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Vets react to extreme breeding in horses
El Rey Magnum (not pictured) is a nine-month-old colt bred by Orrion Farms.

Arabian show horse at risk of breathing problems 

UK vets have expressed their horror at images of an Arabian horse that has been bred to achieve an extreme concave or ‘dished’ profile.

Speaking to Veterinary Record, UK equine expert Tim Greet said: “I wondered at first whether this was a 'photoshop' joke, but clearly it is intended to be deadly serious - which of course is what it is - truly horrific! Arabians have always had a rather “dished” face but this takes things to a ridiculous level.”

The horse, El Rey Magnum, is a nine-month-old colt bred by Orrion Farms - a specialist Arabian breeding farm in Washington, USA. Valued by his owners at several millions of dollars, he was launched earlier this month in a promotional video that appears to have been removed from the farm's website.

Doug Leadley, primary breeding advisor for Orrion, said: “There is never perfection but I think this horse is a stepping stone to perfection…he is very proud of himself, he has exceptional tail carriage. He loves to move and he sure appears to be show-healthy, bouncy and fast.”

News of El Rey sparked interest from horse breeders and trainers across the world. However, reaction on social media has been mixed, with some declaring the horse beautiful and others shocked and appalled.

Jonathan Pycock, equine reproduction expert and president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, said the horse represented a radical variation on what was normal. He stated the head shape with a dipped nose "served no functional purpose and could put the horse at risk of breathing problems".

Roly Owers, equine vet and chief executive of World Horse Welfare, also commented: “This appears to be breeding in a weakness that could severely affect future generations - and if there is not a restriction to the airway in this particular animal already then there will be in future generations.”

Animal welfare and ethics expert Madeleine Campbell said: “Whilst it is impossible to comment on an individual animal based on photographic evidence, as a general principle any trend towards breeding for extremes of form which might adversely affect normal function must be condemned, on welfare grounds.

“This would apply equally to head shape which might compromise the ability to breathe or eat normally or, for example, to extremes of animal size which might compromise the ability to give birth normally.”

Vets in the USA have identified El Rey as an example of an extreme breed. However, one vet confirmed the horse had no medical issues or respiratory issues.

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Amur leopard cubs caught on camera

News Story 1
 A pair of Amur leopards have been captured on camera for the first time since their birth. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the birth in July, but with human presence being kept to a minimum, it was not known how many cubs had been born.

Motion sensitive cameras have now revealed that two cubs emerged from the den - at least one of which may be released into the wild in Russia within the next two or three years. The Amur leopard habitat is not open to the public, to help ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour. Image © RZSS 

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News Shorts
New canine and feline dentistry manual announced

A new canine and feline dentistry and oral surgery manual has been published by the BSAVA. Announcing the news on its website, the BSAVA said this latest edition contains new step-by-step operative techniques, together with full-colour illustrations and photographs.

‘This is a timely publication; veterinary dentistry is a field that continues to grow in importance for the general veterinary practitioner,’ the BSAVA said. ‘The manual has been fully revised and updated to include the most relevant, evidence-based techniques.’

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th edition is available to purchase from www.bsava.com/shop