Saturday, 17 December 2011

No time and no shows

Currently, I barely have enough time to breathe let alone blog, as we're flat out on Pedigree Dogs Exposed 2 - so apologies for the silence. Our first viewing with the BBC is on January 4th, so there'll be no Christmas for me this year, but I did find time last night to be interviewed by Victoria Stilwell for her Positively podcast. For those who have more time than me and want to listen, our chat starts between a quarter and a third of the way through the podcast here.

I do urge my friends over on the Stop the BBC from Making Another PDE Facebook site to listen as you'll hear no less than three clear admissions of puppy abuse on my part perpetrated during the interview itself. The victim is the puppy pictured above. Well, he wouldn't stop barking.

His name is Wrigley (although he's more usually called Pupster) and his mum is a tiny working-bred English Setter who was pregnant when she arrived from Ireland as a rescue.  Who was Dad? Best guess is a mountain goat. That's our 5ft-high Yew hedge he's jumped on.  Wrigley is a fabulous pup - a real ray of sunshine; we should have rehomed him, really, but he makes us laugh and in the way that puppies sometimes are, he's been a positive influence on the rest of the dogs.

I first met Victoria and her husband Van at Crufts in 2008. We've stayed in touch very sporadically since then and we met again a couple of weeks ago at the APGAW meeting on dog-breeding at the Houses of Parliament. We were given permission by APGAW Chairman Neil Parish to film the meeting, which prompted the Kennel Club to pull out. Neil Parish read out the following statement at the start of the meeting:

"The Kennel Club was keen to be involved in APGAW's meeting regarding health and welfare developments in dog breeding since these are issues which we consider to be of paramount importance. However, in view of the decision to allow filming by Passionate Productions, the Kennel Club has elected not to attend since we do not trust those involved to present an unbiased account of proceedings."

Fortunately,  the RSPCA, the British Veterinary Association and the Dog Advisory Council felt able to attend to speak - and in the audience were many others from dog welfare and dog interest groups.

The Kennel Club's decision to not attend was disappointing. I do understand its concern but can't help feeling that they are currently receiving very poor PR advice.  No-shows do not, in the main, go down well with the public.

And television loves an empty chair.


  1. so you get you wish to spin the KC in bad light either way......result for you .......but as we all know you CANT be trusted, and thank goodness the BBC are now working that out for themselves. I suspect you realise that the contract they have with you means they can decide NOT to broadcast the programme you deliver and they CAN reduce/edit it, so perhaps you slant may not get the small audiance on BBC4 you thought it would and get you back inthe media spotlight............well that would be a RESULT!!

    1. It would also be a result if people like yourself gave their name instead of being anonymous!

  2. Couldn't agree more Jemima! At this critical stage in the production of PDE2 one would expect the KC to be very positive about the changes that have taken place since the original documentary aired in 2008. The KC have introduced many changes which, although they will never admit it, would not have happened if PDE had not been made and caused such a furore.

    Pupster is gorgeous! I missed the Podcast last night and have tried to log in today (not from here!) to hear the interview. I am very impressed with Victoria. She has been open minded and realised where she was going wrong with dog training. I admire that in people! We're not always right, but if you can admit it then at least you can change and do things better!

    I hope you both find time to have some sort of Christmas celebrations and I can't wait until the New Year when PDE2 is aired. Congratulations!

  3. Yawm.. Stillwell the person who cures every dog by cutting off its testicles.. she still believes that castration is the cure for aggression..boring and untrue.

  4. Isn't it disingenuous of you to expect the Kennel Club to respond otherwise, "since (they) do not trust those involved to present an unbiased account of proceedings."
    Understandably, PDE is by definition an expose, but your evident inability to focus on or even notice anything remotely positive in purebred dogs is beginning to cast you as a one trick pony. What possible reason does the Kennel Club have to trust you to be unbiased ? You have an agenda and focus on it to the exclusion of all else.
    I don't know what training methods you're using on that new puppy, but if you use any positive reinforcement you might think about transfering those techniques to your treatment in PDE. Negative reinforcement tends to numb the recipient and doesn't generally lend a spirit of cooperation to an endeavor.

  5. any trainer who calls a dogs testicles their "dangly bits' should be castrated themselves..but even worse than that is that Stillwell continues to mouth the animal rights mantra of castration as a way to lessen aggression,( not true), roaming ( as if a dog without testicles will never leave home)and reduce disease ( when it does the opposite) as for the KC pulling out when they knew you would be there.. who can blame them? you might have asked one of them to have a baby with their son or some such other nonsense. Television ignores an empty chair.. and first of all you have to be watching.

