Pedigree dogs are ‘suffering from genetic diseases’, according to a BBC investigation, ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’. The BBC says it is now considering its coverage of next year’s Crufts following the investigation.
Pedigree dogs suffer because looks are emphasised over health, according to the BBC. The Kennel Club has responded by saying it works ‘tirelessly’ to improve the health of pedigree dogs.
Ronnie Irving, chairman of The Kennel Club, which organises Crufts, has set up a Dog Genetic Health website.
Mr Irving said in a statement: ‘Members of the production company seemed to have pre-conceived and extremely biased views on the subject. Alarm bells rang when we found out the biased nature of many of the questions being posed both to ourselves and to others.
‘… [The Kennel Club] have of course acknowledged that there are problems in some breeds, many of which originally stem back to the Victorian era, but we have stressed that we are today in the forefront of using science to address these issues.
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‘… Finally, we have been at pains to remind the BBC of the requirements in its Charter to be rigorously impartial and balanced in its reporting.’
The BBC investigation, however, says that its programme shows prize-winning King Charles spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxers suffering from epilepsy.
RSPCA chief vet Mark Evans was interviewed for the programme, and said: ‘The welfare and quality of life of many pedigree dogs is seriously compromised by established breeding practices for appearance, driven primarily by the rules and requirements of competitive dog showing and pedigree dog registration.’
Pedigree dogs make up 75% of Britain’s dog population, with veterinary bills amounting to £10million each week.
Pedigree Dogs Exposed will be shown on BBC One at 9pm today, and the BBC has said that it may review its coverage of Crufts following the outcome of the programme.