Yes, this little Frenchie is basically one of the cutest things on the entire planet, and when you see one you might melt into a puddle from the adorableness. What you may not think about at first glance when seeing some of our favorite and cutest breeds is that they're likely a result of breeding. And while breeding isn't inherently wrong, sometimes humans tend to go overboard, which can result in harm to animals. One of the most recent examples of this highly frowned on behavior? Horses.
This is a healthy Arabian horse. A purebred Arabian horse is a striking animal, and very often used for show because of their beautiful build. A typical Arabian is known for their long and arched necks, well-proportioned faces and and high tail carriage. They've been called "the king of horses" because of their beauty and proud nature.
Would you believe that the animal pictures here is the same type of horse pictured above? This little one is nine-months old, a show horse named El Rey Magnum. He's the result of extreme breeding, and people are not happy about it.
Let's just pause a moment to figure out what El Rey reminds us of. Is that Buck from Home On The Range? This little Arabian show horse definitely does look closer to a horse we'd see in a Disney movie than any other horse that we've ever seen. And although he's cute, that's not always a good thing.
The owners and the breeders have been under fire, because according to the shape and size of the horse's nose, it appears that he would have breathing problems. UK equine expert Tim Greet of Rossdales Veterinary Service weighed in on the issues. “Dogs like man can mouth breathe, but horses can only breathe through their nose,” he toldVeterinary Record magazine. “I suspect exercise would definitely be limited for this horse.”
Regency Cove Farms explained that their horse was a step toward perfection. The flattened nose and more concave face are what people whose horses participate in shows would be looking for. However, vets think that the cost for the poor animals is much too great to be participating in such breeding practices.
Adele Waters, editor for Veterinary Record, was in disbelief at the photos of the young horse. "My first thoughts were ‘is this the work of CGI trickery?" she said. It wouldn't be too far of a stretch to believe that this young animal was actually Photoshopped, considering his unusual appearance.
"Many specialist horse vets have had a similar reaction. But the truth is this is a real horse and it has been bred to meet the demands of a particular market that likes a particular appearance," continued Waters. People out there wanted a horse that looked like El Rey Magnum, and that's what they got.
El Rey is not the only horse to have been bred in specific ways to meet the demands of people who want their horses to have particular appearances. Of El Rey Magnum, Doug Leadley from Orrion Farms says that the horse has no issues. "We think he is the most beautiful Arabian in the world – we think he is a king."
Others obviously disagree with his claims about the animal. "Where will it end? Is it really so bad for a horse to look like a horse and not a cartoon character?" asked Waters. No, we don't think it's so bad for a horse to look like a horse. Horses are some of the most beautiful animals on the planet, breeding or no breeding.
Many experts gave their opinion on this example of extreme breeding. Dr. Madeleine Campbell is an equine reproduction specialist, and also an expert in animal welfare. On top of that, she's the director of the Equine Ethics Consultancy. So she's probably got a fairly good handle on all things horses.
"Whilst it is obviously impossible to comment on an individual animal based only on photographic evidence, as a general principle any trend towards breeding for extremes of form which might adversely affect normal function must be condemned, on welfare grounds," said Campbell on the subject. She's definitely not in favor of the extreme breeding practices that created El Rey Magnum.
Campbell continued talking about the issues that El Rey might potentially face as a result of his specific breeding:
"This would apply equally to head shape which might compromise the ability to breathe or eat normally or, for example, to extremes of animal size which might compromise the ability to give birth normally."
Still, there are some people who see no problem with producing horses bred to look how humans want them to look. Where do you fall on the issue? Do you think cartoon character horses are too extreme? Perhaps you'll look at your pug a little differently after hearing about the dangers of extreme breeding.