Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Crufts, the BBC and bear baiting

According to an automatic email that dropped into my inbox this morning, Ryan O'Meara (Editor of K9 on line magazine) has just received this email from Nick Vaughan-Barratt, Executive Editor, BBC Events:

"I am sorry you feel the BBC should not be covering Crufts because you believe it is cruel to dogs. I appreciate the points you have raised and I accept that some people feel that events of this kind cause suffering. However, the fact remains that many other people see them in quite a different light and coverage of Crufts has always attracted a very appreciative audience.

The BBC has a duty to provide licence payers with a wide variety of programmes and as long as events like this remain freely practised, responsibly governed, and attract a significant level of public support, we will continue to cover them. This does not mean that we are taking sides on a controversial issue (in fact we are prevented from doing so by our Charter), it merely reflects our concern to serve the legitimate interests of our audience.’

Nevertheless, I appreciate the strength of your views on this issue. Accordingly, I would like to assure you that I have registered your comments on our audience log. This daily report of audience feedback is circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. They are also published on the BBC’s intranet site, so are available for all BBC staff to view."

Thank you again for your interest in the BBC and for taking the trouble to contact us.

Ryan comments:

"The facts are in 2003 a dog won Crufts which had to cool down on a bed of ice when having his photographs taken. By any stretch of the imagination, it would be hard to call such a dog ‘perfectly healthy’ - dogs are not meant to need ice to cool down, they should have that function ‘built-in’."
Mr Vaughan-Barratt wrote: "The fact remains that many other people see them in quite a different light and coverage of Crufts has always attracted a very appreciative audience."
Wind the clock back and the same could be said about dog fighting, bear baiting and carnival freak-shows."

Hear hear Ryan!

I'm going to highlight another petition...

Encourage the BBC to stop televising Crufts

and don't forget our one...

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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