  6. What did you say again in the podcast Jemima?

    Was it that Ofcom investigated complaints, and found in your favour, but they only judge fairness not accuracy?

    What exactly did you can by that?

    Or are you going to tell me I misheard?

  7. You are over-interpretating.

    Ofcom does, indeed, only rule on fairness, hence why I pointed that out.

    Re accuracy of the film's claims, Darren, have you read the Bateson, APGAW and RSPCA reports? They all substantially back the film's findings.


  8. I didn't interpret anything, thats your spin on it.

    I merely asked if I heard your comment correctly.

    Incidentally, you have not asked whether I agree with your program or not, but you strangely go directly on the defensive in your response.

    May I ask why?

  9. Well, Darren, the following exchange on the anti-PDE Facebook site probably has something to do with it:

    Darren F Whitley: Has anyone listened to the podcast? In it Jemima Harrison says that Ofcom investigated her program and found in their favour. But she says Ofcom judges fairness, not accuracy. Is there a veiled admission there?

    Mike Davidsohn: Where is my sick bucket.

    Darren F Whitley: Steady Mike, you may eject more knowledge than this woman may ever have.

  10. You still do not answer the question.

    Likewise, you have not answered my previous question of what exactly do you define as inbreeding?

    For the record, I do believe that close breeding is a no no and that close family interbreeding is not necessary or desirable. So actually, to a degree I may actually agree with some of your points.

    But, how many breeders actually carry out such matings?

    As for the reports you speak of, no I have not read the whole reports, but I am aware of the content. If I understand the Bateson report correctly he criticised the so called 'puppy farms', which I do believe if you took the time to speak to many breeders are somewhat disliked in show circles (that's the polite way of putting it), and again you would probably find a good deal of support for any criticism of this area of breeding.

    In respect of the RSPCA, well I have no respect for this organisation. Not for anything to do with breeding of any animal, but more to do with the fact that when I had cause to telephone them for help with abandoned animals, the operator was more interested in whether the owner could be located to enable prosecution than caring for the immediate welfare of the animals themselves! Perhaps Passionate Productions may care to investigate this at some point?

  11. Darren, I am at the end of an 18-hr working day, and facing another one tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that for the forseeable future. No offence, but the small about of time I have away from editing Pedigree Dogs Exposed 2 I would rather spend with my partner or my dogs.

    Please do me the courtesy of at least reading the reports mentioned (make it just the Bateson report if you're pushed for time - it was, after all, commissioned by the Kennel Club). Professor Bateson talks about inbreeding extensively. I agree with everything he says.

    Puppy farms: yes, dreadful (and, in fact, we are touching on volume breeders in PDE2), but my particular interest has always been in ensuring that those who set themsleves up as guardians of the breeds do the right thing by the dogs.


  12. I guess that is politician speak for saying you are not going to get an answer then.

    Inbreeding to me means the interbreeding of stock from the same family group, such as mother to son or similar (even grandmother to son), which is something I would not advocate AT ALL. It therefore upsets me to be tarred with the same brush as those who believe this kind of practice to be acceptable. I have in the past asked the question of those more knowledgeable than myself to double check compatibility to avoid close interbreeding, thus I do consider myself responsible.

    Perhaps at some point in your next 18 working hours you could look at making the point that not all breeders are so silly as to consider 'interbreeding' as I have interpreted its meaning to be acceptable.

    I'm glad you are addressing the issue of 'volume breeders' since in this I feel sure we have common ground. I could tell stories on this issue, but not in public!

  13. BTW both friends and enemies all call me Daz :)

  14. Jemima would you care to comment on the contents of the link below.

  15. Trustnoone,

    The Late Dr Malcolm Willis would probably have advised not to carry out any surgery until the poor animal had reached 12 months of age.

    Does that answer any of your thoughts?

  16. Daz, I also think that grandparent/grandchild matings are too close, so we have that in common. And, actually, Professor Sir Patrick Bateson also thinks that mating is too close. My beef is not with you, it is with the system that still allows it.

    Actually, a one-off grandparent/grandchild mating in an otherwise outbred pedigree is unlikely to do much damage; more insidious to me is the cumulative effect of generations of perhaps-lesser inbreeding.


  17. trustnoone wrote: "Jemima would you care to comment on the contents of the link below."

    Omigod. A crossbreed with a health problem. I was wrong all along. Forgive me, everyone.

