Tuesday 9 August 2011

Facebook ghosts and ghouls

Not me, guv...
The Kennel Club yesterday released a new Code of Conduct for those that show (don't hit the judge; don't let your dog eat anyone else's, that kind of thing) and it includes a section offering guidance to those using "social media such as Facebook". The KC warns: "Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you."

The KC's advice includes:
Does it Pass the Publicity Test
If the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the telephone, or in another medium, it will not be acceptable for a social networking site.
Think Before You Post
There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.
Be Accurate
Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later.
Correct Mistakes
If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you’re posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.
The timing is interesting given the problems (which I've blogged about here and here) with a high-profile Facebook site, run by poodle breeder Mike Davidsohn, aimed at stopping the update to Pedigree Dogs Exposed being made. 

The site disappeared a few days ago - apparently due to a technical glitch -  but has now popped up again under a slightly different name.  No problem with that, of course, as long as they campaign fair and square. But despite claims to being new and reformed, within a couple of days they had yet again started on the personal attacks - this time targeting Dog's Today editor, Beverley Cuddy, after Davidsohn found out that she had been asked to judge at a charity dog show at the weekend. Bev's crime? She employs me as a columnist and three years ago she appeared in PDE calling time on the health problems in pedigree dogs

Davidsohn, who admits to going into newsagents and re-arranging the dog magazines so Dogs Today can't be seen (and, amazingly, he's 55, not five), was so incensed that he decided to try to subvert the dog show - and also use the opportunity to have yet another pop at Beverley's inspired Don't Cook Your Dog Campaign. This has gone from strength to strength in the past couple of weeks, with support from just about everyone in the dog world - bar Davidsohn and his supporters who just can't bring themselves to put the dogs over and above their personal grievances.

Here are a few posts from the resulting discussion.


Then, finally, a voice of reason...

 It falls on deaf ears..

There's been a mixed reaction on the site to the KC's new Code of Conduct. Davidsohn was quick to point out that they are guidelines only and that "it is not in their remit to govern what we say and do on the Internet" but others have, sensibly and strongly, pleaded for the bitching to stop. 

The problem, of course, is that all the good intentions seem to last for about two seconds.  But then, as another poster points out:


  1. Um, boycott the judge by not entering in class? How passive-aggressive. How is that insulting to a judge?

    A group of people did that to a world renowned judge recently; and he took it in pride. In fact, he was disgustingly pleased with the fact people withdrew.

  2. Will the Kennel Club take action over the activities of Mike Davidsohn and the like on the Internet? Its not clear whether the code of conduct covers only internet posts relating to dog shows and other canine activities regulated by the KC, or whether it includes broader discussion of dog and breeder related issues. When posts on Mike Davidsohn's appalling list about PDE or designer dogs or puppy farming go way beyond what is acceptable and degenerate into personal abuse and slander, will the KC take action to stop this kind of behaviour? Can these people not see that their kind of public bitching does more to bring the world of pedigree dog breeding and dog showing into disrepute than PDE ever did? But has the KC got the guts to take a stand on it? The revised Code of Conduct at least paves the way for them to make a start

  3. The group was lost due toa virus hence why the new one, the majority of people on the group are polite and all share a common interest- their dislike of your tabloid style journalisim.

  4. I am impressed with the Kennel Club for taking this stand on social media etiquette because for far too long show people have been allowed to peddle the most pernicious lies about PDE and about pretty much anyone who takes a vocal stand on pedigree health. I of course, am someone who was told by none other than Prof Steve Dean himself, that Jemima withheld medication from Zak, a slanderous comment that me and my companion challenged immediately, but he was unrepentant. So a casual acquaintance with the facts, is I am afraid, institutionalised at every level at the KC. Maybe this announcement marks a change in heart.

    The merits and evils of social media are getting plenty of attention, not least with the role it has played in the civil unrest that has multiplied this past weekend, but despite how people can use it to harm, there is no doubt it can be harnessed to do good.

    So I put out a plea to Mike Davidsohn. You are so intent on mobilising through facebook, Mr Davidsohn and feel you have the resources to bring about change. Then please do so. Mobilise for the improved health of the dogs. Mobilise breeders, mobilise Standard Poodle breeders to organise a full health survey of your breed, mobilise them to raise even more funds for DNA research, mobilise them to submit a record number of DNA samples, mobilise health and genetics education, mobilise for more openness amongst breeders on the health issues that are impacting your dogs today. Mobilise to eradicate SA, to eradicate Addisons, to eradicate HD, and all the other myriad of health problems that are concomitant with your current breeding strategies. Please put your energies into that.

