With the whole nation already unsettled by the economic crisis, there is still no place on earth experiencing more turbulent times than the dog world.
It's unsurprising as normally there is gradual, organic evolution rather than huge leaps of progress. But sadly, many decades ago, the Kennel Club chose the path of extreme conservatism and those doddery old fools are now long gone . But they set the culture of a snail’s pace for change and built a regime that lacked direction and spark. There’s so much catching up that needs to be done in such a very desperate hurry.
This period of change will inevitably be quite rough around the edges, as the KC will be learning to govern after years of being relatively hands off. And as they are learning they are having to change, too - patterns of behaviour that are self-destructive and short term. In recent months they've done far more spinning than we've ever seen on Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice combined!
Along the way they may well trample on a few toes, flatten a few egos – but there is not going to be time to explain why or how high everyone needs to jump to avoid the runaway train that has now broken free.
Think of it like the difference between how Government behaves in a war and at peacetime. Everyone is meant to get behind the PM when there is a serious threat and opposition parties call an amnesty on point scoring, too.
This is life and death for many of the breeds that have become genetically or physically compromised and it’s not too dramatic to say this is also a fight for survival for the hobby of dog showing, too. You can’t underestimate this. The public has been awoken and they aren't going to get back into their box no matter how many breeders roll up their copies of Dog World and shout.
The documentary dragged some real shockers out of the show world’s closet and they were undeniably ghastly when we all saw them pin sharp on our TV screens. A wake-up call was needed and there are still areas of warped logic that need urgent, radical questioning and reform before the public will trust that the show world will stop doing things that are undeniably cruel.
It’s time to welcome the new broom – take action before they are outed and start saving themselves.
It’s time for the show world to clean up their act and stop the ancient and perverse anomalies dragging everyone else down. They shouldn't bitch about the KC making them change – they need to start volunteering to evolve.
I am confident that the majority of people who show dogs will appreciate the new era of KC rule when they got over the shock of the new. That they would welcome a system where good practice is the norm – where they aren't rubbing shoulders with puppy farmers.
But for this to happen it needs to be a genuine, deep clean of the system and not a cosmetic one.
We and they know the failings of the Accredited Breeder Scheme all too well and they need to be tackled before membership of the scheme becomes compulsory if the new improved KC is to have any credibility.
The KC appears to have admitted it has a massive problem to resolve, they sound like they are now intent on getting on with it - so I think we should all give them all our support. And when I say we, I mean everyone who loves dogs – no matter whether they be show or pet owners.
It is hard to accept the KC can have had such an abrupt light bulb moment of realisation, but forensic examination of their motivation for such a dramatic conversion is pretty pointless.
The announcement of working with the Dogs Trust on a complete review of the dog world is pretty obviously the catalyst.
While Dogs Trust is obviously the softer option to work with - at least it is someone with a reputation to lose will be keeping an eye on them. But Dogs Trust are going to have to wake up and smell the coffee if they're going to do the job properly. That email sent out to supporters telling them they were pulling out of Crufts is still giving me the shivers...
"We know that the majority of breeders prioritise good health and temperament in their dogs and are responsible in their breeding methods."
That is patently not the case and if they aren't going to question misleading statistics they're going to be a pretty useless guard dog. (To recap: When only 60,000 Labradors have ever been tested for hip dysplasia in the 30 years the scheme has been going - bearing in mind the KC registers 45,000 new Labs every year that's a huge scary majority untested in a breed with a huge problem! Only 6% of Gundogs registered in the last quarter were from the flawed Accredited Breeder scheme... it's the vast majority bred that are from completely untested stock.)
But now is not the time for splinter groups and breakaways. Other nations who have ended up with multiple registries now have even worse problems than we do. Countries with strong progressive KCs seem almost idyllic on every dog welfare issue.
If our Kennel Club continues to reform and governs the world of dogs with health and welfare as their first priority we should all get behind it.
But if this is just a cynical new improved version of PR spin then they will have let our best friends down so incredibly badly this time. It will be so totally unforgivable - a million times worse than simply not doing something sensible in the first place.
If there is even a small chance that this new improved KC is genuine, I’m going to stop shooting and call a truce. This is the KC’s big chance to step up to the mark and make 2008 the most significant year in its history.
I suggest we try to minimize our grumbles at how bumpy the ride might be and just be pleased they’ve finally got the blooming car started!
Keep signing the petition though... I may be an optimist, but I do favour a back-up plan!
If you would like to add your name to this petition please go to this link: