As the Netherlands is looking to ban flat-faced dog breeds, a debate has erupted about the ethics around buying dogs like pugs and French bulldogs.
Capital FM presenter and proud ‘dog mum’ Aimee Vivian appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain with her pug Eva to discuss the issue.
The ‘pug advocate’ told the panel that while she is ‘100 per cent’ against a ban on the beloved breed, she would think twice about buying one again due to their health issues.
‘[Eva] is nine years old and I would like to say that if I was going to buy a dog now, would I get a flat-faced breed? No, because I’m a lot more educated about it.
‘In the nine years since I got her, the breeding has got worse and worse, which is why I’m saying… legislation needs to be brought in, more harsher punishments.’
Fortunately, Aimee said, her pet has had no health problems because she keeps her ‘trim’, with pugs a ‘notoriously greedy’ breed.
But there was an awkward moment in the show when PETA spokeswoman, Jennifer White, explained that Eva was not as healthy as her owner might think.
Expressing concern about Eva’s breathing, Jennifer said: ‘Even if you hear her when she walks, that noise that rattling, snorting, people brush that off as cute but is them struggling, gasping for breath.’
Capital FM presenter and proud ‘dog mum’ Aimee Vivian (pictured) appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain with her pug Eva to discuss the debate around banning flat-faced breeds
PETA spokeswoman, Jennifer White, called for a complete ban on the breeding of pugs, and blamed Crufts for their growing popularity
As she was speaking, what appeared to be a mic near Eva was turned up so the animal’s raspy breathing could be heard by viewers.
Calling for a complete ban on the pets, the animal campaigner said: ‘These dogs just live miserable lives because they are deliberately bred to have these deformities, these flatter faces.
‘For French bulldogs, breathing through their nose is like breathing through a straw the whole time.
‘It’s not about responsible breeding, frankly that just doesn’t exist in this situation when these animals are just so incredibly unwell and they’re being born to suffer.’
There was an awkward moment in the show when PETA spokeswoman, Jennifer White, explained that Eva was not as healthy as her owner might think
Arguing against a ban on pugs, Aimee said: ‘They have amazing personalities and we have caused the problems as humans with designer breeding over a hundred years.
She suggested another solution to a full-on ban, saying: ‘If we could get back to a healthier version of a pug then surely that’s better than just making the whole breed extinct?’
‘As humans, we need to start educating ourselves, our rights, our wrongs, and if we can’t accept responsibility for what we did wrong by breeding them and making them flatter-faced then we’re never going to learn from that.’
French bulldogs, another flat-faced breed, have had their origins traced back to the 1800s.
‘Pug advocate’ Aimee told the panel that while she is ‘100 per cent’ against a ban on the beloved breed, she would think twice about buying one again
But the rising popularity of the breed, and a growing penchant for it to have a flatter face, has led to selective breeding which has made it more difficult to breathe.
Jennifer laid the blame for this dangerous trend with dog shows and celebrities, calling for a ban on Crufts for promoting selective breeding practices.
‘A lot of it comes down to the Kennel Club, and Crufts obviously promote these certain breeds.
‘Because they have been selectively bred to have these exaggerated features. And of course, celebrities start buying them, influencers start buying them, they are promoted on social media.’
‘We should ban Crufts, we should bring in legislation that would prevent people from being allowed to breed these animals, we should make sure that all pugs right now are spade and neutered so that they can’t breed anymore. We can all make a choice now.’
The Good Morning Britain panel, which included leading veterinary expert Dr Dan O’Neill, discussed plans in the Netherlands to ban flat-faced dogs’ breeding and promotion on social media
Dr Dan O’Neill, a breeding expert from the Royal Veterinary College, waded in saying: ‘The whole story about social media is much more nuanced than that.
‘It’s not just about Crufts and the Kennel Club, it’s about us a s humans, we just love the look of these dogs, but what we’re not doing is putting ourselves in the position of the dog loving life, living as a flat-faced dog, living as a dog with no tail, a dog with a shortened spine, all the skin folds.’
He added that thanks to campaign groups like the Brachycephalic, or flat-faced dog, Working Group, awareness is being raised about the little dogs’ plight.
He said that despite not having a full-on ban in the UK, ‘a lot of the stuff in the Netherlands we already do in the UK… we’re trying to work with people’.
The Kennel Club has been contacted for comment.