The RSPCA has finally decided that breeding animals for their looks, rather than their health or welfare is cruel and morally unjustifiable, and has accordingly withdrawn its support for Crufts.
Its new position on the issue follows a BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed which highlighted the medical problems faced by a number of breeds. These included the Cavalier King Charles spaniel which commonly has heart problems and an agonising condition caused by its skull being too small for its brain. Also suffering heart problems is the boxer which additionally has a very high rate of cancer, particularly brain tumours. Bulldogs, reportedly cannot mate without help, or give birth naturally and Bassett hounds, bred for long ears, a very low-slung belly and skin folds on legs often suffer arthritis.
The RSPCA, which has supported Crufts for the last four years now says that this “intentional breeding of deformed and disabled dogs” has to stop and that shows such as Crufts are “fundamentally flawed”.
Crufts organisers, the Kennel Club say the documentary was “highly biased” and are threatening to “review” their exclusive multi-million pound contract with the BBC as a result, a relationship that the BBC are also reportedly reviewing, despite the 3 million viewers it has attracted every year for 40 years.