KC responses to TV programme

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  • #62077
    Anonymous
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    The Kennel Club’s Plans Following the Broadcast of Passionate Productions
    Programme – Pedigree Dogs
    Exposed

    11-Sep-08

    It was agreed at the General Committee meeting on September 2, to outline
    clearly all of the
    activity that is currently being undertaken in the area of breed health and the
    Kennel Club’s plans
    for the future.

    The Kennel Club strongly rejects any implication in the programme that it is
    complacent, or that it
    has failed to take seriously, or act on the issues covered by the programme.
    This is fundamentally
    not the case.  Undoubtedly the programme was made to an agenda, and therefore
    relied on the
    sensational to make its points, resulting in what we believe was an extremely
    biased piece of
    television, which not only ignored much of the excellent work already underway,
    but also offered no
    solutions of its own!

    Indeed, by its lack of balance and criticism of those in the Kennel Club and the
    breed clubs who are
    working so hard to find practical ways to promote breed health, it potentially
    set the agenda back,
    rather than moving it forward.  That said, we acknowledge that many of those
    watching are unaware of
    our work, and it is therefore incumbent on the Kennel Club to take positive
    action to refute such
    poor journalism.  We believe that our best response therefore is a simple but
    clear examination of
    the facts, and effective communication of the robust measures we are putting in
    place.

    VAST MAJORITY HEALTHY

    The Kennel Club acknowledges that some breeds do have problems and has been
    taking action for many
    years to deal with them. However, our extensive research underlines the fact
    that the vast majority
    of breeds and dogs are healthy.

    Thankfully, few of us, or of the general pet owning public, will have seen any
    of the problems which
    were portrayed as commonplace on the TV programme.  Neither the 160,000 visitors
    to Crufts
    <http://www.crufts.org.uk>  this year, nor the many millions of other dog loving
    viewers who watch
    it on television,  will have recognised the description “disabled mutants in a
    freakish, garish
    beauty pageant” from what they saw – which was beautiful, healthy animals
    interacting with proud and
    loving owners! This is the reality, and while it is of course legitimate to
    investigate dog health,
    we do not feel that it is legitimate to portray the findings of those
    investigations in such a
    one-sided way which completely ignores the efforts of all those most closely
    involved with dog
    health.

    PROUD OF ACTIONS TAKEN

    To repeat, the KC is far from complacent; where health is concerned more can
    always be done – and it
    is being done.  The Kennel Club is proud of the many actions which it and the
    many breeders and
    breed clubs have been taking for over 20 years to improve canine health and
    welfare, and just how
    far we have already come. For example:

    .        The development of the KC/BVA health screening programmes

    .        The funding and support to enable a vast number of DNA tests to be
    developed

    .        The many breed club health programmes

    .        The health initiatives in partnership with the veterinary profession

    .        The Kennel Club Accredited <http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/203>
    Breeder Scheme

    .        The introduction of working stock to widen gene pools in some breeds

    .        The KC/BSAVA canine health survey of 52,000 dogs

    .        The health inspired changes to breed standards

    .        The education programmes for judges and breeders

    .        The canine research projects funded by the Kennel Club
    <http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/meet/charitable_trust.html>  Charitable Trust

    .        The recent facilitation of the Imperial College work quoted in the TV
    programme

    .        The introduction of the ‘Fit for function: fit for life’ campaign

    And there are many more initiatives. The Kennel Club is a concerned and
    conscientious organisation
    which has as its main objective ‘the general improvement of dogs’. As such it
    defends the
    commendable actions of responsible breeders, and is proud of the role it has
    played in both
    developing and promoting them.

    Future plans:

    While the Kennel Club already had in place an ongoing detailed strategic plan to
    deal with all the
    key health issues, the recent Pedigree Dogs Exposed programme has catapulted
    this topic firmly into
    the public eye and has added urgency to our existing activity.  Some of this
    activity has already
    been announced, but the Kennel Club would like to take this opportunity to
    outline generally what
    initiatives are currently under consideration.

    REPUTATION OF DOG BREEDERS AND THE KENNEL CLUB:

    ACTIONS WITHIN THE WORLD OF PEDIGREE DOGS

    The Kennel Club will make full use of the measures it has within its remit and
    authority to ensure
    that all breed clubs and councils encourage their members to undertake health
    screening appropriate
    to each breed and that individual breeders reach the highest possible standards
    of husbandry and
    welfare.

