The Dutch government said on Friday it wants to ban the ownership of pets suffering from genetic mutations that give them a “cute” appearance, including flat-nosed dogs.
“When choosing a pet, people often choose traits they find cute, like dogs with short snouts or cats with folded ears,” the Agriculture Department said in a statement.
But “there is scientific evidence that these cats suffer constantly because they have cartilage damage caused by a specific gene,” he notes.
Genetic mutations in particular can lead to respiratory problems or arthritis in the affected animals.
“Their owners have the best of intentions, but are often unaware of the “dark side” of these animals and the suffering they suffer as a result of these characteristics, the ministry continues, pointing out that “for example, dogs with a snout that is too short are constantly out of breath “.
According to recent studies, this is the case with animals like the French and English bulldogs.
“Dogs with an abnormal skull shape can have constant headaches,” Agriculture Minister Piet Adema said in a letter to Parliament on Friday.
“We make life difficult for innocent animals just because we think they’re ‘beautiful’ and ‘cute’,” summarizes Mr. Adema. According to him, the Netherlands will take a “big step” by deciding that “no pet has to suffer because of their looks”.
The list of animals that the government intends to ban from owning has yet to be drawn up. A list of physical characteristics that can be objectively determined to cause lasting suffering is under review, the ministry said.
In the Netherlands it has been banned since 2014 to breed animals that have problems related to their appearance. Since 2019, there have also been rules for breeding short-snouted dogs: dogs whose snout makes up less than half of their skull may no longer be bred.
But there is still an illegal trade in these animals.
Mr. Adema wants a ban on owning animals that suffer from their appearance, as well as the publication of their photos in advertisements or social networks.
However, a ban is followed by a transitional period during which the keepers of an affected animal can keep it until it dies.