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Puppy yoga banned in Italy for animal safety

Italy bans puppy yoga classes, citing health concerns for young dogs

Source: BBC

Italy’s Ministry of Health has banned “puppy yoga” classes, saying only adult dogs should take part in order to protect the health of animals as well as the safety of attendees.

In a note circulated on 29 April, the ministry said it was aware that organisers often "borrow" puppies from breeders.

But because puppy yoga "improves wellbeing" it should be considered as a kind of "animal assisted therapy" - which by law can only be carried out by fully grown animals.

Puppy yoga typically involves puppies roaming freely around a yoga class and sometimes being incorporated in yoga poses, or a yoga class followed by playtime with the puppies.

The ministry asked regional authorities to carry out checks to ensure puppy yoga classes do not take place.

In a statement, Italy's National Board for Animal Protection welcomed the decision.

It quoted dog expert Giusy D'Angelo as saying that puppy yoga was a "physically and mentally stressful experience" for the animals.

She also said that attendees risked getting carried away and adopting the animals.

"People are overtaken by a wave of emotion after experiencing sensations of well-being from the close proximity to the puppies," Ms D'Angelo said.

"This can lead them to make a decision without really thinking through the implications and the consequences."

She also warned the puppies used in the yoga classes are often not transported in a safe manner. Organisers sometimes do not give them enough water to drink, she said.

"This type of activity is detrimental to the dogs' wellbeing and only brings financial advantages to those who run the classes," Ms D'Angelo added.

Last July, the UK's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) urged people to consider alternative activities to puppy yoga.

While organisers claim the puppies enjoy the socialising involved in the ancient Indian art, "there is nothing in the environment which we would consider to be beneficial to... these animals."

Puppy yoga classes are popular across Europe and the US. Other variations include kitten yoga, rabbit yoga or even, in some cases, goat yoga.

[Source: BBC]

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