Last week, in an interview with DogWorld, judge Andrew Brace claimed the new
Well not really, obviously. The new Alliance actually represents the grass roots of dogshowdom.
Last week, this is what Mr Brace had to say:
"The way in which 15 breeds were targeted and humilated at Crufts is unacceptable... We are not against health-testing; far from it. We are for health testing but on a level playing field. We want every single dog that goes to a KC licensed show to be fit and healthy and we want that fact established before it goes in the ring, not after it's won a CC or BOB.The language, as others have already noted, is telling. That first sentence, for instance, tells us that the "breeds" to people like Andrew Brace are not the dogs themselves but their breeders. Because, of course, the DQd Peke, Bulldog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Clumber and Basset Hound can feel no humiliation. (Otherwise, surely, Poodles would have voted en masse by now to boycott the show-ring on the grounds that the grooming makes them look embarrassingly ridiculous.)
"Our wish is to have a KC that fosters the interests of the breeders, exhibitors and judges who support it. We are their customers. This is not about the demise of the KC; not about trying to set up some alternative organisation... what we want is a Kennel Club that cares for us."
And what's with the level playing field idea? Sounds OK superficially but the 15 highlighted breeds have, after all, been highlighted for good reasons and it made sense to start with them.
And, oops, Mr Brace forgot to mention the dog in the second paragraph.
Now I'm all for dogs having to prove their health before they enter the show-ring but I believe the notion of vet-checking all dogs given the numbers at UK shows is impractical and therefore a red herring. What's more, can you imagine the uproar, anyway, should vets DQ some top dog de jour that's just arrived after a 300 mile journey to compete?
But, today, I am greatly heartened. Because here's the statement following the first meeting of Canine Alliance' steering committee last night:
"The Canine Alliance was formed to represent everyone involved with pedigree dogs, and to negotiate when necessary with any related organisations in the interest of all breeds. Its aims are to protect and support the well-being of pedigree dogs, to uphold the ethics of responsible dog breeding, to encourage health checking of all dogs and to allow the exhibition of pedigree dogs without bias or discrimination.... It pledges to be fair and totally transparent, always working to the benefit of pedigree dogs.
At last! An organisation that I can sign up to! After all, I'm involved with pedigree dogs and I can sign up to most of those aims. I also protect and support the well-being of pedigree dogs; I am happy to uphold the ethics of responsible dog breeding and to encourage health checking of all dogs. And if I can't quite sign up to the last one, it's only because I don't think that vet-checks for breeds known to have specific problems as a result of their conformation is being biased or discriminatory. I think it's being fair and commensurate (even if the finer detail of the principle of independent scrutiny is not yet quite right).
So what shall we do first, CA?
• Limits on popular sires and inbreeding?
• KC registrations dependent on taking and actually passing breed specific tests?
• Health reps educated in rudimentary genetics?
• Proper breed health surveys?
• Ban dog shows in their current form (I mean, didn't you say you were working to the benefit of pedigree dogs?)
It's so exciting, isn't it? Together, we can achieve so much!
The Canine Alliance now has its own, open Facebook page. Enjoy...
Incidentally, is it just me that thinks that the paw on the CA logo looks like it's slamming shut the lid of a coffin?