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April 7, 2011

Coming to DC: The Purebred Paradox Conference

The health and welfare of purebred dogs

Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy

Leading scientists, veterinarians, and others interested in the animal health and welfare consequences of dog breeding practices will convene in Washington, DC, on Thursday and Friday, April 28-29, for “The Purebred Paradox,” a conference devoted to the latest scholarship and knowledge on the subject.

Sir Patrick Bateson, Professor Emeritus of Ethology at Cambridge University and the current president of the Zoological Society of London, will present the keynote address. A distinguished research scientist, Bateson is the co-author of An Independent Inquiry into Dog Breeding, a benchmark 2010 study by the Kennel Club, England’s primary canine registry, and Dogs Trust, England’s largest dog welfare charity.

Register for the conference »

“Unhealthy breeding practices affect millions of dogs and have become a welfare issue of great significance,” says Dr. Andrew Rowan, Chief Scientific Officer of The HSUS and the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy (HSISP), co-sponsor of the event with the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society (CIAS) of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). “

Certain contemporary breeding practices and their genetic and health consequences have serious and urgent animal welfare implications, and we agreed that it was a good time to examine what science has to say on the topic,” says Dr. James Serpell, CIAS director.

Featured speakers at “The Purebred Paradox” include behaviorists, dog breeders, epidemiologists, geneticists, private practice veterinarians, and veterinary surgeons, as well as representatives from Best Friends Animal Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and The Humane Society of the United States.

Bateson’s report is one of three published on dog breeding in England since 2008, each of which called for stricter standards, ethical codes, and better scientific understanding of the problems raised by inbreeding of dogs. These reports identified major health and welfare problems stemming from selective breeding, and called for swift action by breed groups, veterinary associations, animal welfare organizations, and policy-makers.

With respect to the United States, the issue of purebred health has frequently surfaced in debates over puppy mill regulation, irresponsible breeders, and lemon law initiatives focusing on the pet trade.  Register now for the conference.

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