    Was that what you were looking for?

    It is only those who don't listen or read properly who think I've claimed that all pedigree dogs are unhealthy and all crosses are perfect. I never have because it's not true. It is true, however, that on average, mixed breed dogs are a little healthier and live a little longer than purebreds (particularly if they are matched for weight and size - an important consideration because big dogs live less long than little dogs).

    Here we have a labradoodle with terrible elbows and hips, poor lad. But without knowing more about the case it is impossible to draw many conclusions. It may be that the parents had rotten joints, they were never tested and the breeder should be shot. Or it may be that the breeder did all the right things but this poor boy was unlucky. We all know that dogs with good hip and elbow scores can throw pups with terrible joints - and that applies to purebreds or crosses.


  18. Jemima,
    Do you have peer reviewed research to back up your statement "that, on average, mixed breed dogs are a little healthier and live a little longer than purebreds (particularly if they are matched for weight and size - an important consideration because big dogs live less long than little dogs.)
    Just for the record "little longer" is hardly a scientific term - more hyperbolic than bearing any accuracy.

  19. well i do hope you had enough time out of your busy day to watch the non sporting group at Eukanuba this evening and see the very "fit and agile' Bulldog take group four in a highly competitive group..the UK announcer called the dog"fit and agile" and indeed the dog was so sound and wonderful.. the announcer also stated that 'some people in the UK are bent on denigrating the breed".. hmmm.who could that be?. This Bulldog was not exaggerated.. nor "ultra wrinkled' but was an example of the breed that made me go WOW what a dog..hopefully ( but I doubt it).. examples like this will be in your PDE2.. oh yes and pigs will fly

  20. Jemima,

    You have hit on the problem caused by your program in your last post.

    Most breeders probably DO understand what your program intended to portray, the problem is not with breeders who most often are what would be considered expert in their breed, but more with the general public. They (probably through ignorance more than anything) have not heard properly, despite listening, the message you intended to put across. Unfortunately in the eyes of the public, this has lumped all breeders of pedigree dogs under the same umbrella.

    No responsible breeder wants to breed an animal that will suffer through its life. Unfortunately problems do occur, fortunately very rarely.

    Dr Willis gave us a system of hip scoring which, while not perfect is better than nothing. I say not perfect because my belief is that a large degree of hip problems are NOT a result of genetics, but can be attributed to environment (e'g exercise, food etc) rather than genetics. My own personal opinion is that what Dr Willis gave us is a start, and need to continue this by further research.

    What I feel unclear about is the validity of the testing system when you transfer this to cross bred animals. The biggest problem is that when you say cross bred, exactly what genes are you mixing, we need to be specific about the breeds that are mixed, rather than just saying cross bred.

    In the case of a labrador poodle mix, I would be worried in the first instance to the point where I would say you need to be very careful. Labradors are I guess what you could say are my specialist subject. I have been 'around' labradors for nigh on 40 years. The problems traditionally looked for involve the eyes and hips (more recently elbows are considered too). Brief research suggests that poodles also have a need for hip scoring, and are affected by PRA that on the face of it looks to be linked with the same 9th canine chromosome,

    Consequently that leaves me questioning whether a 'labradoodle' is likely to be any more healthy than a pure bred labrador or poodle.

    As regards the example in the link. Yes it is sad that the animal is in this condition, but is it irresponsible to consider surgery at 8 months of age, since the skeletal structure will almost certainly not have reached maturity. Certainly the late Dr Willis would have put forward an argument against surgery at less than 12 months.

  21. alapraia wrote: "Do you have peer reviewed research to back up your statement "that, on average, mixed breed dogs are a little healthier and live a little longer than purebreds (particularly if they are matched for weight and size - an important consideration because big dogs live less long than little dogs.)"

    Yes. Please see the references at the end of this post on hybrid vigour:


  22. Keep going Jemima - from one of those without the courage to stand up and be counted - I salute you.

    As an ex marketing manager, I have to agree with you, not just about the KC's attitude to public relations, but its entire marketing strategy. I often cringe and shake my head in wonder that it keeps digging itself into a grave - if it were in a competitive market, it would have gone bust decades ago.

    Sorry you're pressurised - but, if you achieve even 10% of what you achieved during the first edition, it'll feel worth it in the end.

    Happy Christmas and bah humbug to those who resist change in dog breeding practices.


  23. Daz @ 08.32: There is already a more accurate (ie more predictive) hip scoring system than the BVA/KC scheme. It's called PennHIP.

