When an animal lover is in a position of power, they sometimes choose to change the policies that are in place, so that they can improve their quality of life. This is exactly what motivated The Netherland’s National Government to propose a ban on dogs with flat faces and cats with folded ears.
They claim that these are some external characteristics that are harmful and lead to life-long suffering.
The idea behind the ban is that some external characteristics, such as flat faces, short snouts, and folded ears, may make an animal more aesthetically pleasing. But, because an animal possesses these attributes, they are subject to suffering. The ban is aimed at preventing this suffering.
“This subject affects me not only as a Minister but also as a person. We make life miserable for innocent animals purely because we think they are beautiful and cute. That is why today we are taking a big step towards a Netherlands where no pet has to suffer from their appearance,” said Dutch Agriculture Minister Piet Adema in a statement.
When a dog has a flat-face, they are described as being brachycephalic, and they often experience breathing problems, compromised heart health, struggle with skin and ear infections, and have neurological issues.
Not only is the ban aimed at owning an animal with these attributes, but trading, and importing will be affected as well.
Dutch government officials wanted to make the announcement ahead of the potential ban, so that families who are currently considering adopting a new furry family member may factor in this new ruling when making their decision.
They are currently creating a list of the animals that could potentially be banned, but no “official” details have yet been released. A few dog breeds that have these characteristics include: French bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shih Tzus and Boxers.
If this is passed, pet parents who currently have an animal that is included in the ban will be allowed to keep them until they cross the rainbow bridge. A secondary ban, that is also being proposed, will prevent the same animals from being shown in advertisements.
“Seeing a certain type of pet frequently or prominently often increases demand for it,” said the Ministry regarding the subject.
When it comes to the cats with folded ears, they fall into the Scottish Fold breed and their “adorable ears” are the result of a genetic mutation. Unfortunately, the cat’s ears aren’t the only thing affected, and the mutation can result in a life of suffering.
“This inherited cartilage defect causes other deformities throughout the body and is a dominant trait, meaning all kittens in the litter will be affected,” said the RSPCA in Australia.
Some cats have even become completely crippled, and some serious abnormalities can include arthritis, thick and inflexible tails, spinal issues, and short and stiff legs.
Even when attempts were made to create a healthier cat by mixing with other breeds, the devastating effects of the disease still presented in both anatomy and behavior.
Both bans are complex and will take time to work out, but Adema wants citizens to know that changes are coming, and that the Ministry is determined to do what is best for the animals.