The Regina Humane Society (RHS) is opposed to any selective breeding practices that are likely to compromise the welfare of companion animals. In particular, RHS opposes selection for physical features or behaviours that directly or indirectly result in suffering. Such practices have the potential to affect multiple generations and thus large numbers of animals, and may impinge – with varying severity and duration – on their ability to experience the Five Freedoms. Moreover, animals with known detrimental genetic predispositions should not be bred.
RHS recognizes the value of the relationship between people and their companion animals, and believes these animals should have the best possible chance of experiencing good welfare throughout their lives. Accordingly, RHS believes that breeders of companion animals should prioritize health, temperament and quality of life, and avoid those practices that lead to poor physical and psychological welfare.
As a result of selective breeding, many companion animals experience unacceptably high levels of disability and disease. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- skeleton and joint disorders (e.g. dysplasia of hip joints or elbows; fractures; luxation of elbow or patella; persistent fontanella)
- trachea collapse
- disorders of the vertebral column
- breathing difficulties
- blockage of lachrymal ducts
- disposition to birth difficulties, such as large heads, often resulting in caesarian section
- abnormal position of legs which can cause difficulties in movement and joint degeneration
- small skulls resulting in brain injury
- short respiratory tracts resulting in breathing difficulties
- abnormal positions of teeth, which can cause difficulties in feeding and caring for young
- abnormal size and form of eyes or eyelids (e.g. ectropium; entropium; large, protruding dyes) which can cause irritation, inflammation and degeneration as well as prolapse of eyes
- very long ears, which can be disposed to injuries
- markedly folded skin, which can lead to eczemas and, in the case of furrows around the eyes, irritation and inflammation of eyes
RHS opposes breed standards that require or encourage the destruction of healthy animals simply because of their appearance instead of sterilizing and placing them with responsible owners.
RHS also opposes breed standards that require cosmetic surgeries such as ear cropping and tail docking.
RHS encourages national breed clubs and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and Canadian Cat Association (CCA) to review and revise such standards to fully protect the welfare of animals.