds.
Adopting rather than shopping is one way to avoid this ethical conundrum. If you are looking for a new furry friend, check out Petfinder to find a loving, adoptable friend who needs a home.
The Netherlands is planning to ban brachycephalic dogs and fold-ear cats due to the cruel breeding practices which have led to lots of health problems in the breed.
h/t: [NL Times]