In Suffolk in the late 19th century the growing population still lived clustered in the villages they had inhabited for centuries. A six-day working week left only Sunday for courting, and as horses were either farm vehicles or the preserve of the rich, the 'courting radius' for the average villager was the distance that a young man could walk there and back with some courting in between. The result, of course, over the centuries, was a shrinking gene pool; the young lady with seven fingers and webbed toes was probably the cousin of the young man with three fingers and elephant ears who was wooing her.
The bicycle changed all that. It tripled the courting radius and over a generation or two not only did Suffolk villagers grow noticeably in height but the unfortunate genetic anomalies began to disappear. By 1914 Suffolk could provide whole battalions of healthy men all with the same number of fingers to be sent abroad to be killed.
Dogs aren't into courting in a big way. A few seconds sniffing each other's bottoms is about all it takes. And they don't really care about incest, either. And this country has a few real idiots who encourage them. The result is a Brahmin class of wheezing, crippled, deformed mutts that can barely crawl to the Cruft's winners podium without cracking a hip. Moves are afoot (apaw?) to change this disgraceful practice.
Public concern is easily accessed on behalf of dogs in the UK; just look at the respective funding levels of the RSPCA and the NSPCC. And that tells you why another very uncomfortable fact is shoved firmly under the carpet - that of inbreeding amongst our Pakistani population cohort.
Of course it's not called inbreeding in polite society; "preferential patrilateral parallel cousin marriage" - in which the boy marries his father's brother's daughter - is the accepted term for the preference of traditional communities in Pakistan. First cousin marriages are not illegal in the UK, and the odd first cousin marriage in a large mixed society does no great harm overall. But within the Pakistani community such first cousin marriages are repeated generation after generation within a biologically tiny gene pool. Some 55% of Pakistanis in the UK are married to their first cousins; in Bradford more than 75% of all marriages amongst Pakistanis are between first cousins. The result is entirely predictable. Despite forming only 1.5% of the UK's population, Pakistanis have 30% of the country's genetic birth defects and unacceptably high levels of infant mortality. This cannot continue.
If we change the rules for dogs but leave the practice unchanged amongst our fellow citizens, what does it say about our values?