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Italy Bans Yoga Class Sessions for Pups

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By Jessy Sloan - - 5 Mins Read
A puppy on a gym mat
Featured | Shutterstock

Italy's Ministry of Health has taken a crucial decision regarding puppies in yoga classes.

The ministry has raised concerns about the potential mistreatment or exploitation of these puppies during the training sessions. Typically, the training involves dogs performing yoga poses while puppies roam around the yoga class.

Giovanni Leonardi, who leads Italy's health ministry's One Health department, recently announced that their efforts to ensure animals are treated well will include a new development.

According to Leonardi, using dogs during exercise sessions falls under Italy's Animal Assisted Interventions Act. However, only adult dogs are allowed to participate in training, as well as puppies.

Investigations Into Puppy Mistreatment in Italy 

Back in March, there was an investigation in March by the famous Italian news show "Striscia la Notizia,” alleging that some puppies suffered from massive maltreatment in many yoga centers. In fact, some of them were said to have been kept in pens during yoga sessions.

Already, Lega Nazionale per la Difesa del Cane (National League for the Defense of Dogs), an animal rights charity, has already filed a complaint following the allegations as soon as they were made.

According to the details of the complaint, some of the puppies were treated “as if they were gymnastics tools.” 


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The LNDC complaint highlighted that some of the puppies were transported in boxes to and from the yoga centers.

Thus, the complaint says that if this continues, there might be health implications and defects.

According to the complaint, “Given their age, it is highly likely that these puppies had not even completed their vaccination prophylaxis.” 

No Room for Appeal 

In the latest legislative action passed, there's no room for puppy yoga club owners to appeal.

According to a spokesperson for the Italian health ministry, the ministry is treating the matter in the same way as any service animal.

It is the same as any service animal. You would never expect to see a puppy as a sight dog,” the spokesperson said during an interview with CNN.

A person holding up a small puppy
Photo | Unsplash

LNDC's President, Piera Rosati, highlighted that using puppies for physically challenging exercises such as yoga can have severe adverse effects. Additionally, the circumstances in which this activity takes place seem to be exploitative.

The terminology used for the whole event was an “exploitation for commercial purposes that takes no account of the well-being and psychophysical health of creatures who are still too fragile to be treated in this way.”

At that age, puppies should not have to face travel and stress, but stay in a calm and protected environment under the guidance and care of their mother who can teach them to socialize correctly and to face the outside world with confidence,” Rosati added. 

The vice president of programs and operations at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK, Elisa Allen, commended the new development.

Allen said the whole thing was basically a sales gimmick disguised as an exercise. “While governments around the world should take heed, we must not wait to do the right thing: PETA urges yogis to stay away from this cheap ploy that uses sensitive animals as props to their detriment,” Allen said.