I think I may have been hoping for too much, I'd built Professor Bateson up to be the doggie version of Ironman. I'd visualised him fighting his way through all the bullshit and saving the world of dogs single handed.
But maybe it was always a tad unrealistic.
(I've always been a sucker for knights on white chargers doing the decent thing and good triumphing over evil etc etc... romantic fool that I obviously am!)
My first instinct on skim-reading his recommendations was - he really needed a damn good edit! These should have been his notes rather than his master plan.
He looks to have been overwhelmed by the problems, he's obviously been terribly shocked by the things discovered by Pedigree Dogs Exposed and then plunged even further into despair by the terrible mess and suffering elsewhere in almost every area of the doggie world.
But sadly his proposed solutions are fudge. Nice fudge, but fudge.
One TV reporter on the scene phoned me to say, "But what is he actually saying? It doesn't seem anywhere near as exciting as he'd made it sound beforehand."
We'd guessed at what he was probably going to propose and aimed too high – his solutions weren't anywhere near as smart as the ones we'd hoped he'd come up with!
After all, we've spent 20 plus years of thinking about these problems. Patrick Bateson has only recently encountered this strange world - so is it any real wonder that his conclusions were a bit less evolved than we'd hoped?
But I guess if I was the Kennel Club I'd be really delighted that it was all so dully written and uninspiring and confused.
If I'd paid someone to look at my business and they ended up telling everyone that I really needed someone else to look over my shoulder as I couldn't be trusted to behave ethically, I'd be pretty upset. If they then embedded those criticisms in a turgid report that sent people to sleep I'd be hugely relieved!
Will anyone actually read Bateson's report in sufficient detail to get the nuances? It is after all only recommendations and if the KC can't be trusted to do the right thing, well what are the chances....!
What's the bit the press will remember, "Joanna Lumley should tell everyone how to buy a dog." Mind-blowing.
Where's the meat?
Where's the puppy contracts?
They'd solve so very much more that re-inventing a flawed accredition system in or outside of the KC. And they can happen NOW! No need for legislation changes.
Bateson pointed out in his summing up that pedigree dogs are twice as likely to get cancer as mongrels - so where's the actual action point for that? Why not tell the KC to stop grandparent to grandchild matings now - they stopped direct-incest almost overnight. It can be done.
He left them able to spin this in their repsonse:
“The Kennel Club has long recognised that genetic diversity plays a crucial role in safeguarding the health of dogs and the report is absolutely right to suggest that there are no further blanket rules in place but that decisions are based upon scientific knowledge and are made on a breed by breed basis.”
So another 20 years till we'll see ANY action then. And only then it"ll only be threatened as a punishment in breeds like the Cesky Terrier, where potentially critical journalists figure large!
Less words and clearer directions would have been a whole lot more effective.
We needed a clear road map out of the mess.
What we got is yet another picture of the mess.
And who is going to sit next to the KC telling them which way to go?
Certainly no one that might actually have half a clue how to get out of this mess - no one that might have the audacity to point out the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes or anything else they don't want to hear.
Come to think of it, I could do a Jack Russell Grant and tell you exactly who would be on there if they are to bite the bullet.
The song, "we're on the road to nowhere..." comes to mind.
I was so hoping to say it was a historic day for dogs.
Where's a white knight when you need one...?