    As I have said before, looking at the membership of his group, a group that has apparently (mercifully) moved on from believing that cutting out “DogsToday” from the Don’tCookYourDog campaign stickers and posters is a constructive symbolic gesture. Oh come on. The membership of this group is made up of breeders who prioritise prizes over health.

    There are breed communities that already use facebook to mobilise on health, I came across an excellent one yesterday focusing on the collection of DNA for hereditary cataracts in Alaskan Malamutes. There are others that are focused on health and welfare. Mr Davidsohn’s group is not one of those.

    Philippa Robinson

  5. see there you go phillipa making a sweeping statement about all us breeders in the group, you are no better than any other person who peddles vicious lies. do you personaly know all 1k of the members?? no?? so dont assume everyone is the same, there is no wonder noone can agree with all the venom thatr gets directed to us breeders.

  6. Philippa. Mike Davidsohn has spent the last few years running a campaign on his own website (which he has now taken down) telling people NOT to send their SA results into the Standard Poodle Club SA Registry. He is constantly trying to undermine the work of the Standard Poodle Club's Health Officer. He is not interested in the health of dogs. He's only interested in politics. The Poodle people don't want help from the likes of him. Why do you think he was removed from the International Poodle Club committee and was forced to resign his membership of the Standard Poodle Club. I think you'll find that the Kennel Club are fully aware of this troublemaker and hater of crossbreeds.

  7. The membership of this group is made up of breeders who prioritise prizes over health.

    Really? I am a member of said group, I am a breeder, prizes omg what prizes, a piece of card and poss a rosette every now and again? Would be cheaper and easier to buy said prizes than actually attend the show and win them. I enjoy handling and showing my dogs, they love it too!

    I organised a trip over for research staff from Hannes Lohl's Helsinki epilepsy team back in 08 they collected buccal swabs from entered dogs at a breed show. Took me over a yr to get everything in place for them, certainly before the airing of PDE, our breed has continued to supply samples from puppies ever since. Prior to that the breed worked with Penn state on another research project and even VetGen for coat colour testing to avoid producing colour related problems such as Dilute aplopecia.

    DNA tests are being developed all the time with the help of Show breeders, protocols are being instigated by show breeders when they realise a problem is developing in their breed. Many don't have KC databases for results but do their own online for all who wish to supply results too.

    Yet we're the very same people who are still being harassed about our show dogs by GP. So sick of hearing 'we're not interbreeding like you show people with your massive coi's' I think hey you know what a coi is, so tell me what's your dogs and which health tests have you done as she's obviously inwhelp? Last time I asked I got told to 'F off who did I think I was stuck up female dog! Thats what I object to re PDE and a follow up instant experts who have no clue what most do for their breed/dog.

  8. I know Mike well and he has the best of intentions, he actually does care passionately about dogs. He is the sort of person who always seeks the truth and hang the consequences. The remarks made that he was forced to resign from the Standard Poodle Club and was removed from the International Poodle Club committee are not correctly reported. He has had disagreements with the Standard Poodle Club over many years because he wanted truth and openness from the committee. He went public over a health test a dog of his failed fro a popular sire some years ago and relations soured between them after that. He often questioned the fact that test results sent to the Health Officer were miraculously dissapearing and asked members to have the results sent to them and then they could forward them on the the club.
    He also pushed for a blood test currently available for Addisons disease to be adopted by the club. This request was repeatedly denied by the committee.
    He had also highlighted inadequacies in the running of the club by some of the officers of the club. This was proved after the club were fined by the KC in 2010 for administrative breaches.
    Many club and committee members used his website to help sell their puppies but used it against him when they were looking for a way to stop him blowing the whistle to the membership on some of their alleged activities. He resigned because he had had enough of them and their politics.
    He did the same from the IPC committee he sat on for three years, the politics there was linked back to the Standard Poodle Club. You might not like what he writes, but he is honest.
    He health tests his dogs and is not afraid to publish when a test goes wrong. I remember the offence he felt after your program when you used pictures of the Nazis to embellish your point. What else did you think it would do to someone whose father had lost all their family in Hitler's Germany ?
    If every breeder was like him you would not have had a problem.
    Your kind of journalism is worse than we expected from the News Of The World and I hope that your remake goes the same way as them.

    1. Today Mike's err "friend" Brad Lewis whose profile photo was gleaned from an online and for sale shutter stock video clip has left Facebook. He has also left poodle network UK with one less admin. How will they cope without his "talent". Of course he was introduced to useful Facebook pages by none less than Mike Davidsohn. I agree that there are too many Facebook ghouls out there. Another one bites the dust.

