Last Friday, a Norwegian appeals court rendered judgment in the appeal by the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) from a February district court decision that banned the breeding of Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels because doing so was contrary to the Norway’s Animal Welfare Act. Read more about the district court’s decision here.
The NKK appealed on multiple grounds. After a delay, the Borgarting Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s decision regarding the breeding of Cavaliers. According to one translated report, the court said that further breeding of Cavaliers in Norway could not be defended, and questioned the consideration of breed preservation or aesthetic considerations in light of relevant health consequences.
However, the court did reverse the lower court’s decision regarding Bulldogs. It did not find that it was proven that the breeding of Bulldogs in Norway was contrary to the law or stirred general ethical questions.
Though pleased with the outcome regarding Bulldogs, the NKK expressed disappointment with the judgment of the appeals court, which it views as creating additional questions. The NKK will likely appeal, asking for clarification on the following:
- Who is to decide if a dog is of one particular breed?
- Whether dogs that are being bred that cannot be readily identified as NKK registered and microchipped would be impacted by the ban?
- Whether all breeders of Cavaliers are banned from breeding, or only those who were defendants in the original lawsuit?
- Whether current Cavaliers can be used in crossbreeding? It argues that if not, then popular mixed breeds, like Cavalier and Poodle crosses, should also be forbidden.
- Whether the appeals court’s decision effectively transfers the administration of the Animal Welfare Act from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to the courts?
The NKK argues that dog breeding must be regulated in relation to individual dogs, not breeds; and that banning breeding from healthy and unhealthy dogs alike only because they are of the same breed is not in the interest of animal welfare.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) continues to monitor the progression of this issue in Norway, and will continue to provide updates as developments warrant.