    The Kennel Club Breed Health and Welfare Strategy Group (BHWSG) will continue to
    play a major role
    in this. It consists of a number of people as follows:

    .        Dr Ruth Barbour, BA., MB ChB, FRCGP (Chairman)

    .        Prof. Mike Herrtage, MA, BVSc, DVR, DVD, DSAM, DECVIM, DECVDI, MRCVS,
    Dean of Cambridge
    Veterinary School

    .        Prof. Sheila Crispin, MA,VetMB, BSc, PhD, DVA, DVOpthal, DipECVO,
    FRCVS, Past President of
    the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

    .        Frank Kane, Chairman Kennel Club Breed Standards Committee

    .        Meg Purnell-Carpenter, Vice-Chairman Kennel Club Breed Standards
    Committee

    .        Ronnie Irving, Kennel Club Chairman

    .        Caroline Kisko, BSc, Kennel Club Secretary

    KC Health Department

    .        Dr Jeff Sampson, BSc DPhil, Genetics Advisor

    .        Bill Lambert, Health & Information Manager

    .        Diana Brooks-Ward, BSc, Health Co-ordinator

    Those breed clubs and councils which have been consulting and making progress
    with the Kennel Club
    can expect to continue to do so – with renewed vigour and determination.

    Some breed organisations, especially any which may have been unwilling to
    co-operate with Kennel
    Club demands benefitting the health of the breed, can expect the Kennel Club to
    be tougher on them
    and to take unilateral action to enforce its demands if necessary.

    There are already plans underway for members of the Breed Health and Welfare
    Strategy Group, to deal
    with issues regarding the following breeds over the next few weeks and months:
    German Shepherd Dogs,
    Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Dogues De Bordeaux, and a joint
    meeting of
    representatives of a number of brachicephalic breeds such as the Pug and the
    French Bulldog.

    A special meeting will be held to deal with issues regarding the Pekingese Breed
    Standard. It will
    also look at the possibility of other measures, in the event of breeders or
    judges refusing to
    accede to Kennel Club requests.

    Veterinary Passport

    We are also considering the introduction of a ‘Veterinary Passport’ before
    allowing certain breeds
    to compete at Kennel Club licensed dog shows. This would be designed
    specifically for particular
    breeds, confirming the status of a dog’s health and conformation in relation to
    certain prescribed
    aspects before they could be shown.

    Codes of Ethics

    To ensure consistency across all breeds, the Kennel Club is reviewing  its own
    Code of Ethics
    <http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/247> , taking the Animal Welfare Act into
    consideration and
    adding such items as ‘culling’ as an unacceptable practice in relation to non
    breed standard traits.
    As stated some 20 years ago and that remains in the case.

    The Kennel Club considers culling to be unacceptable and in fact required the
    Dalmatian breed clubs
    to remove this requirement from the breed code of ethics some twenty years ago
    and had instructed
    the Rhodesian Ridgeback clubs to remove the requirement from their codes of
    ethics.

    KC Registered Breed Clubs will, in future, be instructed that they must adopt
    the Kennel Club’s Code
    of Ethics and that any additions or departures from these must be referred to –
    and be approved by –
    the Kennel Club.  These will form part of Breed Club Annual Returns in future.

    Kennel Club Challenge Certificates

    Challenge Certificates, the means of creating champions, are entirely within the
    gift of the Kennel
    Club and the allocation to each breed will be reviewed.  The General Committee
    has agreed that the
    allocation to breeds should, in future, take much greater account of the
    willingness of those clubs
    and breeders and judges involved in each breed to deal positively with health
    and welfare issues.

    Judges

    Reinforcing the many actions already taken to train and emphasise to judges the
    paramount importance
    of health and welfare issues, a conference of Group and Best in Show judges is
    to be held.  This
    will ensure that all of these senior people are given the opportunity to lead
    the way in recognising
    the responsibilities they have, and to stress the actions which will be taken if
    judges fail to
    place health and welfare considerations sufficiently high when judging.

    Consideration is also to be given to requiring breed clubs and councils to
    organise, every few
    years, conferences at which mainly specialist CC judges would be required to
    attend to review breed
    health and welfare and endeavour to avoid detrimental exaggerations.

    Judges’ ongoing performance will be kept under review to ensure that health
    remains an important
    priority for all when judging.

    Line Breeding and Genetic Diversity

    The Kennel Club’s Geneticist, Dr Jeff Sampson has been involved with Imperial
    College on this issue
    for some three years, and is to continue the work started with them.  This work
    will examine the
    available research findings, specifically considering the evidence relating to
    close matings and
    frequently used sires.  To speed the process, Dr Sampson will enlist the help of
    a quantitative
    geneticist to develop this work further.

