Trade Me Policy and Compliance leader James Ryan has announced from March this year these brachycephalic dogs with their ever-so-cute short faces will not be able to be sold on its online marketplace.
“These breeds suffer acutely from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) which dramatically impacts the quality of their life.”
Ryan likens the disorder to trying to breathe through a pillow. Even when the dog is not severely affected, BOAS can cause noisy breathing, snorting, snoring and chronic sleep deprivation.
In some dogs the symptoms are so severe they have trouble exercising even for short period and cannot moderate their body temperature enough through panting, often with fatal consequences.
Ryan said Trade Me decided to act after finding research that showed 90-95% of these dogs have BOAS to varying degrees.
New Zealand Veterinary Association chief executive Mark Ward said the rise in popularity of English bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs has seen a marked increase in supply of dogs with exaggerated features which cause serious health issues including breathing difficulties and eye problems.
“Without correctional surgery, large numbers of these dogs live with chronic pain and distress, with many owners and breeders unaware that their dog is suffering.”
Trade Me has previously banned “menacing” dogs such American pitbulls and Dogo Argentinos from its online trading platform but this is the first time it has imposed a ban based on the welfare of the dogs. The ban extends to crossbreeds as well as purebreds but both will still be able to be listed for adoption.
“We didn’t take this decision lightly,” says Ryan. “We know how loved and popular these breeds are but after consultation with a range of animal experts including the New Zealand Veterinary Association and the SPCA we felt we couldn’t, in good conscience, continue to allow the sale of animals who suffer lifelong health issues.”
He said Trade Me was not making judgements about current owners of these breeds, but sees this as an opportunity to educate potential and current owners.
SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen reiterated a plea to those New Zealanders looking for a new addition to their family to consider adopting one of the thousands of rescue dogs looking for homes.