    You're right in saying that other factors besides genetics play a role in hip dysplasia - but not if the predisposing genes are not there in the first place. No amount of environment, inappropriate diet or exercise can induce hip dysplasia in some sighthound breeds. They simply don't suffer from it.

    No surprise that labradoodles average the same mean hip scores as their two parent breeds (all three in the mid-teens). But you don't need to worry about mixing the two breeds per se - it's an attractive mix and if bred well (that can be a big "if" I know, but some are now being produced with care) there's no reason why a labradoodle can't enjoy a long and healthy life.

    Incidentally, the dog in the link given above looks much more like a labrador than a poodle and I would guess is not an F1 mix - which might explain some of the dog's problems. It is the F1s that are most likely to benefit from hybrid vigour.


  24. Certainly the University of Pennsylvania research is useful, but the fact still remains that current knowledge suggests that hip dysplasia (or hip problems) is only approx 30% genetic. This means that 70% or thereabouts are from other factors, factors which breeders may not be able to control.

    Unfortunately owners of puppies will only listen to a degree of the advice breeders give, and once a puppy has been handed over it is beyond the control of the breeder. Examples of poor care that I have experienced include a 6 month old puppy being reported as having bleeding paws as a result of exercise, the owners children argued about who was to walk it, hence each child took him for a walk. Unsurprisingly, the same puppy experienced hip problems early in life.

    As for sighthounds not having hip dysplasia, on what basis do you make the statement? If it is an unrecognised problem in such breeds, I would suspect that no testing is carried out, and hence no recognition of problems has actually ever occurred. This is entirely different to saying the problem does not exist. Nature has a strange way of compensating for defects if left to its own devices, such as creating muscle to support poor joints. Perhaps the sight hounds to which you refer have plenty muscles, and this is why the problems are not seen. The University of Pennsylvania research states that to recognise hip dysplasia and give a proper diagnosis radiography is needed. Without this being done in sighthounds, it follows that it is not possible to say there is no incidence of the problem.

    You say that there is no reason that a labradoodle cannot enjoy a long and healthy life. Well, the same can be said for any well bred pedigree (pure bred) animal, regardless of breed. It is interesting that you suggest that the dog in the link is possibly not an F1 mix, and this may be an explanation for the problems, since F1 requires purebred parents on both sides, which inherently requires that pure bred stock is maintained alongside the crosses. The supposition is that move away from F1 and you run the risk of re-introducing the problems that are acknowledged in pure breeds, but without the controls in place to identify the problems that may manifest themselves.

  25. NB: Daz, if you continue to post abusive comments about me on other open forums, I will be little inclined to engage in discourse with you here.


  26. Everyone is entitled to an opinion surely?

    But on what basis do you make the accusation of my posting abusive comments? Purely the similarity of a name?

    Strange how my last post has yet to appear on here, are my opinions now subject to censorship?

  27. Daz, comments sometimes take a while to appear because I moderate them. Yours are posted now.

    You asked: "But on what basis do you make the accusation of my posting abusive comments? Purely the similarity of a name?"

    Because, Daz, at the bottom of your posts on the Talk-Pets site you have a link to your wedding photography business where you are identified as Darren Whitley - clearly the same Darren Whitley who is posting identical allegations as above about me and PDE on the anti-PDE Facebook site. In fact, you have just posted the following there:

    "Darren F Whitley: I had begun to think that a certain person was willing to enter into reasonable debate. However, my last post on the blog has yet to appear, despite a later comment being posted by that person. The missing post answered the earlier comment about the Pennsylvania research into hip dysplasia amongst other things.Ah well, there is always time for it to be added."

    Yep, you are entitled to an opinion. What I was pointing out, however, is that you are not entitled to a reply - and especially not if you are being insulting about me elsewhere.


  28. LOL! brain of Britain you are not Daz.

  29. "if you continue to post abusive comments about me on other open forums, I will be little inclined to engage in discourse with you here." ironic statement Jemima given your criticism of the Kc's refusal to take part in any filmed discourse because of your abusive comments about them - what's sauce for the goose...........

  30. Great interview Jemima.

    Gawguss (noisy ) pupster.

    You should be proud of the bombshell PDE1 created leading to 3 major welfare reports, all concluding the same thing that your one documentary did in 59 minutes alone.

    The fact the KC never showed.....a real shame.

    Looking forward to your update documentary.

