Towards the prevention of animals suffering from their appearance | news item

news item | 2023-01-20 | 09:23

Minister Piet Adema (LNV) today announced far-reaching steps towards a Netherlands where no pet will suffer from its appearance. Two bans are being considered for animals with harmful external characteristics, such as cats with foldable ears. It’s about blocking retention and blocking display. If an animal husbandry ban is imposed, this automatically means a trade and import ban.

When choosing a pet, people often choose features they find cute, for example dogs with short snouts or cats with foldable ears. They have good intentions, but often don’t know that animals can suffer permanently from these characteristics. For example, dogs with short snouts must constantly pant for breath.

Today, Minister Adema announces his plan of action to prevent the suffering of this animal, starting with dogs and cats. This means developing two measures for animals with harmful external characteristics: a ban on keeping animals and a ban on showing.

Minister Beit Adima: This topic affects me not only as a minister, but also as a person. We make life miserable for innocent animals, because we think they are “beautiful” and “cute.” That is why today we are taking a big step towards the Netherlands where no pet should suffer from its appearance. The render blocking and the rendering by which I wish to achieve this will require a lot of time to be carefully worked out. It’s a complicated endeavor, but it’s also a right one.”

Animal husbandry ban (and trade and import ban)

The LNV wants to move toward banning animal keeping. This ban may mean that pets with harmful external characteristics may not be kept.

The possibility of a list of external characteristics that can be objectively determined to cause lasting suffering and that can be objectively determined in individual animals is currently being considered. Animals that comply with this may not be kept. This list will start small, but will be expanded on the basis of further research into objectively identifiable harmful characteristics in the individual animal.

There is a transitional arrangement: people who already have an animal with that characteristic in the home at the time a property is banned may keep that animal until it dies.

In practice, banning animal husbandry also means banning trade and import. In order to trade or import an animal, the trader must also (briefly) own the animal and this is no longer allowed.

View ban

Seeing a certain type of pet frequently or prominently creates a demand for it. To reduce the demand for pets with harmful external characteristics, the LNV bans supply. This is the ban on showing pets with harmful external characteristics, for example in commercials, advertisements and on social media. Also consider the role of celebrities and influencers.


Both retention bans and rendering bans are complex and raise many questions. How do we objectively prove when an animal suffers from its appearance? How do we handle social media freedoms with care? How do we ensure proper implementation? These issues will take time to be carefully resolved. But we really want to inform people that this is coming, especially people who are considering bringing a new pet into their home.

Frequently asked questions about bans on animals that suffer from their appearance

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