Breeders of designer pets such as Ed Sheeran’s Scottish fold cat could face prosecution
PUBLISHED: 14:21 23 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:21 23 October 2017
Pet breeders who produce animals with genetic defects – such as the Scottish fold cat owned by Suffolk singer Ed Sheeran – could face prosecution, the government has said.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that anyone knowingly breeding animals with genetic defects could be considered to be committing an offence under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.
The move affects some of the most fashionable pet breeds, such as French bulldogs that cannot breath properly, munchkin cats, which have disproportionately short legs and Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which are often bred to have an unnaturally small skull.
The Scottish fold cat, which Ed got as a kitten at the same time as Taylor Swift, has a genetic defect preventing it from forming cartilage, which can cause arthritis.
Ed, who often talks about his love of cats, named the kitten Callipo, after the ice cream, because it “melts your heart”. He has another cat named Dorito after its orange ears, and once took in a stray called Graham, for which he created a Twitter page.
The Government’s stricter stance follows a campaign from the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
BVA vice president Gudrun Ravetzt, said: “Celebrities, advertisers and the public inadvertently normalise and even celebrate extreme physical features, which appear ‘cute’ but which are the result of breeding without consideration for welfare.”