  9. Though I do dislike most crossbreeds, especially poodle crossbreeds, they aren't all bad. But anyways, I find it rather ironic that they had mutts and mongrels yet that is exactly what purebreds are.

  10. Philippa, I thought you were on the canine genetics list to learn about the nature of canine genetic disease? Haven't you learned by now that "eradication" of genetic diseases is virtually impossible? We haven't eliminated genetic diseases in humans and are not likely to "eradicate" them in dogs either.

  11. *I find it rather ironic that they hate mutts and mongrels -

    Sorry about that.

  12. Jemima, I love your blog, although I never saw your original 'PDE', since I'm in California. I'm not in the show world, and while I think my rescued JRT is a purebred, I have no way of finding out - he's an aristocrat to me, regardless. But you've opened my eyes to the extremes of breeding that we can see - bug eyes, short noses, underbites, etc - and god know what we can't. I lost my babies last year after almost 16 years, and each of them had 3 conditions a piece - congestive heart failure, malignant tumor, seizures, stomach blockage, etc - but those were just the dues of old age. I don't know how these people can look themselves in the mirror knowing that they are condemning puppies and dogs to short lives of misery and pain when they have in it their power to simply not breed them. Period. And it's all for their own ego and vanity. I'd like to think they will end up in the same circle of hell as puppy mill breeders, but that doesn't solve the immediate problem.
    I think you're doing amazing, inspired and necessary work, and the measure of your success is clearly the mounting hysteria and venom of the people who feel threatened by you. (And you must get a kick out of the hilarious misspellings and poor grammar they employ, at the very least!)
    Keep up the good work, and please know that you do have rational, supportive and logical fans in the real world of just plain dog lovers.

  13. Too bad the chairman of the American Kennel Club, Ron Menaker, did not follow the UK Kennel Club's advice when he posted this comment along with his name to the petition to Parliament to ban the broadcast of PDE-2:

    "Responsible dog owners, the dog loving public and responsible dog breeders should not be subjected to another piece of sensationalist fiction and tabloid journalism masquerading as a documentary. Any investigation of dogs, breeding or health matters should be balanced and fair. If the BBC insists on repeating this exercise in media sensationalism, why not present the truth about the progress that has been made as a result of responsible dog breeding and scientific research projects funded by organizations that truly care about dogs. For the BBC's next installment, how about 'Jemima Harrison Exposed'?"

    I think maybe, some time in the not-too-distant future, Chairman Menaker may just regret urging Parliament to ban a television documentary and to force the BBC to investigate Ms. Harrison. --- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

  14. The KC is a bit behind the times. I've been on mailing lists that were basically mud-slinging free for alls, for years. To the point of people actually plotting to get someone's dogs away from them, accusations of people passing cross-breeds off as purebreds, spreading rumors about dogs attacking people, you name it. Right there in public.

    It's a nice gesture, but really, do you think that when false calls to animal control specifically to harass someone is considered perfectly acceptable behavior to some people, that these little guidelines are going to make those people think twice?

    Doesn't your KC have a code of conduct for exhibitors already? Most breed clubs do as well. If so, it certainly didn't stop the SGHC from publishing libel about me in their little breed club magazine. When I 'discussed' it with the editor, I was told that she had no control over the content of the articles and it was not her job to verify whether the information in the article was accurate or quotes from individuals or photos were used with permission. Nice. Good to know how far people will go when they have 'the breed's best interests at heart.'

    The world is filled with malfunctioning individuals. 'Social media' just makes it easier to identify them and easier to deal with rumormongering. Damned entertaining at times, too.

  15. Jess I fear is a bit behind the times ( no surprise if she takes you as her only source) the KC has had a code of ethics for breeders/judges/exhibitors for many years.

  16. Anonymous said...

    Jess I fear is a bit behind the times ( no surprise if she takes you as her only source) the KC has had a code of ethics for breeders/judges/exhibitors for many years.

    10 August 2011 12:27

    Dear Anonymous, since you are obviously reading comprehension challenged (note, Jemima, that I did NOT use the M word), I'll make it really clear for you: I *assumed* that the KC already *did* have a code of ethics, and that the current code doesn't stop people from acting like yahoos. If they already have one, that says something like, oh, 'don't be a jerk,' why do they need a new one?

    Is the 'world of purebred dogs' so screwed up that it needs a reminder to act like grownups? Why yes, yes it is, and evidently it does.

    "No-one should be subject to intimidation or made to feel alarmed or distressed or put in fear of reprisal. Harassment is a criminal offence."