BBC film exposes problems with purebreds

A British documentary examining the health problems and genetic defects that plague many purebred dogs - and the resistance by the dog breeding industry to change its practices - caused a stir in the U.K. when it was released last year.

Last night the show had its first airing on American television. (In case you missed it, you can watch it here.)

One of the experts consulted for the film - Pedigree Dogs Exposed - was James Serpell, a professor of humane ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Serpell told the NBC Today show yesterday that inbreeding is the cause of many deformities in purebred dogs and that leads to painful and crippling health conditions. Serpell said the problem is prevalent in the U.S. as well as Britain and that something needs to be done to stop it.

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