Please read this article from this Saturday's Times.
Ask yourself - is the person writing being anti-pedigree dog or are they motivated by wanting to save dogs from future suffering?
Kennel Club's resistance may indicate we can't teach an old dog new tricks
The day after Pedigree Dogs Exposed was broadcast last August, I received an e-mail from a senior official at the Kennel Club. It read: “I just hope you will sleep soundly knowing that you have done nothing to progress the health of dogs.” Others accused us of sensationalism and bias. “Here’s a noose . . . go hang yourself,” wrote one German shepherd breeder on a forum. “If I ever meet you, I will shoot you,” wrote another.
Some people accused of us of withholding medication so that the epileptic boxer dog featured in the film would have seizures on cue for the camera. Yet we also received hundreds of phone calls, letters and e-mails of support, including many from individuals involved with the pedigree dog show world. They felt that the film was badly needed and would be a catalyst for change.
Pedigree Dogs Exposed was not an easy film to make and one of the biggest hurdles was persuading people to speak out. Much of the media coverage since then has been critical of the Kennel Club, which in turn criticised the “journalist mafia”. But the public simply recognises the truth of the film’s central claims — that inbreeding and breeding for beauty was damaging the dogs, and not enough was being done to address it. The question is, can you really teach an old dog new tricks?
There are signs that the Kennel Club is resistant to reform. In an interview with Dog World two weeks ago its secretary, Caroline Kisko, divulged that the organisation had banned canine mother and son, and brother and sister, matings “for PR reasons”. The truth is that the Kennel Club continues to dispute that the mating of close relatives is a problem, despite scientific evidence.
It has postponed plans for tackling the critical issue of genetic diversity. The Kennel Club has claimed recently that it is working with Imperial College London to address the issue. But Imperial College researchers confirmed this week that they have not heard from the Kennel Club since last September. It was also surprising to see a recent Kennel Club press release citing the support of Roger Mugford, an animal behaviourist. In it, Dr Mugford claims that selection for the show-ring has resulted in a marked improvement in the temperament of pedigree dogs. But he can produce no data to support this. The truth is that there is no scientific evidence to suggest this is the case. Equally, there have been some encouraging signs from the Kennel Club’s headquarters in Central London. It has stepped up training for judges — and bravely taken on some of the breeding clubs that are resisting change.
So which is it to be? The Kennel Club that still resists mandatory health testing for dogs, and frets about the “outside interference that plagues us” (as Ronnie Irving, the chairman, wrote recently)? Or one that recognises that everyone who cares for pedigree dogs has a right to a view on how we safeguard their future?
For the greatest dog show on earth is not taking place at the NEC next week. It is playing out on our farms, in our fields, on our streets and in our homes. It’s found in the border collie’s exquisite skill at moving sheep; in the bloodhound’s astonishing ability to track a week-old scent, in the consummate way a German Shepherd helps police a riot, in how a cavalier king charles spaniel curls up in the crook of your arm and chases away loneliness. This is pedigree dogs’ true beauty. And it cannot be judged in a ring at Crufts.
Written by Jemima Harrison is a producer at Passionate Productions, which made Pedigree Dogs Exposed
In summary, the piece contains a number of new pieces of information.
- The incest ban at the KC was a PR stunt.
- The KC still don't accept that close mating should cause breeders health concerns.
- Despite telling the world they're on the case of researching this issue, they haven't even talked to the experts at Imperial about researching inbreeding since September!
So who is acting against the interests of pedigree dogs. Is it Jemima for exposing the problems or is it the KC for not doing enough to solve them?
Would reading this article have inspired you to email everyone you know to complain about Jemima?
Vince Hogan, KC member and boss at weekly show dog paper Our Dogs found time this weekend to send emails to a huge number of people to urge them to contact the Times and put "their side".
Here's the email..
PEDIGREE DOG OWNERS SHOULD FIGHT BACK....says OUR DOGS newspaper.I am sure we're all delighted for Vince that his Boxer is healthy, it's what we'd all wish for all dogs. Sadly, as Vince must know, lots of Boxers have terrible heart problems and a dramatically increased risk of cancer - never mind epilepsy.
