Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Oh no, I've been outed as a championship show judge!

Tucked away on one of the old blogs is this comment just posted...

"You haven't mentioned the dog Wardens Association-they aren't going to Crufts in protest-Oh hang on a minute they never booked a stand next year so they are boycoting an event they were never going to attend anyway. Now that explans why you(A Kennel Club Championship Show judge of Bearded Collies)haven't mentioned them.Of course you ask all the exhibitors entered in the classes you judge if their dogs are fully health tested(including MDR 1).Yer like h*ll you do.I like to bet that this comment isn't shown on your blog "

Just thought I'd highlight it.

One of the reasons we campaign for a reform of the system is so that no judge will ever need to wonder if the dogs they judge are health tested. If we get what Sweden has, every dog shown will be the result of health tested parents - of sires that have been limited in the number of studs to increase genetic diversity.

Expecting judges to be the health police is a bit silly really, it will take a lot more than a wording change on a certificate to stop people rewarding exaggerations.

I haven't judged for donkey's years now, but would love to again as I do think it's important to do your bit and I love my breed with a passion. I always judge on movement primarily - I consider that much more important than any breed type issues. I reckon the farmers wanted a dog that could work all day and if it couldn't, it didn't matter how pretty their face was or how gorgeous their coat!

Pleased to hear about the Dog Wardens though - they normally go every year as poor old Cuthbert Jackson had to wear that dog suit. Wonder why they didn't tell us? Oh well we know now thanks to anonymous poster above!

And if you're wondering what MDR-1 is - here's some info from the Bearded Collie Club of America website:

You will remember that at the BCCA specialty last year Beardies were tested for the MDR-1 mutation. This is common in collies (rough and smooth), Australian Shepherds and several other breeds and renders them hypersensitive to certain drugs, most notably ivermectin, causing neurological symptoms. This is because these drugs are able to cross the so-called blood brain barrier and gain access to the Central Nervous System, which is most often protected to some extent from drugs and toxins in the general circulation.

I am happy to report that cheek swabs were collected from 97 Beardies. None of these showed the MDR-1 mutation. One sample was rejected because of insufficient cells on the sample. Given the size of the sample taken it seems unlikely that the MDR-1 mutation occurs in Bearded Collies. However, we do know that certain drugs can trigger autoimmune disease in our breed as well as many others with genetic susceptibility. One of the most commonly implicated drugs is ivermectin, so we do need to maintain our caution in using this and other drugs in our dogs.



And HOORAY - we're over the 1,000 signatures on the petition. Let's keep it going - please spread the word! 1016 as I post this.

Were you moved by Pedigree Dogs Exposed?
(the distressing documentary about the health of dogs shown on BBC1 in August?)

You may have heard that the RSPCA and Dogs Trust have since pulled out of Crufts in an attempt to encourage the Kennel Club to reform. If you would like to send a clear message to both the Kennel Club and to Government that change is urgently needed to stop future dogs from suffering then please sign this e-petition on the official 10 Downing Street site. The latest letters sent out from DEFRA suggest they haven't yet heard from enough of the general public to make this issue significant. Please do all you can to change their perspective!

Here's the petition wording:

Following the powerful Pedigree Dogs Exposed documentary on
BBC1 the Kennel Club still seems reluctant to grasp the nettle,
face the problems and reform itself. The program revealed it
urgently needs to bring in mandatory minimum standards on
levels of inbreeding, make health testing mandatory, prevent
unhealthy physical exaggerations being rewarded and stop the
culling of healthy non-standard pups by changing breed
standards. The KC continually complains that it lacks the
backing of legislation to bring in these urgent and much needed
reforms, so we the undersigned urge the Prime Minister please
instigate legislation to ensure pedigree dogs are saved from
unnecessary future suffering.

If you would like to add your name to this petition please go to this link:
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ReformtheKC/

If you'd like to know more about the issues raised by the TV programme, follow the petitioner's blog for all the latest developments http://coldwetnose.blogspot.com/
For example, did you know that the Cavalier Club are holding a Special General Meeting to expel one of their members from the health committee. Had they chosen to expel the woman who knowingly bred 20 plus litters from a dog affected by syringomyelia - the disease that was so memorably described on TV as "like a having a brain like a size 10 foot stuffed into a size 6 shoe," we'd all be very happy - but still no action has been taken against that breeder who used the affected dog at stud twice more after the documentary makers confronted her on camera! But no, astonishingly, the club instead plan to expel Margaret Carter, the brave lady who revealed on camera that this dog had been diagnosed with SM and that the owner had been advised not to breed from him. The meeting will be held at Yew Lodge Hotel, Kegworth, 12 noon Sunday 5th October.
Address: Packington Hill, Kegworth, Derbyshire, DE74 2DF
Telephone: (01509) 672518
Fax: (01509) 674730

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