Today I got an email from one of our merry band of photographers. He'd just rung up Crufts press office and was surprised by the response.
"I was set to go up tomorrow and do day 1, so just phoned the press office to check something about parking, and have been told that I wouldn’t be allowed in as press on behalf of Dogs Today due to events last year. I wasn’t even aware of any issues last year."
Had one our photographers got up to no good last year? Had they been asking the top dogs to slip out of their collars, had they been moonlighting for Playdog? We asked the KC for a statement and were told, "Caroline would be sending one along presently." Presumably that's Caroline Kisko - KC supremo.
We never got one, but we did receive this email!
"I’m afraid we are not going to be able to provide you with a comment. We believe that Beverley knows why we would not wish to register Dogs Today at Crufts and so do not feel we need to re-iterate this.
Crufts Press Office"
I wrote back:
I'm sorry but I have no idea why you are refusing to admit our photographers! So far as I can see, every year I call for the KC to reform its health policies yet this year you seem to have decided to ban us, rather than reform yourselves!
Clarification is needed to explain your new response to criticism.
To which I have yet to receive a reply.
The dummy does seem to have been thrown quite firmly out of the pram. They'll be burning copies of our magazines next! At least we didn't compare the KC to the Klu Klux Klan like Peta did! (Click here)Wonder what punishment they got - bet even they've not had their press passes ripped up!
At the risk of further sanctions I'm going to tell you something else about the KC and dog health!
This week we discovered that the KC's much criticised Accredited Breeder Scheme appears to have been further watered down. (Perhaps it should now be renamed their Discredited Breeders Scheme?)
We had an application from an Accredited Breeder to advertise her pups via Dial-a-Dog (click here). We have a strict criteria for each breed as to which health tests need to be performed and as this breeder very definitely didn't do the tests we looked into how she could claim to be Accredited. She was. It seems according to this breeder that now the KC just "strongly advise" testing - she said it is no longer a condition of being an Accredited Breeder. When did that happen? And more importantly - why? And if we ask them - would they tell us as they seem to have completely sent us to Coventry!
I'm afraid we had to refuse the KC accredited breeder - but how many members of the public would be fooled into imagining an Accredited Breeder would be doing all the required health tests?
I have to say I'm surprised that they've bothered to ban us this particular year and no other - we have pretty much been saying precisely the same thing for the last 18 years! We'd love to stop - but that would require them to evolve, to improve, to listen?
Maybe the message has finally got through? Just in case it hasn't and there's any room for ambiguity...
It's time to stop breeding ignorance - reform the KC registration system now, make health testing mandatory and do it soon - before it's too late for so many of our beloved breeds. Other younger Kennel Clubs have been doing what we ask for 20 or more years. Every day we get calls from people with pet dogs that are suffering - the perception that KC registration is a mark of quality still exists. I would love to celebrate the day when that perception becomes a reality!
Don't forget to read the latest blog which continues on from here... click here