“Nuclear Winter” for UK’s Kennel Club?

by Mary Haight on January 9, 2010

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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?

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