Six dogs fail a health check at Crufts and were not awarded Best of Breed as a result. More breeds pass than fail the vet check but no matter, the show world goes into meltdown.
Everyone knew the vet checks were happening and most approved of them in principle. Sure, maybe they haven't got them quite right yet but instead of this triggering some sensible discussion about how to improve them, there is uproar.
Five thousand people join a new Facebook site demanding retribution. Over 300 turn up at a meeting; new dog-something is formed; a reporter of the evening's proceedings describes the way in which the vet-checks were conducted "quite sickening and an utter disgrace" because...wait for it...one of the vets used a pen torch to look at the dogs' eyes.
Another (or perhaps the same) vet is accused of being rude to the owner and refusing to allow the Peke a drink of water after they had "rushed" from the ring to the examination room.
Now how likely - really - is that given how much scrutiny these poor vets were under?
On the other side of the Atlantic, too, there is hysteria. Just look at this blog:
"This is a very, very slippery slope and as dog fanciers, we’re standing at the edge of it. I keep thinking of Martin Niemoller’s quote which I’ve shortened and paraphrased to save space: When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent because I wasn’t a communist. When they came for the trade unionists, I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews,I remained silent because I wasn’t a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. Now substitute a breed in any of those sentences above: When they came for the American Staffordshire Terrier, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t own an Am Staff. When they came for the Peke, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t own a Peke. You see where this is going."
Come off it.
Even the president of the American Kennel Club, Dennis Sprung, has joined in the fray:
"... the AKC will NEVER allow any such practice to occur. Our Parent Clubs own their respective standard and we support them 100 percent. Furthermore a Judges' decision is final and we respect that as well. The situation is a very disappointing one here from the point of view of breeders, exhibitors and judges and fanciers from around the world. In summary while our PCs have a right to be upset and concerned I will never allow this wrongful practice in America. Never!!! Dennis"That will be the AKC that has leeched over 70 per cent of its registrations in recent years, yes?
It's been brewing since Pedigree Dogs Exposed, of course - the rising tide of resentment that outsiders have dared turn their attention to dog showing and found that not all is well. And this week it boiled over into a protest that is just not going to wash with anyone outside of the dog world (and I hope with not that many within it).
And here's the nub of it. There are healthy pedigree dogs and there are sick ones. There are good breeders and bad breeders. But it's the self-serving, intellectually-wanting system that is sick to the core.
It's evident in the denial; in this bonkers over-reaction; in the loopy legal threats I have to endure every day because I dare post photos of dogs who are not right; in the intimidation of those in their breeds who try to challenge the status quo; in the face-judging and the who-you-know backhanders; in the shoving under the carpet diseases that are killing dogs, and in the baying for the blood of anyone who dares stand up and say things could be better.
Here is the resume of the meeting on the new Facebook site. Elsewhere on the site, they're already bitching about the name of the new organisation and its strapline. And just look who they have advising them on the legal front - the solicitor who acted for serial killer Fred West and was subsequently suspended for a year for professional misconduct.
Way to go.