If indeed it is the fear of what DEFRA may be about to impose that is driving the KC into a corner, I have route map out of it for them!
1. Stop looking at breeders - just look at accrediting individual litters. Breeders tend to be inconstant. They may test everything possible for one litter but they might be tempted next time into using an untested dog if they really like it or have an accident. They can get old, lose the plot or just get short of dosh. Just look at the dogs and then you make no claims for the breeder's behaviour that you can't verify.
2 Create a second level of registration - a gold standard. Publicise this and the benefits it brings to the buying public.
3 Don't go charging the good breeders extra for this new registration, fund a more meaningful registration scheme by charging the people who don't qualify a lot more for basic registration. Make it a tax on poor breeding. Give breeders a financial incentive to test, a reward for good behaviour. Perhaps in time make it very hard for people to breed on from dogs with only basic registration? Maybe insisting they test that dog and have good results before their progeny can join the higher level of registration?
4. Elevate the bar. Follow our exisiting model in Dial-a-dog! Insist on sensible and available health tests, check they've been done and start reprimanding people who knowingly breed from dogs with known hereditary health issues. Forget the KC telling people off for swearing at judges, I think knowingly breeding from two dogs with serious hereditary eye problems is bringing the world of pedigree dogs into disrespect. (Historical note: This recently happened in Labradors and the KC defended the Accredited breeder for doing this!)
I doubt they'll take any advice from me - but doesn't this seem a lot more sensible and easier to administer than the ABS? Isn't it more likely to work as the good breeders get the recognition they deserve without being used as a profit centre for the KC.
Make these registration certs look lovely so the pet people get the message that these are very well bred dogs and put a bit of gold on them. Make people proud to have done their best for the future of dogs. Talk to the public and warn them that if they don't go for gold they are taking a risk and that gold registered dogs may cost a bit more - but they're worth it.
What do you think - perhaps I should stand for Chairman of the Kennel Club? It really can't be all that difficult to steer that ancient creaky leaking ship into something approaching the right direction.