When the regular winter session of the AVMA House of Delegates convenes Jan. 13-14 in Chicago, one of the items delegates will consider adopting is a proposed policy stating the Association’s opposition to breeding dogs, cats, and other companion animals with heritable traits that negatively impact the animal’s health and well-being.
The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee recommended the policy, “Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals,” not as a condemnation of any particular breed but rather to express the veterinary profession’s support for responsible husbandry in not breeding animals that have a familial history of inherited disorders or exhibit any themselves.
The AVMA Board of Directors considered the welfare policy at its Nov. 17-19, 2016, meeting and voted to send it to the HOD with no recommendation. However, AVMA President-elect Michael Topper reflected the Board’s sentiment about the proposal when he called it “extremely necessary” for the AVMA to have a policy on the issue. The recommended policy reads as follows:
Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals
The AVMA supports the responsible breeding of companion animals such that only animals without deleterious inherited disorders are selected for breeding. Companion animals exhibiting inherited characteristics that negatively affect the animal’s health and welfare should not be bred, as those characteristics and related problems are likely to be passed on to their progeny. This would include inherited conditions such as brachycephalic syndrome, some joint diseases, bone deformation (e.g., radial hypoplasia “twisty cats”, munchkin), heart and eye conditions, or poor temperament (e.g., Springer rage syndrome). The AVMA encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, pet owners and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting pets to ensure that they are not contributing to poor welfare issues.