  31. Cant say ive ever heard Jemima being abusive at all...ever. I have heard reasoned argument, well researched replies, and mistakes admitted.
    More than can be said for the anti PDE brigade who just waffle crap and have a a myriad of members hoping to get brownie points.
    No-one is saying the majority of breeders would ever want ill dogs....but frankly the majority cant be bothered to learn about population genetics , background in-breeding, or in fact anything that may impinge on their breeding plans, seemingly hairspray is a more suitable mast to nail their flag.
    Sorry but not one single one of you has come on here and made me sit back and think....yeah maybe you have a point there, and yes I do show and breed but have now reached the point where im wondering why

  32. Well at least I know that Jemima does research before she posts then. I would say however, I still feel that I am entitled to my opinion, and if I do not feel comments/criticisms to be worthy, I will say so. I do feel that parts of the charges put forward in the previous program were flawed by the fact that all breeders did appear to be tarred with the same brush. Perhaps I am lucky that I have been involved in breeds that, while affected by problems, are thankfully not affected by complaints that cause pain and suffering, if the correct precautions are followed (and follow them I do).

    As for the anonymous poster who says I am not Brain of Britain, you are entitled to your opinion, but have the Kahuna's to give your name, at least then I will have the knowledge of how to address you. However, since you do not know me that well, I fail to see how you reach the conclusion you do.

    Its a shame if Jemima does not see fit to answer my points, since I do feel that the only way for things to improve is through dialogue.

    As I say, what I find unacceptable in the first program is that the impression that I feel was portrayed was that all breeders are the same. The impression I got from that original program was that the KC enters into a system termed Eugenics, which is likened to the Nazi ideals, in that it seeks the 'master race' or the perfect animal based on the preferred points. Whilst I accept the point made that for 'foreign' customers the programme had to be trimmed, let me say that I find it 'convenient' that it was this particular section that was culled since it was this aspect of the programme that (at least in the circles that I speak) this was the most offensive section of the programme. If Eugenics was a procedure followed by the KC itself, I feel that breeders would be being schooled by the KC in what matings to carry out. Since I have no knowledge of this happening, I would challenge the suggestion that the KC is at fault and suggest that the breeders themselves may be at fault. What would be interesting are statistics showing how many 'close family' mating were carried out in a particular period compared with total mating, but I guess such figures are not readily available. I understand that the KC no longer accepts close family mating anyway, but this still does not stop such matings occurring, it only stops the registration of resulting puppies.

    I do agree with Jemima that there are some breeds that need to take a long hard look at their current charges, and do need to look at whether steps do need to be taken to move away from the bad points that may have been introduced. But, I do think that particularly since it has taken many years to get to this position it will take some time to see the effects of any action taken. But, I do hope that Jemima will also accept (and maybe admit) that there are also breeds out there that, while they may have inherent problems relating to eyes and hips, have breeders who do their utmost to breed unaffected puppies by using the health check schemes available to them.

    As a responsible breeder you can only do your best, use the health checks available, and only breed from the best stock in your kennel, except for that thereby the grace of god go I. We are not talking white goods, we are talking living beings, who conform to the laws of nature. You will always get health problems, the breeder can only do so much. If that breeder has done his best, what more can be asked of him/her?

  33. Jemima does research!?! well as the Eugenics the word wasnt worked out by Galton until 1883, but the Kennel Club establised in 1873, in her program Ms Harrison the latter was BORN out of the former, when it comes to basic FACTS the NOTW had a better record!

  34. Didn't Galton start his theories and sharing these ideas in 1865 "Hereditary Talent and Character"???'s further down the page on wikipaedia

  35. Here's the "fit and agile" and in no way extreme winning English bulldog that Ms. Dykema urges us all to admire:

    Body-image-dysmorphia-by-proxy. If it is not in the DSM-IV, it really should be.

  36. Jemima, I recommend screen grabs. Darren has had his post altered by a message board moderator.

  37. Why is that dog Cooper's bottom teeth so wonky and uneven?

    How can a champion dog have such wonky (althought very clean) teeth?

  38. I think Ms Price would be better looking at the history and work of the kennel club on dog health and welfare from the its very start, or perhaps shwe would liek to look at the work done in setter in the 1940's (all missed out by PDE but that would of made not such a entertaining tale would it. The very fact that the programe mis lead its viewers on the Eugenics movement and tried to make out the KC was born out of it shows that perhaps its writer look too much at wikipedia too, or perhaps they realised their mistake when all those other countries refused to have the "german" section and insist on its removal .......... and not just because they needed extratime for ad breaks

  39. Jemima said "The Kennel Club was born out of the Eugenics movement", clearly and undeniably. There is no escaping that fact Katie Price, it is on record and recordings of the program she made. Sounds like she made a huge boob or did she just lie because her facts didn't hold any water.

