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Charity pulls out of dog show.

THE RSPCA has announced that it was pulling out of Crufts over concerns about the welfare of pedigree dogs at the event, which is staged at the National Exhibition Centre.

The leading animal charity said it had suspended plans to staff a stand at the world famous dog show in March 2009, as it has done in the past.

The RSPCA is calling for new measures to tackle disability, deformity and disease among pedigree breeds, following a television documentary which revealed the breeding process of such dogs resulted in a high level of genetic illness.

The BBC programme said the unhealthy, often inbred, dogs were still able to compete in dog shows and had gone on to win "best in breed".

The RSPCA said it had become increasingly concerned about the situation in the wake of the documentary, which showed a prize-winning Cavalier King Charles spaniel with syringomyelia - a condition which occurs when a dog's skull is too small for its brain.

The programme also featured boxers suffering from epilepsy, pugs which had breathing problems and bulldogs which were unable to mate or give birth unassisted.

Yesterday the RSPCA's chief veterinary adviser Mark Evans called for a shift in emphasis away from the looks of show dogs towards their health, welfare and temperament.

"Dog shows using current breed standards as the main judging criteria actively encourage both the intentional breeding of deformed and disabled dogs and the inbreeding of closely related animals.

"There is compelling scientific evidence that the health and welfare of hundreds of thousands of pedigree dogs is seriously compromised as a result."

Crufts organisers the Kennel Club said dog shows gave organisations a "great opportunity" to educate the public about the importance of health and welfare.

Spokeswoman Caroline Kisko said the club invested a great deal of time, money and care into health of pedigree dogs."

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PEDIGREE POOCH... a British bulldog.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 16, 2008
Words:316
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