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Be Indian, Adopt Indian!

Breeding a “pure” dog is the ultimate cruelty on the canine species

New Delhi, October 29, 2019: I have just received a letter from Silchar saying that they are dog lovers and have formed a kennel club which hopes to have its first dog show. This, they state, is in response to my articles on understanding dogs. In case they have missed the point that I have been striving to drive home for many years now, let me repeat it again. I am dead set against “pedigreed or purebred” dogs and completely against dog shows. Let me elaborate. What is a pedigreed dog?

It is an invented species – take a perfectly natural dog, what the uninitiated would call a “jungli” and then work on it for 20 years of selective breeding to make the end product into a bizarre shape, size and colour and there you have a pedigreed dog. Pedigreed because you know the names of its grandparents! The Indian contribution to the pedigreed field is the Rampur Hound, the ultimate joke played by the Nawab of Rampur on dog breeders. He took strays and kept mating them till he achieved a uniform size and then entered them as breeds in dog shows where they won awards due to his status rather than theirs, and voila! The Rampur Hound was born.

Breeding “pure”dogs is the ultimate cruelty on the canine species. Their size, their structure, their self-defence systems are all tampered with to suit the bizarre human taste. And then, when their appearance doesn’t suit you, you can go in for further mutilation, like the clipping of ears in Doberman to make sure that their inside ears are no longer protected and insects can enter freely, the cutting of tails to absurd stubs so that the anus is open to maggots. The very nature of breeding is not only detrimental to the dogs themselves, but is obscenely irresponsible in India where millions of natural Indian dogs, better suited physically and emotionally to the climate and the country, are being killed by the government. What Breeding a “pure” dog is the ultimate cruelty on the canine species, says Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, who believes its size, structure and self-defence systems are all tampered with to suit the bizarre human taste Be Indian, Adopt Indian!

Can you expect when you buy a purebred? Hyper behavior due to the exaggeration of one trait after decades of artificial breeding, and hundreds of expensive visits to the vet. Inherited diseases are rampant. Dalmatians are prone to deafness; Poodles to epilepsy; Lhasa Apsos to fatal kidney failure and cataracts; Alsatians to hip dysplasia; and Boxers and Bulldogs to malignant tumours. Congenital heart disease is a frequent complaint in pure breeds and so are cataracts, glaucoma and retinal degeneration. As a result of inbreeding to create and maintain their appearance, each breed harbours over a dozen genetic defects.

There are over 300 genetic disorders recorded in India documented in the various breeds. These defects undermine psychological as well as physical health. Toy dogs are requently high¬strung and overactive. Mastiffs, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers are overly fearful and submissive. A growing number of Chowchows, Cocker Spaniels and Golden Retrievers are vicious. A cousin of mine had a pair of Dachshunds which she had to give away (another disgusting practice) because they were completely violent. The purebred has to have a prescribed look – and this causes numerous health problems.

The “perfect” Basset Hound should have short and thickened forelegs. Too frequently the legs bow, chronic elbow dislocation. A specification that the “feet turn a trifle outward” endorses a splaying that often results in lameness. A standard that calls for eyes to be “soft, sad and slightly sunken” creates a large gap between the lower eyelid and the eye and this becomes an ashtray ready to catch dust and debris.

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