  40. Anon. 23:39

    Ms Price was just clarifying the date that Galton started his theories.

    However since you wanted me read up on the history of the KC, I found this.......also in the above PDE myths busted;

    “The Victorians were clearly fascinated by the ideas of breed purity and genetic improvement. Indeed, there was widespread concern about the concept of degeneration, the progressive ill health in succeeding generations of a family, and the need to actively reverse this trend. This in turn probably lay behind early ideas of eugenics and interests in physiognomy that also advanced in parallel with ideas of purity in dogs and other species.”

    The Dog And It’s Genome, Chapter 2; The Kennel Club and the early history of dog shows and breed clubs; J. Sampson, M Binns; P27

  41. J.Sampson being Jeff Sampson, the KC's genetics advisor.


  42. Pedigree Dogs exposed was a terrific programme Jemima and looking forward to part II. I can't understand why some on here appear to want to protect something that is clearly not in the best interest of the dogs. Animals lovers? I think not.

  43. Is the argument therefore that the Eugenics accsuation is based on a simple statement from history, detailing what the Victorians believed?

    If my reading is correct, Queen Victoria passed on over 100 years ago, and much knowledge has been gained since then, resulting in the medical advancements we have today, not just in dogs. It does not say it is the belief and policy of the 21st Century

    As for wanting to protect something that is 'clearly not in the best interest of the dogs', I think many of what i would term (and probably incorrectly) 'anti-dog' brigade (i.e. the supporters of the PDE programme) have missed the main point of the majority of breeders who have objections to the content and manner in which dog breeders were portrayed.

    I don't think there would be a single breeder out there that would not admit that problems do exist. But, to lump all breeders under the umbrella of 'irresponsible' and simply 'interested in looks' is both unfair, and possibly immoral, in that it fails to recognise that there are also breeders out there who do their best for the animals they breed. We do not always get what we want in life, and this extends to the results of a mating. There will always be elements of resulting puppies that the breeder does not like, even in the breeds in which I am involved.

    When you look at the likes of a bulldog, or a pug, or a gsd, you CAN say that that nose is too short for the dog to breathe, or that dog has a curved spine and may therefore have difficulty walking, but does that actually mean that this is what the breeder of that particular specimin actually intended? There are breeds out there with folds of skin, that on the face of it cannot be healthy. But what do you do if this is what is occurring as a result of the matches that breeders chose? Yes I accept that there can be 'trends' and this is what people look for. Several years ago, Tibetan Terriers had a trend where the accepted height rose above standard (I noticed around the show rings several other breeds had the same 'problem'). The 'trend' I felt at the time came from the influence of American imports, sicne America had a different standard (as a result of a typo way back in history). The 'trend' had no real impact on the dogs health, indeed movement within the breed seemed somehow more flowing, and there was suggestion the UK standard be changed. Over time the natural size of the dogs seems to have diminished. May breeders I spoke to were non too happy with the size changes, but it took time to rectify.

    The purpose of my previous question regarding the pictyre of the poor mouth, and whether the animal was a result of a mating under the FCI system is tha, if my understanding is correct, the FCI system is altogether more regulated, and if it were to be a dog bred under that system, can I suggest that even a more regulated system can result in problems.

  44. Daz, I know this might come as a bit of a surprise, but I am not "anti-dog", neither was PDE, and neither is the vast majority of PDE supporters - many of whom are owners and breeders of pedigree/purebred dogs.

    The "anti-dog" or "anti-pedigree dog" charge is a myth peddled by those who hated or felt insulted or threatened by the film. Now I understand why they felt this way but do think that it's important for them to know that there's a whole other camp out there, just as passionate about pedigree dogs, who feel exactly the opposite - ie that PDE was and is a force for the good because more needed to be done to first acknowledge and then address health and welfare problems in pedigree dogs.

    PDE2 features at least one of those breeders - those who in my view are doing everything right. And that is acknowledging the problems, embracing the science and thinking outside the confines of the purity box in breeds that are in trouble genetically. Many breeders do the first two things; but very few - as yet - have grasped that unless a breed has a lot of inherent diversity (and a great many don't) that outcrossing is going to be needed sooner or later unless a breed is very lucky indeed.


  45. Jemima - at this point it would probably be a good idea not to feed the troll. ;)

  46. Jemima,

    Its no surprise at all, but the way I saw your program was that all breeders were under attack.

