“Nuclear Winter” for UK’s Kennel Club?

by Mary Haight on January 9, 2010

The Irish Setter, one of only two breeds among...
Image via Wikipedia

The fallout from BBC’s “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” documentary relating the eye-popping major health impacts to breed dogs continues.

The second of two complementary reports by independent reviewers on the condition of pedigree dogs in the UK is coming out on Thursday.  While the Kennel Club has started the difficult work of correcting what went so terribly wrong, inbreeding has dealt breeders and the Club a terrible blow.  Since the Kennel Club created the problem, oversight from outside seems inevitable.

Peter Wedderburn, Veterinarian and reporter to the Telegraph asks in his new article “Is the Kennel Club is about to be taken over?”  The first report from Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare released findings on pedigree dog breeding in November and Wedderburn highlights some of the salient facts and a couple of proposed changes below. 

The question will be, as always, how enforceable will any of the suggested changes be?  And, of course, since the changes are all “suggested” what if the Kennel Club just says no thanks?  Breeders seem to feel they are under serious threat of government takeover.  (Wow.  In the US we have folks with that same near-hysteria sentiment—different topic, for now—when talking about new legislation to shut down puppy mills.) 

Here are some of the points Wedderburn pulled from the first (50 page) review and his comments:

• There are 8 million dogs in the UK, of which 75% are pedigree animals, and 40% are registered with the Kennel Club (That’s 3.2 million  registered dogs)

• 280000 new dogs are registered with the Kennel Club each year (follow the money….£12 per pup, plus £15 for its new owner = £27 x 280000 = over £7.5 million per annum)

• A peer-reviewed study by the Royal Veterinary College this year found that there were 322 inherited diseases in the most popular 50 breeds of dog (there are DNA tests for just 19 of these – hardly enough to make a big impact, even if they were widely used)

• It’s proposed that a limit should be placed on the number of times that a male dog can be used for breeding to widen the genetic pool (hmmm – how will that be policed?)

See the rest of Peter Wedderburn‘s article at the Telegraph.  We’ll be waiting to see how things progress. 

In the meantime, I’m still wondering when the AKC is going to hear  dog fanciers leaving the membership in droves because of the new (fee producing) program of signing off on AKC papers for puppy mill dogs.  What do you think?  And will this help John Q  walk away from buying pet store puppies?  Or have we not yet reached a tipping point here?  Can anyone shed some light on this?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
10 comments
MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Eric is right on the computerized registration (and discount prices) for puppy mills. To my mind their actions render meaningless the AKC Registered "guarantee" of good breeding that this once highly prized piece of paper conferred. People are unaware of the havoc these labrasnoodlehuahua dogs are creating: watering down the now natural talents of each breed to a mish mash of mediocrity. Don't get me started on the teacup craze the sellers of these poor animals promote. These tiny ones *will have* expensive health issues as they age according to Dr. Sheldon Rubin, DVM, past president of the IL State Vet Med Assn through 2009. (Retired from private practice in December) That documentary was a very damning piece and credit goes to the people and journalists for not allowing this to slide. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

Bloggie Stylish
Bloggie Stylish

ah! now i understand, so it's a money thing for the AKC. the more registrations that they get, wether the breeder is reputable or not, the more money they collect in fees. how awesome of them!

Jim (Doggybytes.ca)
Jim (Doggybytes.ca)

With over 4 million cats and dogs euthanized in the USA alone every year, do we really need to be breeding dogs in the first place?

egoebelbecker
egoebelbecker

What Mary is referring to is that the AKC has made it easier for puppy mills to get AKC certification for their dogs. IIRC, you can do it online now? What I find continually fascinating is the attitude toward the 'doodles and 'poos, especially from the AKC and purebred fans: A Goldendoodle bred in PA by a puppy mill is an Abomination That Must Be Dealt With! A poorly bred Golden Retriever bred by a puppy mill in PA is an Unfortunate Fact Of Life. It's all BS. Dogs are suffering, and the fancy is making up new genetic tests while their breed lines circle the drain.

egoebelbecker
egoebelbecker

I can't shed any light, just heat. I think the AKC signing off on puppy mill papers is an "inside baseball" issue right now. Most people don't know what it means. Until a respected Animal Welfare organization (in other words, not PETA) figures out how to tackle this issue, it's going to go largely unnoticed. On the other hand, I don't know that the AKC doing this makes a huge difference in terms of sales. I think most people that buy these puppies would buy them whether or not the papers says "AKC," "BKC", "CKC" or "ZKC." Just as long as it has "papers." And the rise in popularity of the "XXXXpoos" and the "XXXXdoodles" has largely made the AKC less and less relevant anyway. They still think the Joe Doodlepack cares about 100 year old (rapidly deteriorating) blood lines.

Edie Jarolim
Edie Jarolim

I think the UK is way ahead of the US when it comes to animal welfare issues -- not to mention the need for government oversight in many cases. I feel optimistic that the BBC series will have an important and permanent impact in the UK; the Kennel Club already lost its key sponsor for the main dog show. In the US -- not so much. As you pointed out, legislation that attempts to ban puppy mills has breeders screaming bloody murder, and people who irrationally hate government intervention (hell, no, we don't want no stinkin' health care) aren't likely to support new laws. I hope I'm wrong.

Previous post:

Next post: