Why Is HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ Calling Foul on Dog Breeding?

Published by Lindsay Pollard-Post.

Why does a 10-month-old bulldog puppy named Trouble have such trouble breathing that he needs surgery? Watch this clip to find out:

HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel takes aim at the dog-breeding industry’s cruel practices in a hard-hitting piece called “Unnatural Selection.” It shows how dogs such as Trouble pay with their health and happiness—and sometimes even their lives—because they have been bred to conform to the unnatural and arbitrary ideas of “beauty” promoted in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) breed standards.

In one scene, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel spins frantically and cries out in agony because of a condition called syringomyelia. More than a third of this breed suffers from this condition, which occurs when their skulls are too small for their brains. In another scene, a German shepherd suffering from hip dysplasia wobbles and struggles to walk on crippled hind legs.

Journalist Soledad O’ Brien takes AKC apologists to task for promoting sordid practices, including breeding dogs for unhealthy, distorted features and inbreeding. She points out that last year’s Westminster “Best in Show” winner was the product of breeding a father dog with his own daughter, yet the AKC refuses to condemn it.

You’ll definitely want to watch the full feature on HBO GO or HBO On Demand and share it with your family and friends, especially those who think they need to have purebreds. It will surely inspire many people always to adopt and never buy their future canine companions and to find something better to watch than contests that exploit “man’s best friend.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind