Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The view from Clarges St

So... after the wierdest Crufts ever and a fair proportion of the show world up in arms and talking of revolution and overthrow (a Clarges St spring, perhaps...) what does the Kennel Club do? It puts out a press release entitled: "Nine of fifteen breeds pass veterinary checks at Crufts".

Next week: "Bless! Dog can still wag tail despite head falling off"

The British Veterinary Association, meanwhile, has released a strong message in support of both the Kennel Club for embracing the principle of independent vet checks, and the vets themselves.
“This initiative by the Kennel Club is to be applauded," says the BVA's Harvey Locke. "It is a huge step forward in tackling the health problems in pedigree dogs as a result of their exaggerated conformation. The KC deserves the support of the veterinary profession and dog welfare organisations at this time.

“We also pay tribute to the two BVA members who were chosen to carry out the veterinary checks after responding to our open letter in Veterinary Record asking for volunteers.

“They have performed their duties in a highly professional manner and have certainly set an example to the show vets who will be carrying out these checks at future championship shows."
The KC press release is not online yet - will provide a link when it is.


  1. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/4213/23/5/3

  2. What else are they supposed to say Jemimma? 9 dogs passed, including the Pug which the RSPCA are trying to ban, and 6 dogs failed.

    You choice of the word "spin" is interesting, don't tell us that YOU dont do spin? You are the queen of spin


  3. now that they have passed can they be dropped from the "list" seems only right.. they were targeted.. passed muster and now should be released from further consequences .. ALL OF THEM.. and when the next breed passes they also should be released.... and hey is razor burn a health issue? If so I guess my husband would fail.. what a crock

  4. BUT this is your 'game', spin, as is in the case of of many many media personnel and jounalists alike 'spin sells' if it didn't why are so many folks reading this blog, watching the TV and believe all they read in the press?? PDE and PDE2 put out spin in it's programme into the public domain as that's what us humans 'like' to watch, but as yet it has not been balanced by anyone, yourself included. No one yet has said it has taken many generations of breeding to 'create' such problems and yet it is expected to be 'solved' within a matter of 3 years??? How is that acheiveable?

    It also appears that whilst you ( and I) would like for there to be 'healthy dogs of ALL breed' you discount that we are indeed a race of unhealthy specimins ourselves - many conditions in humans are genetic conditions and yet we still reproduce WITHOUT health testing and cost the nation a fortune in medical care, that we as a country can not afford nor can we 'solve' - but this is expected of you in dogs???? Hmmmm interesting theory but never acheiveable the day you get the 'Perfect and Healthy Human' will be the day you have it sorted, but until then genetic conditions, debilitating problems and general health related issues will surround the human and dog world alike.

    1. Anon 06:50

      To compare humans and dogs you have to understand the bigger picture. Dogs are highly prone to genetic defects, more so than humans. About 400 times more for some defects, even though WE regulate which matings should occur. This isn't acceptable and definitely can't be compared to humans - humans don't do health-checks before having children and definitely don't have COI on their minds and yet, they're healthier. Mainly because no one is ever going to start doing the nasty with deformed people with no means of which to breathe, walk or communicate just because it's some weird fad to give birth to children with the same attributes. No one wants a child that looks like the Michelin man and no one wants a child that looks like a pug in the face.

      It's kind of sad that even though we have breeding schemes to follow and guidelines for what diseases we should avoid - we still manage to make dogs a lot sicker compared to the completely free 'breeding' between humans.

    2. so what your saying is my father, myself my brother my daughter and my cousin should not have any children or even been born due to a weaken spine which breaks with ease, my son has craniosynostoisis( the human form of the cavies brain disorder) he had his head operated on and lives a normal life and my other daughter has autism were not closely related in fact were as far away from each other as you can get, so what your saying is i should not have grandchildren and not have had my family this happends in humans did we know when we had our family no we did not,it happend none the less, and we would do it all over again, wouldnt it have been lovely to have the health tests in humans to decide what to do,there will never be a perfect healthy human but at least in the dog world there are tests put into place by the breed clubs to test for know health issues in that breed, im lucky i am in 2 very healthy breeds, but i still test for hip, elbow and petella as well as eyes and have my litter screened, not to up my puppy price but so i know that what i sell as pets or show,will live a happy healthy life, why on earth do you think i would want to sell sick puppies, i only have a litter when i want one, have only had 4 in my 18 years of showing so Dont tar all of us the same as the puppy farmers and byb

  5. Dear anonymous, you disgust me, I do not understand how anyone could even think of comparing dog breeding with human reproduction. You know that compulsory sterilization ended just a few years ago in the case of several European countries?

    1. Dear Rathunters,

      Healthy reproduction is healthy reproduction, whatever the species. All species, whether as closely related as cheetahs (the gene pool is so limited it's believed only a single mother and her cubs survived the last ice age to repopulate the species) or as randomly-bred as humans, suffer from inherited conditions. Mother Nature has no scruples, ethics or moral values, and humans are just another species to whom she applies the same rules.

    2. And yet this was acceptable when Ms Harrison did this and asked whether a member of the KC would sleep with his daughter during one interview Rathunters ? of course it is relevant to draw comparisons it is the genetic problems inherently bred into dogs that PDE brought to the public domain and yet we as humans are unable to solve our own genetic issues ? My opinion can disgust you all you like doesn't answer the very real question tho now does it ?