    KENNEL CLUB ACCREDITED BREEDER SCHEME – THE IMPORTANCE OF ITS SUCCESS

    Individual breeders lie at the heart of the continuing improvement of the health
    of our pedigree
    dogs.  Therefore the Kennel Club’s major health emphasis for the future of
    pedigree dogs in this
    country is going to be through the further development of the Kennel Club
    Accredited Breeder Scheme
    <http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/203> .

    Currently the scheme, which is now just over four years old, is being reviewed
    and the Kennel Club
    will be outlining its proposals shortly.

    To be effective, the scheme must be supported by all responsible dog breeders if
    it is to be taken
    seriously by government and by the puppy buying public.  Some breeders have had
    doubts about joining
    and indicating their willingness to support this voluntary scheme.  While the
    ABS is not the
    complete answer, it does give breeders a way of demonstrating their commitment
    to dog health and
    welfare.  If serious breeders had doubts about joining before the broadcast of
    the recent TV
    programme then it is hoped that the importance of having such a scheme was
    underlined, and the
    necessity of everyone working together is vital. The KC is also totally
    committed to promoting the
    scheme to the wider public and ensuring its success.

    SELF REGULATION OR LEGISLATION?

    Breeders should recognise that the alternative to being guided by the Kennel
    Club is to be
    legislated by government or a government supported organisation.  If it is
    shown that the dog world
    is unable or unwilling to clean up its own act – then recent events should
    indicate the way in which
    such external legislation could go.  In Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the RSPCA’s Chief
    Vet made the
    following statements:

    “The RSPCA is extremely concerned about the very high levels of disability,
    deformity and disease in
    pedigree dogs.”

    “The cause is very simple: it is competitive dog showing.  That is what has
    caused the problem.”

      “This is a no-brainer.  Of course we have to change.  We have to encourage
    those involved in the
    industry to do a complete top to bottom review of both Breed Standards and the
    rules and regulations
    of dog showing, to move it away from its obsession with beauty through to
    quality of life.  But
    unless we start now, the pedigree dog hasn’t got a chance.”

    These are the views of the organisation which wants to take a leading role in
    controlling dog
    breeding in this country – and it is what we risk if initiatives such as the
    Accredited Breeder
    Scheme do not succeed.  The Kennel Club needs to prove these views wrong.

    GENERAL PUBLIC AND OTHER EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS –

    COMMUNICATIONS PLANS

    Media

    Relationship with the BBC. It is inevitable that this programme has put strains
    on the relationship
    between the KC and the BBC.  Legal constraints prevent us at this stage from
    going into details on
    how that will move forward.  Suffice it to say that the Kennel Club believes
    that the recent
    programme ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’:

    .        was biased and selective

    .        did not correctly or fairly represent the work, efforts and investment
    in health by
    breeders and the Kennel Club

    .        was through its sensationalist presentation, potentially damaging to
    the work being done
    to improve health, and directly damaging to the reputation of pedigree dogs,
    breeders and the Kennel
    Club.

    However, again our best response here is a positive one. The Kennel Club will be
    in discussions with
    the BBC about all future programming plans, and wishes it to highlight the
    health and welfare work
    that is and has been going on.  The world of pedigree dogs deserves an
    opportunity to present a
    balanced perspective on the subject and be allowed to repair some of the damage
    which has been done
    to its reputation.

      Future broadcast coverage. Despite our disappointment with this particular
    programme, the Kennel
    Club has no wish to withdraw from open dialogue with programme makers and, will
    assess all
    opportunities as they occur with a view to ensuring positive TV coverage of
    responsible dog
    breeders, owners and pedigree dogs in general. To this end, a number of other
    detailed ideas are
    being explored.  Local radio stations continue to offer us a good route to
    reach the pet owning
    public and to spread our messages regarding the advantages of pedigree dog
    ownership.

    Develop http://www.doggenetichealth.org <http://www.doggenetichealth.org/>  website and
    stress throughout
    the existing Fit for Function: Fit for Life campaign.  Further developments on
    this campaign will be
    unveiled in due course.

    Information regarding available health tests per breed will be tailored for and
    included with
    registration documents and as part of the Kennel Club Puppy Sales Register
    information pack –
    building on the existing generic information.

    Health booklet.  A booklet will be developed as a single source to highlight all
    the work which has
    been undertaken and which is being undertaken and planned, to improve the health
    of pedigree dogs –
    including research projects currently in hand, details of available health
    surveys, screening
    schemes, DNA schemes and the health work funded by the Kennel Club Charitable
    Trust.  This will
    enable us to ensure that all who are interested can easily see the amount of
    work being undertaken
    both by the KC and by breed clubs.

