Flanders, Belgium: From 1 Oct, 2021, the breeding and trading of cats with folded ears such as the Scottish Fold is prohibited in Flanders, the Flemish part of Belgium.
Fold cats or fold ear cats are characterised by forward folded ears. The best-known varieties are the Scottish Fold and Highland Fold.
The distinctive ears are the result of an abnormality in the cartilage, also called osteochondrodysplasia, caused by a mutation in a gene. The cartilage elsewhere in the body, such as in the joints, is also malformed. These animals suffer from variable degrees of painful degenerative joint disease.
This is very painful for the animals. The symptoms are similar to arthritis in which the joints are chronically inflamed. Moving is difficult and painful. In severe cases, the cats become lame.
No treatment is possible. The only way to avoid this condition is t
o prohibit the breeding of cats that carry the gene. It is unethical to continue to breed cats with the genetic mutation known to cause significant painful disease.
The Official Newsletter Of The Flemish Government referred to the country's Ministerial Decree of 13 April 2021 on the conditions in the trade of animals.