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Posted: 7th June 2024

Netherlands considering puppy yoga ban
Puppy yoga was recently banned in Italy.
Government minister wants to ban use of all young animals in yoga.

The Netherlands could become the next country to ban puppy yoga, after the country’s agriculture minister Pieter Adema spoke out about the practice.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant, the minister criticised the impact that the practice has on puppies and said that he wanted to see a ban on the use of all young animals in yoga.

Puppy yoga, in which puppies are present during a human yoga class, has become a popular trend around the world. Organisers claim that the sessions help to socialise the puppies, a claim disputed by animal welfare organisations.

In July last year, an ITV News investigation alleged that some puppies involved in yoga classes were not given access to water and had no opportunity to rest away from people.

Last month, puppy yoga was banned in Italy because of concerns over the stress that it caused for the animals involved. The Dutch government is yet to set out specific plans for a ban.

In the UK, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee raised concerns about puppy yoga in a parliamentary report on pet welfare and abuse published in April 2024. Charities including The Kennel Club, Blue Cross and the RSPCA have also publicly voiced their concerns about the practice.

Esme Wheeler, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “If the Netherlands is to ban it, especially so soon after Italy’s ban, then it sends a strong message across the continent and the wider world that puppy yoga is not an acceptable activity for the dogs.

“Sadly, puppy yoga has gained more traction as time has gone on, with people thinking that it is ‘cute’ - but the puppies - sometimes younger than eight weeks - can be overwhelmed and frightened. It can have such a detrimental effect on their welfare, and we're really worried the popularity of this trend is being fuelled by social media.

“Many puppy yoga organisers say the classes help socialise the animals, but this isn’t socialisation in any sense. Puppy socialisation needs to be carried out gradually, where exposure to various experiences, people and other animals is controlled and calm. Not doing so can have a negative effect on the puppy.”

Image © Shutterstock

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