    RSPCA

    A meeting has already been held between the Kennel Club and senior
    representatives of the RSPCA and
    further meetings will follow.  The true position of dog breeders and all of the
    work currently
    taking place is being fully communicated to the RSPCA and the Kennel Club is
    endeavouring to
    establish the official position of the RSPCA as an organisation, and its views
    on pedigree dogs and
    dog shows.  The Kennel Club is taking a robust and proactive line in these
    discussions, pointing out
    that in fact both organisations have the same agenda – better dog health.

    The Veterinary Profession

    The Kennel Club will continue to build on existing relationships and projects
    with the veterinary
    profession. These already include close contact and meetings with the Office
    Bearers of the relevant
    Veterinary bodies, Senior Academics of the Veterinary Schools, presence of
    Kennel Club documentation
    in veterinary practices, visits of veterinary students to Crufts and a whole
    range of other
    activities.

    Full information on all the work undertaken by the Kennel Club and breed clubs
    will also be made
    freely available to veterinary professionals to ensure that they are aware of
    all that is being
    undertaken.

    CONCLUSION

    The Kennel Club is, and always has been, very well aware of the problems faced
    by some pedigree dog
    breeds.  It has, along with many responsible dog breeders, been tackling these
    constructively for
    many years. It has never made a secret of any of these problems and it is well
    aware of its
    responsibilities.  The Kennel Club can demonstrate the huge number of ways in
    which it is
    discharging these responsibilities.

    The Kennel Club will continue to research new ways of improving the health of
    dogs but it is proud
    of its record in this area and will continue in the future to carry out and
    develop its current
    health and welfare policies.  All of these are designed to achieve its overall
    objective – “The
    general improvement of dogs”.

    #68957
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I got a statement thingy with my CDN aswell !  if they put this much effort into stamping out crap breeding i’d like them a bit more 🙂

    #68958
    leoti
    Member

    I read in Dog World today that the BBc want to make a follow up programme

    #68959
    vinya12
    Member

    I am glad things are changing .  :ok:

    #68960
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Do any of the rescues or RSPCA do any better I think not it’s the KC and a large amount of breeders that do the work, nobody else is helping to stamp out crap breeding.
    All they do is talk the talk the KC have along with breeders tried very hard to educate Joe public but as long as you have rescues rescuing puppy farmers stock and trecking in Irish dogs pet people breeding and the RSPCA doing b***er all then the KC are the best we have and at least they are doing something.
    Val

    [quote author=piglet link=topic=12425.msg240275#msg240275 date=1221146896]
    I got a statement thingy with my CDN aswell !  if they put this much effort into stamping out crap breeding i’d like them a bit more 🙂
    [/quote]

    #68961
    Prem2Pram
    Member

    I’d like to see puppy farmers eradicated then there would be a better chance of not only improving certain breeds but reducing the number of pedigree / designer dogs that end up in rescue.

    Lets face decent breeders will always take back a dog and even if they are not in a position to do so, they will always help find the dog in question a suitable home.

    #68962

    the thing is farmers need dogs and so will always have left overs after they have chosen the pup/puppies from a litter so i’m not sure how puppy farms can be totally irradicated, i’m sure the majority of bog standard farmers don’t have health tested stock etc….correct me if i’m wrong  🙂

    #68963
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hi,

    Val – in some ways having rescue / rehoming services so readily accessible and (in most cases) free to use does not help matters as I have experienced people who have gone and bought PB dogs knowing full well they can get rid when they’re bored.  I think rescues could do more particularly as people call for puppies constantly – they are in an ideal position to educate before purchase as they rarely have puppies in anyway!

    Please dont confuse farmers breeding for work with puppy farmers.  Farmers with good animal husbandary skills and experienced shepherding and dog know how will breed good working bitches to get pups to bring on if they need an additional or replacement dog.  From my experience this type of farmer does understand a sheepdog is a working dog and will advertise and home appropriately.  If they are working sheepdogs and not border collies they cannot be KC reg but they can (if proven) be registered with ISDS who have their own measure of a dogs “worth / ability” for use.

    Like all breeders – there are a variety of skill / respectability levels !

