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Racial Purity and Deformed Mutants

How many of you own a pedigree dog? A Cocker Spaniel, a Husky, a Dalmatian? Or for the ladies amongst you, a Chihuahua? I guess you feel pretty proud of yourself, with your pure breed canine - no ugly mongrel for you, right? Well, this might come as a shock, but what you really have there is a deformed, disease-prone mutant with a life of suffering ahead of it: and it's your fault. The BBC has exposed the dark underbelly of pedigree dog breeding and the horrific consequences of decades of inbreeding. Three quarters of the dogs in the UK are thought to be pedigree and there are some two hundred different breeds - each with their own set of problems. Labradors are beset with joint and eye problems. Golden Retrievers face an alarmingly high rate of cancer, whilst Boxers suffer brain tumours and a rate of epilepsy twenty times that of humans. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have tiny holes in their skins that form direct channels to bone, tissue and organs. Bulldogs can't breed or give birth without human intervention. Cavalier Spaniels are plagued by brains that are too big for their skulls. In human beings, it's generally accepted that reproduction between mothers and sons, and brothers and sisters, et cetera, is a bad idea. But for some reason the practice has been encouraged - indeed, enforced - in canines. The result is that pedigree dogs have only 10% of the genes they had forty years ago. There's around 10,000 Pugs in the UK, yet amongst those 10,000 dogs, there's the equivalent gene pool of only 50 individuals. The faces of Pugs are now so flat that the animal damages its eyes when it bumps into things. It wasn't me describing pedigree dogs as deformed, disease-prone mutants. That's the opinion of the RSPCA's (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Chief Vet: "What I see in front of me is a parade of mutants. It's some freakish, garish beauty pageant that has nothing to do with health and welfare." He's talking about the glamorous world of dog shows, and Crufts in particular. Crufts is described as the world's greatest dog show, and is organised by the Kennel Club. The Kennel Club publishes the Breed Standards, which breeders follow religiously; the Breed Standards dictate the qualities dogs must display in order to win at Crufts. These qualities are purely cosmetic - Boxers must have "massive" heads, Pugs curled tails, sausage dogs short legs - and dogs are bred for these qualities alone, with no regard for their quality of life or long term health. Just look at the footage of German Shepherds at Crufts, unable to walk properly because their hind legs are so ludicrously short in comparison to their front legs. In the UK, £10 million a week is spent by pedigree dog owners on vet fees. It costs half as much to insure the health of a mongrel as it does that of a pedigree dog: that's because mongrels live longer and have considerably fewer health problems. Here's something else to ponder on: Crufts was born out of Eugenics, the doctrine that sought to genetically improve mankind by breeding the best with the best. Mixing of the races was strictly forbidden (James Earl Hardy would approve) so the human race could be purged of undesirable traits. The movement found its ultimate champion in Adolf Hitler. You can still see the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, here. If the footage of Boxers having epileptic fits doesn't sicken you, nothing will.

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