Thursday, 14 January 2010

Less Ironman, more fudgeman

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.
In-breeding.
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...?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had similar conclusion a lot of waffling and not a lot proactivness solutions. Nothing much will change just more suffering for the dogs.
Very disheartened that the battle has to continue.

Anonymous said...

Saw your interviewon Sky News, not sure which worse the messy office or the Beardie that look like it needed good groom.

Anonymous said...

thats not a fair comment...beardies are a lot of work and not everyone has time to keep them properly groomed. beverly is very busy.

Chapstaff said...

Strange how some people pick up on the totally unimportant stuff isn't it!

In the pink said...

surely a ban on puppies being sold by those other than the breeder would eliminate much of the puppy farming trade in one fell swoop and be fairly easy to control? It is the dealers who are trading puppies - few have ever bred themselves [thank goodness]Okay so puppy farmers might still operate but far easier to track down if they had to sell the pups themselves without shuffling them on.

In the pink said...

PS To the twit worrying about the state of the office - your prime concern should be the topic discussed as it is so serious.

Blackshuck said...

I was impressed by the recommendations but not read the full report in detail yet.

"The creation of an independent non-statutory Council to develop breeding strategies which address issues of inherited disease, extreme conformation and inbreeding."

A council, independent of the KC, to oversee breeding and associated dog welfare issues - is exactly what we need, I would have thought.

I would also suggest more research into what people are expecting when they buy a dog - ie what compels them to buy an expensive designer crossbreed over a rescue mutt. What expectations do they have that the first will differ from the last? The Journal of Veterinary Behaviour presents a study from the US showing that mixed breed dogs that were described as 'collie cross' or 'lab cross' etc because of their appearance, frequently had absolutely none of the assumed breeds in their genetic mix, when DNA tested. What expectations does the described breed mix set up in the owner? What other societal pressures are on people to obtain a puppy from a particular source? Or is it all about immediacy, can't wait, easiest option, no questions asked etc etc?

Anonymous said...

this is the first report that covers cross breeds and mongrels yet and yet no one reports that, they after all are the ones that fill up most rescue kennels, I hope the Dogs Trust push for the recommendations to cover this area of dogs, it will be interesting if the RSPCA will even consider that point they seem only interested in pedigrees which are not the main problem of dog welfare and rescue.

Manda Scott said...

Sounds like it's time to take up the other idea sounded out in this month's magazine- someone needs to start up a new database of breeders who are committed to intelligent, tested breeding with low CoIs. And each of these breeders needs to use new puppy contracts which give the buyer safeguards -and then advertise so hard that it becomes obviously stupid to buy any other kind of puppy.

I give you Buckminster Fuller as Quote of the Day:

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”