    Its not only the Irish who seem to benefit from unwanted dog exports – increasing numbers are coming in from mainland europe too particularly spain and greece.  We have several UK rescues who exist almost exclusively on making a profit from homing irish dogs.  We also have organisations like Dogs Trust who take irish dogs themselves.  I’m not heartless – i’ve seen many many pictures of pound dogs from these countries and some suffering the most appalling treatment.  I would rather see people’s money being used to give these dogs a dignified and painless end rather than importing them here.

    There are VERY few rescue dog websites who have information / education about responsible breeding / health / temprament etc … That could be another source of good quality information for people.

    In the short there’s no way round this without more dogs being pts atleast in the short-med term 🙁

    Claire x

    #68964
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote author=piglet link=topic=12425.msg240420#msg240420 date=1221244910]
    Hi,

    Val – in some ways having rescue / rehoming services so readily accessible and (in most cases) free to use does not help matters as I have experienced people who have gone and bought PB dogs knowing full well they can get rid when they’re bored.  I think rescues could do more particularly as people call for puppies constantly – they are in an ideal position to educate before purchase as they rarely have puppies in anyway!
    :agree:

    Please dont confuse farmers breeding for work with puppy farmers.  Farmers with good animal husbandary skills and experienced shepherding and dog know how will breed good working bitches to get pups to bring on if they need an additional or replacement dog.  From my experience this type of farmer does understand a sheepdog is a working dog and will advertise and home appropriately.  If they are working sheepdogs and not border collies they cannot be KC reg but they can (if proven) be registered with ISDS who have their own measure of a dogs “worth / ability” for use.
    Kerry this is for you not me I know the difference  :ok:

    Like all breeders – there are a variety of skill / respectability levels !

    Its not only the Irish who seem to benefit from unwanted dog exports – increasing numbers are coming in from mainland europe too particularly spain and greece.  We have several UK rescues who exist almost exclusively on making a profit from homing irish dogs.  We also have organisations like Dogs Trust who take irish dogs themselves.  I’m not heartless – i’ve seen many many pictures of pound dogs from these countries and some suffering the most appalling treatment.  I would rather see people’s money being used to give these dogs a dignified and painless end rather than importing them here.
    Totally Agree

    There are VERY few rescue dog websites who have information / education about responsible breeding / health / temprament etc … That could be another source of good quality information for people.
    Most of them are run by people that haven’t a clue themselves so can’t see them being a good source of information

    In the short there’s no way round this without more dogs being pts atleast in the short-med term 🙁
    Thats the easy answer maybe now that the RSPCA are the goverments Welfare Act hero’s it should be them lobbying for stronger laws to shut puppy farms and maybe give the KC a bit more power to control breeders remember the KC have no power within the law they have the knowledge but not the power
    Val

    Claire x
    [/quote]

    #68965

    yep got that part was for me  :agree:

    #68966
    Anonymous
    Guest

    hi – oops yeh the 2nd para is coz it seemed like Kerry and Minpin were talking a bit at cross purposes 🙂

    Val – VERY good point re: ppl who run rescues there should be a “wry smile” smiley !! 

    claire x

    #68967

    nah i was just pointing out a huge area of puppy farms are farmers that sell extra collies, it seems to have become a standard suplement to their income i realise puppy farmers arn’t farmers that do puppies too…but they do alot laughs, but i think you know what i mean.

    was just highlighting an area that would be hard to control as there is still a need for frequent litters therefore the extra puppies need to go somewhere or be killed.

    all the farmers i know and i only know about 10 don’t do any kinda checks and don’t use vets for their dogs if they can’t work a shot gun will sort its retirement, several had a house dog more owned by their wives than them and they live in the house etc have a slightly different life, but i still don’t think they would use a vet, lots of them i knew lived hard lives and were very hard (scared the c=ap out of me when i was a kid, i wouldn’t look them in the eye and used to freak if they started a conversation with me)  ::)

    #68968
    *Nick*
    Member

    Some of the biggest ‘puppy farmers’ in Canada are the Mennonites (like the Amish in the States) . Unfortunately due to our ridiculous political correctness they are basically outside of our laws.

    #68969
    Prem2Pram
    Member

    [quote author=piglet link=topic=12425.msg240438#msg240438 date=1221248269]
    hi – oops yeh the 2nd para is coz it seemed like Kerry and Minpin were talking a bit at cross purposes 🙂

    claire x
    [/quote]

    Well I do know the difference between puppy farmers and farmers who breed working dogs for their own needs.

    Didn’t think I was typing cross purposed but hey ho if I was my bad …

    #68970

    nah minpin think it was my post that suggested i didn’t know, i just wasn’t explaining what i meant very well  🙂 nowt new there  ::)  🙂

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