Tuesday, 7 October 2008

You read it here first...

....and now it's on the KC website, too!

Let's hope this really is a sincere attempt at improving doggie health and not just a quick bit of lipstick to stop Crufts being ostracised.... Let's keep nipping at their heels to make sure they do this properly. Getting a survival plan for 209 breeds before Christmas sounds a very tall order indeed - certainly it would be if you wanted to do it properly. Don't forget the petition though.... without pressure I can't imagine we'd ever have seen even 1% of this action. Bizarrely we're asking to give the KC precisely what they are now asking for - legislation so they can get tougher... it's a funny old world isn't it!

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:

Kennel Club to Clamp Down on Breeders to Safeguard Health of Pedigree Dogs


The Kennel Club is launching a complete review of every pedigree dog breed in the UK in a move that will have far-reaching benefits for the health of many breeds. It has also called on the government to give it the statutory powers to clamp down on breeders who fail to make a dog’s health their top priority.

A breed health plan will be coordinated for each of the UK’s 209 pedigree breeds and will benefit from the extensive research that has been funded by the Kennel Club in conjunction with renowned veterinary research centres over the past 40+ years. This will include updated breed standards to ensure that no dog is bred for features that might prevent it from seeing, walking and breathing freely. Judges will be fully briefed on the new breed standards so that only the healthiest dogs are rewarded in the show ring.

The Kennel Club is releasing the first of these new breed standards today, for the Pekingese, and has taken a tough line with the breed following extensive and abortive consultations. This is set to radically improve the health of the Pekingese which for nearly a hundred years was bred to have a flat face; a feature which can lead to breathing problems; under the new health plan the breed will be required to have a defined muzzle.

The breed health plans, which are scheduled to be completed by early next year, will also incorporate the results of a thorough, ongoing analysis of the health status and genetic diversity of each breed, drawing on results from the world’s largest dog health survey, conducted by the Animal Health Trust and funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust in 2004. This will ensure that breeders and buyers are aware of the health tests that should be carried out for each breed. The final part of the plans will look at ways breeders can expand the gene pool of the breed.

In order to ensure that the plans are effective and reach all dogs, the Kennel Club has called on the government to give it statutory powers to make its established Accredited Breeder Scheme compulsory throughout the country. If successful, this would mean that all breeders who are not part of the scheme and who have not officially confirmed their willingness to follow the health standards set by the Kennel Club would be unable to produce or sell puppies within the law.

Additionally, breed clubs are now required to adopt the Kennel Club’s Code of Ethics, to ensure that their practices fall in line with Kennel Club policy for putting the health and welfare of puppies first. This includes a clause that explicitly forbids the compulsory culling of healthy puppies.

To complement these steps the Kennel Club is developing plans for a new Canine Genetics Centre. This will be run in conjunction with the Animal Health Trust, confirming the Kennel Club’s commitment to research into inherited diseases and the provision of DNA testing programmes which identify the genes underlying inherited health problems.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The groundswell of public attention on the very important matters surrounding dog breeding is a welcomed momentum that will enable us to drive through, with added urgency, new and extended initiatives that will help to safeguard the health of our pedigree dogs. We have been listening and agree with the general public’s view that more needs to be done.

“Steps such as our breed health plans will enable us to ensure that the health of every dog is the number one priority and we are taking a tougher line with breed clubs by adjusting those breed standards that fail to promote good health. By asking the government for statutory powers we will be able to take a tougher line with all breeders and breed clubs that fail to abide by our high standards. This in turn will enable us to extend the reach of our Accredited Breeder Scheme, which is the quality control mechanism within our registration process, so that all dogs will be bred by people who abide by our stringent rules and regulations for the breeding of healthy, happy dogs.

“We have been working hard in recent years to identify and address health problems that exist in dogs, and we are taking advantage of the opportunities that advances in science have given us to improve dog health. We look forward to continuing our work with various institutions and organisations that share the same objective: to protect the health and welfare of all dogs.”


Julie Hill said...

Really great news - I hope it does happen.
Just a thought though - when do the new standards and new judging come into effect in the show ring? If they are in effect for Crufts, dogs that have won their way in on the old criteria will suddenly not be acceptable. Will there have to be a lot of rosettes withheld?
Should be an interesting one!

Julia said...

This certainly looks like excellent news - provided it means what it appears to be saying. It is certainly well overdue and due credit should be given to Jenima Harrison for brining the issues to the public's attention and sparking the discussion that has led to this. But it makes one wonder how they suddenly seem to be able to take action when only a few weeks ago they were saying that they couldn't do this for fear of alienating many of the breeders. As Julie Hill says, it will be interesting to see what it means for dog shows if they suddenly change the breed standards. And perhaps if it had come sooner the Cavalier club members who voted Margaret Carter out at the weekend might have had a change of heart.

And while we're on the subject of dog shows, why, in an age when neutering is the socially acceptable thing to do and has proven health benefits, can you not enter a neutered dog in a KC show? After all, they couldn't breed from Red Rum, but it didn't prevent him from winning the Grand National.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, but making the accredited breeders scheme compulsory is a bit worrying! It's a farce as it is!

alfmcmalf said...

As much as it really pains me to desist from my usual sarcastic comments I feel that now is the time to get behind this new concerted drive from the KC. We have to applaud it albeit with one very very close eye on its actual substance. If I could spell it I would be saying alleluyah alleluyah.

Anonymous said...

This is such amazing news. I wish, though, they had allowed longer than from now until Christmas to do the health review review of all the pedigree dogs.
I don't see how it would be possible to do this properly in such a short time.
However, the fact that they have announced it really is a turnaround.
Congratulations Jemima, Beverly and the two Cavalier ladies.

Allison Black said...

About time to - its a shame that these steps had to be taken to bring this to the publics attention. As a rescuer ive already seen the effect of the program, people are now asking me for a mongrel ! instead of a pedigree! Well done to Margaret and Beverly for fighting for justice, you can hold your heads up high and be very proud of what you have sought and achieved. Dogs are our best friends and should be treated a lot better.