Lori leads off this episode exploring the issue of genetic defects in purebred dogs. There are over 500 known genetic defects in purebred dogs, causing health problems, many severe, at a much greater rate than in mixed breed dogs. These genetic defects go along with selective breeding to a “standard” and these standards are established and judged by the American Kennel Club, the AKC. A stated core value of the AKC is to “protect the health and well-being of all dogs,” but Lori points out the absurdity of such a claim, in that the AKC promotes the creation of dogs many of whom are destined to suffer from genetic diseases. And, of course, positioned as central to the breeding industry, the AKC contributes to dog overpopulation, and hence shelter overcrowding and “euthanasia” of adoptable animals.
Yet, the AKC generally is viewed favorably by the public. Lori provides numerous instances to begin countering this notion that the AKC is deserving of praise and admiration. A prime example of this is the French Bulldog, recently named by the AKC as “America’s favorite dog,” which almost always requires birthing by C-section. The heads of the puppies cannot pass through the mothers’ narrow birth canal! Listen in and see if you agree with Lori, and remember, adopt don’t buy! You will also learn some fascinating facts about cheetahs and octopuses along the way!
Then, Peter welcome Lori Marino, PhD., President of The Whale Sanctuary Project. Captive and retired orcas and belugas who are to be liberated need a place to live! The Whale Sanctuary Project is quite far along in creating an expansive ocean sea pen in Nova Scotia, where the whales, who cannot be released into the open ocean because they lack survival skills and families, can retire. This first of its kind project should serve as a model for future humane sanctuaries for formerly captive (and typically captive bred) cetaceans. Dr. Marino explains it all, including telling us how to get involved and help the effort!