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Can The Bulldog Be Saved?


At the time of my visit, though, Seiler was less concerned with people trying to take Uga than he was with people trying to change him. In January 2009, Adam Goldfarb of the Humane Society of the United States told The Augusta Chronicle that bulldogs, often referred to as English bulldogs, are the “poster child for breeding gone awry.” The article came in response to a scathing British documentary, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” that highlighted the health and welfare problems of purebred dogs and claimed that breeders and the Kennel Club (the British equivalent of the American Kennel Club) were in denial about the extent of the problem.

Broadcast on the BBC, “Exposed” spawned three independent reports into purebred breeding, each finding that some modern breeding practices — including inbreeding and breeding for “extreme traits,” like the massive and short-faced head of the bulldog — are detrimental to the health and welfare of dogs. Bulldogs were noted in all three reports as a breed in need of an intervention, with one going so far as to question whether it is ethically defensible to continue breeding them at all.

“There is little doubt that the anatomy of the English bulldog has considerable capacity to cause suffering,” Dr. Nicola Rooney and Dr. David Sargan concluded in one of the reports, “Pedigree Dog Breeding in the U.K.: A Major Welfare Concern?” “The breed is noted to have locomotion difficulties, breathing problems, an inability to mate or give birth without assistance. . . . Many would question whether the breed’s quality of life is so compromised that its breeding should be banned.”

In the United States, some veterinarians, breeders and animal-welfare experts are beginning to wonder the same thing. Last spring, the Humane Society organized its first conference on the topic of purebred-dog health and welfare. The society’s chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, told me the conference signaled the beginning of a new era for his organization, which until recently has been focused on what he calls “more obvious” forms of animal cruelty. “Inbreeding and other reckless breeding practices may not be as bloody as dogfighting or as painful to look at as puppy mills, but they may ultimately cause even more harm to the well-being of dogs,” he said.

Though a number of breeds were discussed at the conference (including the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, which is beset with severe heart and neurological diseases), the bulldog stole the show. “It is the most extreme example of genetic manipulation in the dog-breeding world that results in congenital and hereditary problems,” Pacelle said.
And how do the breeders and owners respond?


FUCK ALLA YOU'ALL, you malignant assholes! You don't get to breed a dog for aesthetics at the expense of their fucking HEALTH...GRRRRR WHY AM I EVEN SURPRISED AT THIS SHIT?!?!?!?!?

OH MY GOD WHAT:

I asked Sawchuk what attracted her to a breed with so many health issues. She told me the same thing I heard from other bulldog lovers. “They have goofy and lovable personalities that are incredibly endearing,” she said. But she took it a step further, arguing that the breed brings out a particularly strong parenting instinct in many people. “Even as adults, bulldogs look almost infantile — like plump little babies,” she told me in a hospital waiting room as Vanna WhiteTrash rolled on her back offering her belly.“Their flattened faces definitely make them look more human, and I think people probably respond to that in ways they aren’t aware of.”

That echoed something I heard from James Serpell, the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Serpell says that our human tendency toward anthropomorphic selection — which he defines as “selection in favor of physical and behavioral traits that facilitate the attribution of human mental states to animals” — is partly responsible for the modern bulldog’s predicament. He argues that we’ve bred dogs like the bulldog (and other short-faced “brachycephalic” breeds, including the pug and the French bulldog) to play up the cute effect.

“We have, to some extent, accentuated physical characteristics of the breed to make it look more human, although essentially more like caricatures of humans, and specifically of children,” he told me. “We’ve bred bulldogs for their flat face, big eyes, huge mouth in relation to head size and huge smiling face.” (Advertisers and animators have long recognized that giving an animal big eyes and a big head is a surefire way to endear it to humans. When Walt Disney created Bambi, the studio wanted the character to be an accurate depiction of a deer. But when the original Bambi sketches were deemed not “cute” enough, Disney shortened Bambi’s muzzle and made his head and eyes bigger.)

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WHAT. THE. FUCKKKKK??????? Humanity? We need to get the fuck over ourselves!
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