British Dog-Breeding Scandal Report: Meet Your Puppy’s Parents

The latest chapter in England’s purebred dog scandal is the Bateson report, which makes drastic but common sense recommendations on how dogs should be bought and sold. It recommends breeders stop inbreeding, breeding for extreme traits and breeding dogs with genetic defects. The aggressive BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed showed all of these, prompting a national scandal. The inquiry also has blame and advice that ordinary dog owners worldwide should follow: if you must buy a pedigree puppy, insist on seeing its mother.

The report and reforms, some already underway, are a direct result of the fantastic documentary. But there is plenty of responsibility for dog owners, too, who can’t even be bothered to figure out which breed fits their situation and where it comes from. “[I]f everybody refused to buy a puppy until they had seen its mother and satisfied themselves that the conditions under which it was reared were safe, healthy and provided a life worth living for parent and puppy,” writes Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, “if everybody took the sensible step of finding the breed that would best suit their family and their living conditions, then poor breeders would be out of business and far fewer dogs would require re-homing.”

In addition to genetic defects, these places often pass on bad hygeine and socialization. He mentions one Irish “puppy farm,” the Britishism for puppy mill, that produced 5,000 puppies a year. Who would want a dog born out of that misery?

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