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.
• 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
• 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.... !