A call to fellow Pedigree Dog Owners.
Jemima Harrison is at it again. Go to the Times online.
..........look at this and reply if you can....with OUR SIDE!
That's if you agree there is another viewpoint.....you wouldn't think it if you read the British press!
I want to get as many dog people emailing the Times (or any other paper for that matter) with our side...I am fed up of people just printing the narrow, one sided, cleverly edited or written opinions of Jemima, or Beverley Cuddy or whoever.
Why do the British Press only seem to think that Jemima Harrison's opinion and dubious programme are correct?
Up until last August, no one had even heard of Jemima Harrison and now she gives the impression of being the crusader for pedigree dogs.
She has every right to her opinion, but it should not count for any more that yours or mine....but will we be asked?
Why do the general press turn to these people in their hour of need of a dog knocking article?
We all know we live in an age of sound bites...the more controversial the better and Jemima and Beverley turn up trumps every time.
No one seems to mention the hundreds of thousands of happy dogs and caring owners that have existed happily side by side for years.
In every walk of life, there will always be people who bring the rest of their hobby or pursuit into disrepute. But, for example, just because some athletes take drugs, it does not mean all athletes are cheats and the Olympics should be stopped , or whatever.
The same logic applies to dog breeders...some bad, a lot good, some fantastic! Jemima and those like her have to accept that we all have a right to enjoy superb events like Crufts, where dogs can be seen having a good time with their caring owners. It's a place where many will be learning about health issues, training, nutrition, and many aspects of caring dog ownership...yet these people knock it all the time, and of course are unlikely to attend to see the reality.
WE NEED TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. Please pass this on if you agree.....please write to these other papers as well as letters to the Editor at OUR DOGS.
I HAVE SENT A COPY TO MANY PEOPLE IN DOGS AS PART OF THIS EMAIL.
Editor in Chief
OUR DOGS NEWSPAPER
PS: Ironically I own a Boxer, bred by a caring breeder. The dog does not have fits and has been very healthy from the day it was born.
Why would Our Dogs choose to put itself on the opposite side to health reform and allege that to call for improvement is somehow to be anti-pedigree dogs?
And as a matter of accuracy, I've re-read Jemima's article several times and so far as I can see my name isn't mentioned anywhere - so why am I mentioned in Vince's email?
Is it his way of discouraging people from reading Jemima's article with an open mind? Is he saying it's only going to be nasty people like Jemima and I that have any problem with the KC's lack of meaningful action on inbreeding?
If you would like to comment on the Times article with what you think click here... unlike Vince I won't be telling you what to say!
After a load of Vince's mates were coached to post stuff that doesn't even try to relate to the article, there comes a really simple remark from someone called Mark in Selkirk.
"About time someone looked after man's best friend because the club think they know better than the scientists."
I'm guessing he's the only one that actually read the article!
This morning I had Vince on the phone and we had a lively exchange for some minutes. He dared me to print this email from him, so never being one to back down from a challenge here it is, in full.
BC..just in case you didn’t see the letter I wrote to people, here it is...as you can see, I clearly said:In summary, what I was saying back at the beginning of this VERY long blog is that really we shouldn't have sides. Having read Jemima's article everyone who loves dogs should be equally disappointed by the lack of action of COI and that the KC has been caught out yet again attempting to spin their way out of a tight spot rather than making sincere and sensible reforms. That by encouraging a 'them and us' Vince wasn't helping the image of progressive dog breeders.
That's if you agree there is another viewpoint.....you wouldn’t think it if you read the British press!
IF YOU AGREE THERE IS ANOTHER VIEWPOINT, THEN TAKE A STAND.......that's not coaching people..get real BC..OTHER PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS TO YOU!!!!
I would like to ask you to correct your incorrect assumptions on your blog please...if you have a fair mind. Your blog is no different to me writing a letter, we are sharing our views, and IF people agree, then fair enough.
Could your blog not be described as coaching in the same way? You are forcing your views on people on a daily basis.
