Friday, 22 August 2008

Pedigree Dogs Exposed Day 4

Today I met a 12 year old girl who didn't even have a dog. She had seen the BBC1 documentary with her Gran and she could remember seemingly every frame. She had cried so much and now wanted to do something to help the dogs. Her mum cleans for us and she been brought to our house as it was school holidays.
This girl didn't know what I did for a living and she didn't recognise me from the programme, we just discussed it as if we had both just watched it fresh.
It struck me how much it had moved and motivated this little girl who previously had no opinions on pedigree dogs or the Kennel Club. The four million other people who had watched were probably still talking about it too and still wanting to help change things.
We must get organised and decide what we want - is ratifying the European Convention for Pet Animal Rights the way to go? We know the KC hate it - but is that enough motivation for pushing the Government to sign it?
It's a blunt instrument in many ways.
I think we need the KC to implement the things we've discussed on the blog - and quickly. There are now two petitions - but neither has the wording that completely sums up all that is needed to be done. I think we should get the wording bang on and then do the 10 Downing Street e-petition when the PM is back from his hols early Sept. There have been calls for a demonstration to show the KC that the public aren't going to forget about this - but I'm afraid this might get taken over by extremists as passions are running very high.
Others are writing to MPs - which is good. Some of our lovely readers are even writing to Pedigree and telling them their dogs are boycotting their gravy bones until they take their message of support off the KC genetics site!
I've been asked to write an open letter to good breeders in show dog paper Our Dogs this week - what would you say to best effect?
What do you suggest we do next to keep the pressure up?

3 comments:

Isla said...

Just wanted to say that I have only just had time to sit down and watch the BBC program (I have been following the aftermath on your blog and although I knew it would be difficult viewing I have been dying to find time to watch it)and I am absolutely appalled! Even though as a long time regular Dogs Today reader I knew about the scale of problems in pedigree dogs and the KCs refusal to admit there is a problem I just can't believe how cruel, pig headed and stupid some of those so-called breed experts were.
I will certainly be signing any petition that you start regarding this horrendous situation.

As for the impact the documentary has had on people, well I have overheard many people in my works coffee room discussing it this week. The majority of these people are "non-doggy" folk but it was obvious how much the program had affected them and how incredulous they were that such practices go on (these are all people with a science background and probably a fair amount of genetics knowledge).

I really hope that this sparks the beginnings of some radical changes in the pedigree dog world.

Anonymous said...

As A Scottish BBC watcher I have only just seen the programme this evening and am horrified and deeply upset at what I saw. The KC spokespeople were absolutely full of s*** and angered me beyond belief. If they so chose they could make a marked difference and change standards and implement compulsory health checks.

Manda Scott said...

If you're writing something to be read by breeders, I'd give them constructive ways forward and assure them we're all working for the better welfare of dogs, but that the time for extreme breeding practises is over.

As a matter of urgency, we need:

1. to re-write the breed standards taking into account current veterinary welfare issues. It will take some time for the more extreme breeds to conform, and some of them may never do - that's a decision to be made by the breeders.

2. we need also to begin to work towards more genetic diversity within all breeds. It's no longer good enough to say that 'I've been breeding for 40 years and I don't want any scientist telling me what to do' (?!?) As breeders, they are practising genetics with every litter they breed. They use techniques that, when laid down, were the cutting edge of science. But science has moved on and they have a moral and ethical duty to keep themselves informed. It is *vital* that we begin to reduce the coefficient of inbreeding in all our breeds. And we need to educate the public to understand that line-breeding is no longer the way to guarantee good stock. Too many 'hobby' breeders practise it because it's 'what the big girls (and boys) do'

Finally, we need to look seriously at the number of puppies being bred - and find ways to reduce them. Which is why I'm cautious about the Queen Elizabeth Cavalier Spaniel. It's not a bad idea (I'd use a whippet in the outcross), but there would have to be a serious decrease in the numbers of King Charles pups bred to go along with it.

and yes, a petition to Downing Street. I despise this government, but they're desperate for populist measures. This might just be one...

Good luck

Manda Scott