Vet and animal welfare campaigner Emma Milne has launched a website calling on policymakers and vets to join the battle against breeding brachycephalic animals.
‘Vets Against Brachycephalism’ aims to show the strength of feeling from vets and scientists that breeding brachycephalic animals on welfare grounds is wrong and should be stopped.
To date, around 900 individuals from 47 countries have signed up to the initiative, with more joining every day. The site is also backed by 29 welfare organisations, veterinary associations and veterinary practices.
Emma launched the website after visiting a conference on brachycephaly in Sweden in 2016. Having campaigned on extreme conformation for around 15 years, she was stunned to see how the dogs had got worse, not better, in that time.
“As people in favour of the breeds often tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, I decided to try to gather a list of recognised specialists who felt that the continued breeding of extremely brachycephalic animals was wrong on welfare grounds,” she said. “I felt that if we had a global consensus then politicians, policymakers and veterinary bodies from all over the world, we could use the combined expert opinion in that standing open letter.
“This proved incredibly difficult and time-consuming and then at another welfare conference a friend said they felt that my previous Vets Against Docking website had been a great tool. This planted the seed that I could turn the list into a public website with vets, specialists, nurses and related professionals signing up so that’s what I did.”
Despite the growing welfare concern around the rise in popularity of brachycephalic breeds, Emma claims that a minority of owners and breeders have been harassing vets and companies into withdrawing their names from the website. So far, one company has withdrawn its support due to people leaving bad reviews on Facebook and two vets have been hounded on social media.
“I think this behaviour is utterly disgusting, especially considering the stresses already faced by our profession on a day-to-day basis. It really is low tactics that many of our supporters feel is a sign they know they are losing,” Emma adds. “Happily, since their hate campaign started we’ve added around 100 vets and seven countries, so I’m hoping the profession will start strong and stick to their guns.”
If any individuals or practice would like to add their support to the campaign, please visit www.vetsagainstbrachycephalism.com/sign-up