Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A year off for bad behaviour?

As end of term reports go, the APGAW (the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare) enquiry into dog breeding certainly shows tremendous room for improvement.
The documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed is credited with inspiring the investigation, but surely the fact that the Kennel Club had very dramatically run off to Ofcom complaining they’d been unfairly treated by the programme should have given the committee the heads up that this was an institution very firmly in denial of its own failings.
The committee seems to have broadly upheld the show’s findings, but also, when it looked deeper, they found the whole dog breeding system in Britain to be lacking. The deeper they looked, the smellier it all got.
I fully expected the review to discover the depressing mayhem which has kept me awake at nights, but what I was rather hoping was they'd also inspire a bit of inspiration and leadership as to how we can sort all this out.
Giving the KC a year to sort itself out is tremendously optimistic and short-sighted.
I’m afraid I just don’t have that much faith in the existing system being capable of reforming itself. Especially as it obviously doesn’t yet fully accept there is a problem and they are part of it!
Very charitably APGAW have given the KC 12 months to rise to the challenge of changing its pedantically round spots
I sense this has nothing to do with the MPs on the task force glimpsing a new reforming fervour emerging from the grass roots at the KC. Depressingly, I think it has a lot more to do with political realism.
How can this Government - in the midst of the blackest dog of depression - be persuaded to tackle long overdue breeding reform legislation? Would it win them the next election? Are they going to tackle any thorny subjects that aren't massive vote grabbers before the next election?
I reckon the committee thought there was a better chance of success if they put this topic on hold for a year - hoping that the political pack will be reshuffled sufficiently by then for there to be a cat in hell’s chance of getting an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act.
Deep down we all know consumer legislation is what is needed - right from the vile council-approved battery farms to the plain batty extremists in the show world.
In Sweden a simple consumer law change improved things forever. It made breeders financially responsible for any health problems occurring in the first three years of a dog’s life. It instantly made passive, unprofessional dog breeding a very financially unattractive prospect. And it made dog show breeders more accountable for undue exaggeration and preventable hereditary disease.
I’d love someone to reform the crusty old Kennel Club, to clean up the cliquey Welsh councils who continue to license horrific breeding kennels and try make vets keep their over-demanding unethical customers under control - but the poor long-suffering British dog simply won’t survive for the 100 years that would probably take going by their current level of progress.
I have my money on Professor Bateson’s review going that confident step further and hopefully persuading some nice politicians to give this very deserving dog a home.
Change the law and you'll change everything.

Here's the report if you've got a full tea pot and a packet of biscuits.

Here's a link to the coverage in today's Times.

Here's Jemima Harrison's response to the report, Jemima is of course the creator of Pedigree Dogs Exposed:

The spinmeisters of Clarges St are clinging to the few morsels of comfort offered to the KC in the APGAW report. But make no mistake - this is a totally damning indictment of the mess pedigree dogs have ended up in under the KC’s watch. The KC has always deflected criticism by accusing its critics of bias, but now an independent report by an all-party group of MPs has also found a “serious welfare problem” that requires “urgent action”.
Indeed, the MPs have decided that the KC is so incapable of driving through the necessary reform on its own that it advises an independent dog authority – and wants to put the KC on a year’s probation.

Further:

• It is palpable nonsense for the KC to claim that the KC has taken measures to ensure that dog owners are “fully aware” of the problems and how to minimise the risk.

• It is astonishing that the KC continues to peddle the ABS as the benchmark when the Report remarked on the low standards adopted by some ABS breeders – and specifically pointed out that the public may be being deceived into thinking a puppy from an accredited breeder will be free of health and
welfare problems.

• The KC has glossed over APGAW’s strong calls for tougher health testing both as a condition of registration and of winning rosettes, suggesting that the report supports the KC’s current softly-softly approach. This is a real distortion of APGAW’s findings.

• The KC has also misrepresented APGAW ‘s findings regarding the role of dog shows and has chosen to ignore the MPs’ sharp criticism of More4 for broadcasting Crufts 2010.

However, and regardless of the KC’s face-saving spin, the rollercoaster of reform is, surely, now unstoppable and that is very good news for dogs.”


And here's a link to the Kennel Club.... !



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

i wholeheartedly support reform in dog breeding, but how can anyone be held liable for something going wrong in the first 3 years of a dogs life? we're not talking about machinery, and frankly there is almost no amount of genetic health testing that can beat mother nature 100% of the time. living animals are subject to real life problems even when breeders and owners do their best to breed from health tested stock.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that this issue is getting more publicity! I am a long time breeder of dogs, and I also show them, and for years I have wished for a way to inform the public about the pitfalls of buying from puppy farmers who do not health test their stock.

This new criteria regarding packets and contracts is what I have been doing for years. I supply my puppy buyers with info containing the health tests of both parents, as well as the pedigree, vaccination and vet check info. I also endorse my pet quality puppies to make them less attractive for breeding.

I am so glad that show breeders finally have the chance to shine and be set apart from those who breed for the wrong reasons.

Thanks for sharing Beverly!

In the pink said...

Mmm strange last line from the previous poster 'I'm glad show breeders have the chance to shine and be set apart from those who breed for the wrong reasons'?!? Plenty of show breeders breed for 'the wrong reasons' - to exagerate characteristics and to earn money. Do show breeders give their 'pet quality' pups away to pet people...I think not! The rustle of paper money is the prime mover. Who defines a 'pet quality' pup. Shouldn't these show breeders with all their health testing be producing 100% show quality pups? Not inferior 'pets'??? This post is made a little tongue in cheek (in case you haven't guessed) before I upset anyone. But this 'them and us' situation is half of the problem. ANYONE who breeds should be meeting the most exacting standards - show people are not superior beings!We should all be working together to make ALL dog breeding ethical.

Anonymous said...

postcard on the notice board in my vets waiting room this evening "Scotichon" (Scottish Terrier X Bichon Frise) £550, also available, "Parschons" Parson Jack Russel Terriers X Bichon £450, reading in 4 weeks. So tell me do such people breed them for health or for money? when I asked my vet he said he didnt think they had any health checks for them, Will this Committe even think that such problem breeder exist? The Taglne on the advert was "cute bundles of fun", not much say of fit for purpose, just a back yard breeder making a quick buck on guilable public

On the brink said...

In all of the litters I have bred over the years there are puppies which suit the show ring and some that do not, for various reasons. Obviously no one could keep all the puppies they raise, and so some must be re-homed as purely beloved pets or to families who are interested in dog shows. And pet puppy does not mean inferior, just not ideal for showing.

And even when breeding from ''top quality'' dogs there are puppies who do not live up to expectations. I recently a disease pop up in a young dog who has several generations of health tested lines on both sides, and a miniscule COI. It was heartbreaking but you can only do what is best and hope for the best.

Would it make the last post'er happier if I gave the puppies away? Would that make me a more ethical breeder? I am lucky to come close to breaking even on my expenses when I raise a litter of puppies.

The only ''them and us'' are the good breeders and the bad. And the only good breeders I know are show breeders.