The organizers of so-called “Puppy Yoga” classes have taken the downward-facing dog a step further. Yoga with puppies should be fun and have a calming effect on the participants. Because this is anything but calming for the puppies, animal rights activists criticize almost everywhere where the popular courses are offered. The trend sport has now been banned in Italy, as the APA news agency reported.

After several complaints from animal protection associations, the Ministry of Health in Rome has decided that the use of puppies in yoga classes is now illegal. Only adult dogs could be used for wellness activities such as yoga in the future.

The ministry was provided with the names of all organizations that had contacted breeders directly in order to borrow puppies. Recently there have been several reports that the puppies were often treated poorly. Piera Rosati from the animal protection organization “LNDC Animal Protection” told the Guardian: “Yoga should be not only a physical but also a spiritual activity that strives for harmony with the universe – at least in theory. But harmony and well-being will come to the puppies not granted, they are turned into objects and exploited.”

There is also the danger that people could fall in love with the puppies while cuddling them, a dog expert told the Guardian. Some people could make the impulsive decision to simply adopt one of the dogs – without really considering the consequences of this decision.

“Animal-assisted activities,” as they are called in Italy, are not necessarily new. Animals are often integrated into forms of therapy because their presence can have positive effects on people. However, if the animals are puppies, the risk that they will be overwhelmed by the situation is too high, according to animal rights activists. The trend has become popular worldwide, especially via social media. “Puppy Yoga” is currently still permitted in Germany.

Quellen:  Guardian, WHAT.