In preparation for tonight’s American premiere of the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, this morning’s Today Show featured a segment on the horrors behind the rampant breeding of purebreds.
Sylvia, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, suffers from syringomyelia—a condition in which the dog’s brain is too big for the skull, resulting in a nonstop, crippling headache that’s been deemed by humans who endure it the worst kind of pain imaginable. And she’s not alone—after years of inbreeding, at least one-third of all King Charles spaniels suffer from syringomyelia and other incurable genetic deformities, a common problem among purebred dogs.
Breeders around the globe are guilty of spreading these deadly defects, contributing to what Dr. James Serpell, associate professor of humane ethics and animal welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, deems “institutionalized animal cruelty,” and they—along with the individuals who continue to buy purebred companion animals instead of adopting from animal shelters—are at fault for the animal overpopulation crisis and the deaths of millions of homeless animals each year.
Written by Logan Scherer