|Reasons to be cheerful...|
This morning's email brought more details of the the 1st International Workshop on Enhancement of Genetic Health in Purebred Dogs being hosted by the Swedish Kennel Club in Stockhom in early June.
I am inordinately excited about attending the workshop because of its remit - which is not to to try and convince anyone there are problems, but to find practical and collaborative ways forward to improve the genetic health of our dogs.
The 140 attendees - comprised mainly of scientists, vets and representatives of various international Kennel Clubs - include some big names in the world of purebred dogs from more than 20 different countries.
There are 13 national Kennel Clubs attending - the UK, Sweden, USA, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Latvia, Denmark, Mexico, Estonia, Finland and Uruguay, plus several representatives from the FCI, including Kari Järvinen (often to be found judging here in the UK) and Nicolas Schwab from the FCI Breeding Commission.
From the UK, there are Steve Dean and Aimee Llewellyn from the Kennel Club, vets Bruce Fogle and Bob Gore, geneticists David Sargan (University of Cambridge), Cathryn Mellersh and Tom Lewis (AHT), and Rowena Packer from the Royal Veterinary College. From the US, there is Danika Bannasch (UC Davis), Jerry Bell (Tufts), Bernard Unti (HSUS), Urs Giger (UPenn), Shila Nordone (AKC Canine Health Foundation) and Fran Smith (President OFA). Australia, meanwhile, is represented by Clare Wade (University of Sydney) and Karyn Orzeszko (Dogs Victoria).
Companies/commercial organisations attending include Optigen, Nestle Purina, Agria and Mars Veterinary.
I have either met or corresponded with many taking part and it makes my spirits soar to see so many key people attending. Big congratulations to Åke Hedhammer and Sophia Malm from the Swedish Kennel Club for organising the workshop, which they announced at the HSUS conference in Washington a year ago. The difference here, of course, is the buy-in from so many international Kennel Clubs (noticeable by their absence at the Washington conference because of the concern regarding its host) and other key dog figures.
I am attending not as a reporter, but as a delegate hoping to contribute usefully in various ways, including on the role of the media, but will blog highlights from the Workshop as appropriate.