“A pet is not a fashion statement. I see how lost the animal is without its whiskers. Its welfare is really in danger.” – Dutch veterinarian, Frederieke Schouten
The Dutch have a law which makes it illegal to breed animals which are inherently unhealthy. The Germans have the same law.
The Dutch rarely enforce the law because enforcement is dependent on a complaint I am told by the Dutch News.com website.
In this instance, for the first time, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) have issued a warning to a Bambino cat breeder. As I understand it this is tantamount to an order to stop.
The Bambino is a dwarf Sphynx cat; a hairless cat breed just like the Sphynx with short legs. The report does not mention it but dwarf cats can also suffer from lordosis and pectus excavated. These are specific dwarf cat health problems.
The breeder is Cattery van Loottakkers in Gendt. If they don’t stop they’ll be fined 1,500 euros. They have said they will stop and sterilise their breeding cats.
NVWA rely on research by Utrecht University for information about inherently unhealthy cat and dog breeds.
Comment: the policy of banning inherently unhealthy cat and dog breeds is to be praised. As far as I know it is only in place in Europe (excluding the UK). In Germany it is called “Torture Breeding’ – Qualzucht. Germany outlaws a fairly extensive list of anatomical defects and breeds. It is very impressive and I feel sure that Americans would like to adopt this standard. It would be something to aim for.
The UK does not have such laws but the general animal welfare law (Animal Welfare Act 2006) might cover it but I am not sure that it does. Dwarf cats (of which there are many breeds) are not bred in the UK as far as I know. However, the GCCF (the premier cat association in the UK) allow the flat-faced Persian which is inherently unhealthy.
When you think about it, it is common sense to forbid the creation of interesting looking cats and dogs which have built-in health issues. Why create animals like this when there are many rescue animals in shelters?
The idea of pets as fashion accessories is gaining traction as celebrities such as Taylor Swift promote fancy cat breeds such as the Scottish Fold which can inherit severe health issues.