As a former owner of a British bulldog my interest was piqued by a news item in which auction website Trade Me has banned the sale of bulldogs.
Trade Me cites welfare as its motivation and goes on to explain that both British and French bulldogs are bred in such a way that many live lives of suffering.
The have difficulty breathing, suffer in the heat, can not give birth without surgery, and are basically designer dogs which have unhappy lives.
Mavis certainly snored. We would need to crank the TV volume up to almost max to hear the evening news over her foghorn slumber.
And it's true she loved walks, but short ones. A step too far and she would star fish flat on the ground and, as any bulldog owner will attest, there is no arguing with a bulldog. So carry her home we would.
But never for a second did we believe she had anything but an exceptional quality of life. And it is distressing to think she may have endured pain and discomfort so we could have a canine companion partly because we were attracted to her quirky looks and ways.
Trade Me is entitled to not sell whatever it chooses. And its stance on bulldog sales has support from the SPCA and veterinary association. This is not a Government ban on the breeds, just a company choosing not to be part of the designer dog trade. It is a laudable stance.
But it raises the question, if it is not ethical to trade bulldogs because their basic design is cruel, then would it not follow that the breed could be banned altogether based on the same arguments?
Trade Me's stance may prove to be the thin end of a wedge.