Although the BBC used to show highlights from the world-famous Crufts dog show, the corporation no longer does so following a BBC documentary a little over two years ago that suggested that in many breeds of dog not only was in-breeding common but that cosmetic and other features that impaired or were dangerous to the animals’ health were being encouraged and selected for by breeders as they were judged as desirable characteristics at dog shows. There was no evidence that the practice was universal across all breeds of dog, but some breeds, such as bulldogs, have been particularly badly affected. Areas of concern in a variety of breeds include the ability of a dog to hold up its neck or to breathe properly, heart disease and absence of sufficient cooling mechanisms within the body. The documentary produced evidence suggesting that the veterinary profession was aware of the problems but could do little in the absence of legislation to improve the situation.
Can the Commission indicate the extent of the Union’s competence in this area, and whether, if it does possess competence, it will approach the BBC and the relevant appropriate veterinary bodies within the Union to seek evidence of harmful breeding practices that may win prizes at dog shows but may cause severe suffering to the animals themselves?