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Lockdown sees surge in online searches for French bulldogs
Brachycephalic dog breeds are already facing a serious health and welfare crisis.

Rise prompts Brachycephalic Working Group to issue warning to potential buyers of 'flat-faced' breeds. 

New figures released by the Kennel Club show the demand for French bulldogs surged dramatically during the coronavirus lockdown.

According to the data, searches for the breed on the Kennel Club's website increased by 225 per cent during April and May 2020, when many people were at home, compared to the same time last year.

Furthermore, according to the latest 2020 registration data, the French Bulldog is once again the UK’s top dog, with the highest puppy registrations of any breed from January to March 2020.

The figures are so bleak that they have promoted the Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) to issue a warning about the increased demand.

The group, which includes vets, rescue organisations, breeders and scientists, says the demand could worsen the already serious health and welfare crisis faced by brachycephalic breeds. It  is urging the public to ‘stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog'.

BWG chair Dan O’Neill commented: “We are concerned that some puppy buyers might not be fully considering or be aware of, the long-term responsibility and commitment that comes with getting a dog, especially a flat-faced dog.

“It’s vital that people stop and think. Getting a flat-faced puppy without being aware of the potential health and welfare issues they might face, especially if they are bred indiscriminately to meet demand, will have a devastating and long-lasting impact for thousands of dogs and owners in the UK.”

The impact of sudden and large increased population sizes is such a concern for researchers that the BWG has previously published a joint statement on this risk for dogs, alongside guidance on what can be done to help, on their website.

Dr O’Neill continued: “Rather than making an impulsive decision, or choosing a dog because it seems popular, cute or fashionable, we urge anyone considering buying a flat-faced breed to do their research first. It is true that some flat-faced breeds often have lovely characters, but do you really want to contribute to a welfare crisis where thousands of puppies are bred in appalling circumstances just to satisfy the huge demand for these breeds?

“Our message could not be clearer: Stop and think before buying a flat-faced breed.” 

Image (C) Rachel Hattersley/Veterinary Practice Today.

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Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
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APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk