WSAVA Endorses Position Paper Promoting Healthy Breeding

August 2, 2018
Kerry Lengyel

The position paper highlights the risk of excessive breeding in dogs and sets out a clear strategy to tackle this important health and welfare issue.

It is well known among veterinary professionals that selective breeding has a negative effect on the health and welfare of dogs. Now the warning has been reiterated in a position paper released in June by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA).

In a show of support, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has endorsed this position paper, echoing the warning to animal breeders everywhere.

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“Extreme breeding is a global concern with our members seeing the results of brachycephalic conformation in practice on a regular basis,” said WSAVA President Walt Ingwersen, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM. “The suffering it causes is beyond dispute.”

The paper was launched in response to the increasing popularity of dog breeds with exaggerated traits, especially brachycephalic breeds such as French and English bulldogs and pugs, which can suffer severe health and welfare issues as a result of unhealthy breeding habits.

Highlighting concerns about the impact of extreme breeding in dogs, the paper points to 2 fields that need to be targeted to improve the current situation—the demand and the supply—and recommends a few ways to tackle both.

Consumer Demand

  • Raising awareness and educating the public about certain dog breeds that will likely suffer severe health and welfare issues
  • Forming campaigns and relationships with media and celebrities to showcase the risks of excessive breeding

Breeder Supply

  • Revising breeding standards and not leaving these standards open to interpretation
  • Mandating the registration of all breeders
  • Requiring data sharing on conformation-altering surgeries and caesarean sections for dogs
  • Creating pre-breeding screening programs for dogs
  • Educating breeders and raising awareness of best breeding practices

“Lasting change requires commitment and collaboration between veterinarians, breeder associations, and other stakeholders on a global basis,” Dr. Ingwersen said. “We are ready to play our part and look forward to working with our colleagues in the FVE and FECAVA and our member associations to deliver on the recommendations made in the position paper.”