I know there are a couple of pet lovers in here so it may make some interesting debate.
Did anybody watch the UK doco Pedigree Dogs Exposed on ABC earlier? You can probably catch it on iView if you missed it. I did find it a bit disturbing, especially seeing some of the suffering animals, born with a genetic abnormality. The ignorance of the pet show owners and the whole pure-breed establishment was frustrating to watch. Very much "what do you know?", when rightly any sane human would see some problems in some of the dogs shown.
A lot of the various genetic deficiencies of so called "pure" breeds have been common knowledge for quite a while, but I think it was useful to put it out there into the public spotlight once again. Should owners not purchase a specific breed of dog due to the high likelihood of it suffering due to some bred in deformity? By doing so will breeders see reduced demand for certain dogs, and reduced in-breeding, which can in fact increase those terrible traits?
When you really think about it, I'm amazed with the absolute vanity of the human race to breed animals to look a specific way to win a show, or for it to be considered "attractive". Even if that look may be a serious deformity which may cause health problems, cause the dog great pain, or shorten its life. If they were humans we'd consider it abominable.
I know I've always seen a few breeds over the years, and thought they weren't quite right, with their exaggerated features, smashed face, stumpy feet that are quite useless, or weeping eyes. Some of the photos of the breeds 100 years ago was quite an amazing difference in what today we'd call a "Boxer" or a "Basset Hound", and showed just how mutated some of the breeds have become only in a recent period of time. Shows how much the human race can muck with evolution given half a chance
While the attention was on dogs, to be honest, no doubt cats, and some other animals are subject to such incestuous breeding as well. So it's an issue effecting many of our favourite companions.
Can anything be done about it? I know certain breeders will say they will not try and deliberately breed unhealthy features, but by the very process of breeding some pedigrees, that is exactly what they are doing. Should some pedigree of dog simply not be bred at all? For some, their genetic pool appears to be so messed with, maybe it is best not to continue inflicting suffering on the poor dogs, which maybe shouldn't be on this earth at all.