    3. to Rathunters are you saying that i should have been sterilized so i did not have my family just the Nazi comment i thought id find on this page and you call dog breeder purist if that comment is anything to go by your the purists

  6. Spin? The Cavaliers shown in PDE1 writhing in pain are spin? The surgery of the pug in PDE2 so it can more breathe easily is spin? I will tell you what "spin" is not.

    Spin is not the vibration of the floor as the dogs shake and convulse. Spin is not the prostrate boxer's parched throat and the permanent puddle of urine beside it. Spin is not the laboured breathing of those poor creatures that you actually hear. Spin is not the red blood flowing in the tubes as brachycephalic snouts are fixed so our pets can possibly stay alive.

    And now I will tell you what spin is. Spin is the attempt to thwart any effort at reforms by appearing to police yourselves so the critics go away and you can resume your games. Spin is the ruse of sanctioning one high-profile breed or other, one winner or other--the sacrificial lamb to be offered so that everyone else is absolved before the altar of Business As Usual.

    Spin is this momentary pretense to suffer in order to bring back the glory days of tinkering with the Dog as if this was just some dead piece of machinery, so you can get yours built to stock while the conformation breeders have theirs all souped up.

    1. So why has Jemimma not succeeded in lobbying government for regulation/health testing on dog breeding ( of ANY kind) as believe it all not many many Mutts are also bred with inherent biological defect? From first release Jemimma has had ample time and support to take this to the highest level, yet she is still banging on with the KC.......... maybe government don't think this is a priority. Forget the KC as she has already proved they are a contradiction, take it to the top level or act and create your own registration system with regulation and testing.....spin sells and can influence on both sides so why not use it widely to address the issue...

  7. Anonymouse... you do not disgust me as much as you surprise me. How, one wonders, is it possible to be so soothingly deaf to the information you make comment on?

    No one, ever - with the possible exception of certain pedigree purists of the "naught wrong with my lineage" variety - claim that there is such a thing as flawless biology. Yes, each living organism has a few faults, health issues and genetic mishaps built into it and in the long run, we all pay for it by dying. Rules of the game, right? That´s the cost of being alive.
    No one finds it surprising that one dog here has aortic stenosis; that another dog there dies young of genetic kidney failure; that some poor unfortunate pup is born without a normally developing skull; that another dog somewehere dies at the age of 5 from a particular kind of cancer. Of course it must happen to them sometimes - it happens to us, as you point out, outbred though most of us are. We are NOT arguing here with the cost of being alive.

    We are arguing with the unacceptable cost to the dogs having been inbred to the point where, depending on the breed,

    Yes, all dogs fall ill sooner or later, and they eventually die, same as us. That is not the problem. The problem is what they can make of their lives while they have it.You don´t run a lot with an aortic stenosis, and you don´t smile much with a syringomyelia. Etc, etc, etc.
    Unnatural amassment of genetic defects and health issues within lineages and breeds is not a cost of being alive, it´s not unavoidable, it´s simply not biology. It´s ignorant breeding, full stop. Dogs and owners take the costs and the pain - "succesful" breeders get the glory.
    You know what? Many of us don´t much like it. We´re releived and happy that the KC and the BVA decided to put their foot down. Makes us believe there may be a future for the breeds!

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you, alas at no point has it been proved in fact and science that for some breeds conditions are as a result of inbreeding. Certainly for 'some' of the high profile breeds the BVA and KC and breeders have developed systems such as eye testing, hip scoring and haemophilia tests WITHOUT any support systems or publicity, and yet this is not mentioned.

      We do have some brilliant ideas on what we are as a nation, not all lines are bred from the UK.... why has this not been taken up world wide, why is Ms Harrison not producing programmes for USA or lobbying the much coverted Westminster Show???

      Constant inaction and simply opinion on blogs, tv programmes etc do NOT go anyway to help solve the problem, a problem created over too many years to mention incidentially and certainly not sorted over night or even over a few years!.

      Indeed Ms Harrison was asked by many of the GSD breeders to attend meetings, air the research through her 'media', testing and genetic investigations that they have been done over the years alas this request was met with a dull silence? Why? She was posting on the GSD boards until asked to actually help and act, but then she opted to simply go away and ignore the requests................... surely she could have supported and assisted with pushing the 'authorities' to make health testing mandatory and breeding 'outcrossed'. Support the BVA systems already in place for those that have health tests developed? Look towards a system of Breed Surveying prior to an chosen 'sport' whether it be show, race, work, agility, flyball etc No? Why not? Not her job prehaps? Or maybe too difficult a path to go down? Now that support and action REALLY WOULD give a future to a variety of breeds wouldn't it?

  8. There are also people who make the heart-breaking decision not to have children based on their own medical history.

    In general I would say people don't set themselves up as experts in breeding or improvers of the human race through breeding unlike some dog breeders who claim exactly that with respect to their particular breed. In which case surely it's not unfair to expect them to take on health issues as well as conformation.

  9. Bodil 3.08 Excellent post

  10. Caroline Thibodeau14 March 2012 at 23:37

    I would be interested in knowing what Ms. Harrison has contributed to health issues in her breed of choice? She admits it is rife with cancer. Has she donated DNA, tissue or blood from her "healthy" flatcoats to studies aimed at eradicating these diseases? Does she health test all her dogs regardless of whether or not they will ever be shown or bred? The depth and breadth of health information in any breed is important to the knowledge base - not only breeding animals need to be tested, ALL the dogs in a pedigree should be tested.