Be fair for a change.
You have to agree that both you and Jemima get an inordinate amount of coverage, so it’s only fair that people with differing opinions to you get a chance..that’s all...we have both discussed this before. That's why you were mentioned..... I am not just limiting myself to this one article. E.G. The Independent the other day..who gets quoted? You do.
BC in her blog says: Why would Our Dogs choose to put itself on the opposite side to health reform and allege that to call for improvement is somehow to be anti-pedigree dogs? We haven’t: we just want a balanced debate....you know that as well as I do.
BEVERLEY THIS IS SO WRONG...how dare you make such an assumption?
As I said in my letter this weekend:
“We all know we live in an age of sound bites...the more controversial the better and Jemima and Beverley turn up trumps every time.”
and you immediately do the same thing again! You can’t resist!
I challenge you to have the guts to put all of this email on your blog, so your readers can see there are decent caring people, who take care of their dogs, that simply have a different view to you.
You and Jemima are very clever at promoting just one line of the discussion.
I, and more importantly many others (breeders, etc), are happy and willing to have genuine health issues sorted out, but your constant carping isn’t helping anyone. Try and be a bit more positive in life.
Look at some of the responses from the ‘other side’...are you being fair to them?
Yet again, she just doesn't get it.!! I love my dogs, I breed dogs and I show dogs, they are part of our family and I am just as proud of my dogs as I am my children? My dogs love to be in the ring, they love to meet other dogs, play have fun, what is wrong with that???
Helen Abbott, Evesham, UK
"Power without responsibility" once again Jemima!
Thoughts from the other side of the pond are, this is nothing but pure sensational. PDE has done not much good for purebred dogs. Some breeds do need some changes, I give them that, but what this program has done is nothing short of destroying a lot of breeds,nothing was gained but everything lost
L. Boettger, Toronto, Canada
Jemima please would you go to epupz and look up the the basset/shar pei cross - the most cruel and hideous cross i have ever seen --- advertised as healthier than bassets and shar peis. This is what your influence is creating. No health screening (I have enquired) and no accountability.
This program was so slanted towards sensationalism and away from factual scientific proof as to be nothing but a media charade. Unfortunately it has tarred all the responsible caring breeders with the same brush as the ones that Ms Harrison found...the few bad apples among the bushels of good ones.
susan shoemaker, la habra hts california, usa
You have said that the Boxer and CKCS you showed on your programme were not bred by show people, yet you blame their problems soley on show breeders, you have not mentioned the great lengths that a lot of show people go to to health test their breeding stock.
S Pirrie, Calne, Wilts
I am a responsible breeder. My dogs are health tested and extremely happy. First and foremost is their well being. I am getting rather tried and so I gather are others too of Jemima Harrison's incorrect details and tarring all breeders with the same brush. How about attacking the puppy farmers!
Jocelynne Cyprien, Llangollen, Wales
Why do you continue to discredit the work that the MANY GREAT BREEDERS AND SHOW ENTHUSIASTS are doing here in the UK! I am so tired of hearing that 'breeding for looks and ribbons' has been the ruination of the purebred dog. The show world has pushed for scientific advances for decades.
The presence of some irresponsible people breeding dogs does not mean that we all are. Genuine breeders always health test their dogs & their main concern is their welfare. Jemima's comments about my breed (ridgebacks) was wrong - they DO NOT have a form of spina bifida - research is available.
Lydia Cooper, Newry, Northern Ireland
It is a shame that all breeders are often lumped together - Dr Rusbridge's Syringomyelia research is supported by so many dedicated, caring breeders which is why she continues to help them unfunded. Unfortunately these efforts are undermined if some do not follow the recommended breeding guidelines.
Penny Knowler, Glasgow,
Sadly this woman is just promoting herself yet again. Go to Crufts, see for yourself, speak to the owners of the dogs - these dogs are much loved family pets who have a hobby - they go to dog shows and have fun. Please do not despise pedigree dog owners and breeders on the say so of one woman.
E Everest, Kent, England