    Yes there are problems out there, I don't think that is something that is under dispute, but there are also breeders out there doing their utmost to ensure the best for the puppies they breed. It is unfair to have all tarred with the same brush. The 'eugenics' section was one area in particular where I was upset, since the way it came across to myself was that the accusation was that all breeders were intent on this 'process'. If I thought that way there would almost certainly be others.

    Certainly I guess you are to be congratulated in some way, since the program has certainly stirred up debate, and probably made a lot of people think a lot more than they would otherwise have done, but I also feel that a degree of harm may have also been done, since the 'general public' seem to have the misguided impression that pedigree is bad, crosdsbred is good. I have actually heard this said by 'non-dog' people.

    Even prior to the screening of your program, I have had debates with others as to whether the health testing we carry out is worthwhile, and put forward ideas that some would probably find somewhat 'outside the box'. As for crossing out breeds, maybe because the breeds I have involvement with are more 'mainstream' and as a result have a fairly diverse gene pool, it is something I have to admit I have never really thought about. With breeds with a smaller gene pool, maybe there COULD be an argument for its consideration, but only under closely controlled conditions. But then are you coming close to entering the realms of 'Eugenics' by doing so?

  47. Daz said:

    ‘The 'eugenics' section was one area in particular where I was upset, since the way it came across to myself was that the accusation was that all breeders were intent on this 'process'. If I thought that way there would almost certainly be others.’

    Yet in the thread ‘Bred for Looks, Born to Suffer’, you say:

    ‘The dogs bred for the pet market are, if I may use the term, the rejects from the show scene. They are what are not considered suitable for the show scene, and by definition will not be the ideal.’

    Your second statement is pure eugenics. According to the Westminster Kennel Club, ‘The basic purpose of dog shows is to facilitate the evaluation of breeding stock for use in producing the next generations.’


    I agree entirely that being associated with eugenics is objectionable but breeders who operate within the closed registry, ‘pureblood’ show system are inevitably practicing the eugenics. Hurt feelings, outrage and denial do not alter facts, nor do they count as argument or evidence. So far, I have seen nothing but hurt feeling, outrage and denial from breeders who actively put eugenics into practice.

    If you want to convince me, and others, that kennel clubs and breeders who operate within the system don’t practice eugenics, you are going to have to come up with a plausible, documented alternative. If breeders who don’t like being called eugenicists can’t find an alternative, take a good, honest look at the system you are supporting through your participation and if you don’t like it, change it. If you don’t want to change it, accept that you are all practicing eugenics.

  48. Sarah said.......

    "I agree entirely that being associated with eugenics is objectionable but breeders who operate within the closed registry, ‘pureblood’ show system are inevitably practicing the eugenics. Hurt feelings, outrage and denial do not alter facts, nor do they count as argument or evidence. So far, I have seen nothing but hurt feeling, outrage and denial from breeders who actively put eugenics into practice."

    That last sentence is certainly true in my breed, where the latest Breed Record Supplement shows one of the most vocal of breeders has a litter with a 30% COI ( breed average is 5%)

    The Kennel Club and breeders were outraged at PDE, they felt it unfair.

    It was not unfair, it was just that they were so inured to what they were doing that they could not recognise the harm they were doing slowly but inevitably over the years. Hence the defensiveness and the slow rate of progress in changing breeding practices.

    Any change seems to be driven by the pressure to appease public outrage rather than by any real acceptance that inbreeding, decades of line-breeding, or breeding for exaggerated traits will inevitably compromise health.

    There are many good breeders that use the available health schemes to produce the healthiest puppies possible. That unfortunately is no longer enough when those that deny the need for change feel justified in sabotaging efforts to improve breeding practices.

    It is a shame that misplaced loyalty to fellow breeders, however misguided, rather than to the welfare of their breed, means that honest breeders allow blind fools to lead them.

  49. Sarah,

    Can I put it to you that anyone who plans what sire to put to which dam is to a degree practicing 'eugenics', regardless of whether you are planning a purebred or a crossbred litter.

    Of course whether you agree with that depends on how you define eugenics, but that is the way I see it.

  50. Daz said...


    Can I put it to you that anyone who plans what sire to put to which dam is to a degree practicing 'eugenics', regardless of whether you are planning a purebred or a crossbred litter."

    Yes. If you are going by the most basic definition, which is 'guided' reproduction, IOW, the individual who do and do not get to reproduce are chosen, ALL selective breeding comes under the umbrella of eugenics. I have crossbreeds and I have no problem with this.

    Under this broad definition, human parents who choose which embryos of many to implant for IVF, or choose to abort a defective fetus, are practicing eugenics. Do you really want to go there?

    However, the concept of racial purity or of class prejudice which lay behind much of the modern eugenics movement is what Sarah is referring to, I believe. The obsession with purity even against rational argument, as was seen with the objections to the LUA Dals is a good example of dog fancy parallels with that type of thinking. The division of dogs into 'show' and 'pet' quality falls under that category as well.

    All this blathering about eugenics is simply a distraction, IMO. It's purely an insult to dog breeders, and a sensationalist one at that, designed to stir people up. All it accomplishes is to make dog breeders defensive, and then they are not open to any kind of discussion about incorporating the emerging science into their breeding practices.

  51. Sarah said: "... [T]ake a good, honest look at the system you are supporting through your participation and if you don’t like it, change it."


    Enough with the pedantry, please! We all have seen the pitfalls of this breeding for some codified ideal called "standards"--in our dogs. That is, your dog, my dog, a friend's dog, a neighbor's dog--real dogs suffering real health problems, despite the best intentions their breeders may have had.

  52. I said it before, and I will say it again.

    The criticism is that current standards are causing the problem, and the suggestion is that the standards should be changed. Well my way of thinking is that change the standards, you will not actually change anything, only the AIM if that is correct. You need to change people's way of thinking rather than change the standard. The standards are NOT the problem, it the interpretation (i.e. peoples way of thinking) that is the problem if one exists (which in some breeds I don't think it does).

    I'm glad that Jess made her post above, since it agrees with my way of thinking if I read it right. But let me say this. I and many if not all of my peers do not breed 'show' and 'pet' quality animals, we breed the best that we can. Most breed to keep a specimen to show with the others being sold for either pet or show homes. Most if not all could be used as 'show' specimens even of the buyer does not wish to do so. Any which fall outside the 'show quality' criteria would be indicated to the prospective purchaser.

    As for the health problems, well again I have said it before, we are not dealing with 'white goods' , we are dealing with animals. Like humans, animals suffer from health problems, but whereas humans don't get tested for health defects before mating dogs do. What more precautions can you take in relation to hereditary problems?

  53. Daz, Humans do not need to be tested for health defects before mating because we are not inbred. And regarding your question about what other precautions you might want to take, one good thing you could do for the dogs would be to breed with an eye towards increasing, or at least maintaining, genetic diversity. This would mean no longer inbreeding or *linebreeding* which I assume you must be doing if every pup you produce is *show quality*? If we could ask the dogs, I expect they would prefer to be healthy rather than to be *show quality.* I know I would rather be healthy than beautiful. LOL

  54. Romany Dog,

    You would be surprised at just how 'inbred' humans can be without realising it. Without looking into your family history you may not even know. Maybe you should look sometime, you may be surprised. But, my point was not about inbreeding, but about health testing. Humans have problems such as hereditary eye defects, HD and much more. We don't 'test' for it, we discover it when the problem raises its ugly head, by which time we usually already have kids.

    As for the dogs, well you don't know what practices I employ in relation to selecting a suitable pairing, your comments are way off the mark. I said above I do not breed for 'show quality', no-one can guarantee it, but each and everyone, having come from 'show quality stock' has potential to be used as a show specimen. But I also know of labs that have come from that same 'show stock' being taken and used in the field as 'working stock'.

  55. Daz, Humans that come from certain inbred populations DO need genetic counseling before reproducing with someone from the same background. Thankfully I am a complete outcross. LOL!

    Forgive me for assuming that you are doing some close breeding. If you are not, and if all your pups are show quality as you say, you should really share your techniques (whatever they may be) with all the many, many breeders who feel the need to inbreed in order to achieve success in the conformation ring.

  56. Romany Dog,

    Consider this situation then. A family historian found recently that five generation back on her side of the family, and six generations back on her husbands side of the family there is a crossing of families (grandparents however many times removed were THE SAME). No pedigrees are involved with humans, without the genealogy interest the situation would never be known. The same person found about two months ago the link through her family lines to the current Royal family (admittedly around the year 1500), and the same person has links to Robert the Bruce. You really don't know what you are truly dealing with in humans.

    The techniques used with breeding are simple. Study the pedigree, and actually the selection criteria is trying to keep lines sufficiently diverse, rather than bringing lines together. But then, I guess we are lucky in my breeds that the gene pool is rather more diverse than some.