Sunday, 5 May 2013

AKC v The Today Show

Ever since Pedigree Dogs Exposed aired in the UK in 2008, show breeders in the US have looked on in astonishment at the way the Kennel Club in the UK "pandered" (as they see it) to the critics. They just don't get why the KC, after a relatively short period of defensive denial, began to implement changes.

There are quite complicated reasons why reform has come. They include:

• strong backing for reform by the veterinary profession
• three major reports highlighting the problems (including one co-commssioned by the Kennel Club itself)
• the setting up of the independent Dog Advisory Council.
• a growing acceptance by both breeders and at least some at the Kennel Club that there were problems and that more should be done to tackle them.
• a little bit of Governmental pressure
• the loss of Crufts' major sponsors
• the loss of mainstream television coverage of Crufts
• behind the scenes, a loosely-organised group of campaigners. Comprising researchers, vets, photographers, journalists, bloggers, breeders and pet owners, this is the "doggerati" - bullying through a strong, simple, single message: put the dogs first.
• the internet - which allows the free-flow of information, a fast response to misinformation and sharp commentary on stupidity.

But the primary motivator was publicity. Lots of it. Very bad publicity. And it was unrelenting. Pedigree Dogs Exposed was a water-cooler moment here in the UK and the general media couldn't get enough of the story. For months and months and months.

Pictures of gasping Bulldogs, bug-eyed Pugs and Shar-pei whose head looked like they'd been stung by a thousand bees were plastered all over the newspapers. Every bit of fall-out from the film generated headlines - Pedigree withdrawing its sponsorship of Crufts, the announcement of the inquiries, the BBC dropping the televising of Crufts. Much of it was front-page news in the nationals and it heaped more and more pressure on the Kennel Club.

In the end the KC had no choice. It really was a question of its own survival.

Observers in the US have no idea what it was like for the Kennel Club. They think the KC were pussies. "It couldn't happen here," they maintain. "The AKC would never roll over like that."

You think?

Of course there have been pockets of bad press for US show breeders. The odd hard-hitting magazine article. The occasional television item. Quite a lot of strong blogging. Nothing, though, that the AKC hasn't been able to bat off fairly easily. It's a big country. There are so many different TV stations and the media and the dog-owning public so diffuse. While Pedigree Dogs Exposed was broadcast in the US, it aired on local PBS stations and BBC America. It never made the big time.

But it's hotting up in the US. Last week, the AKC took a drubbing from The Today Show on NBC. The report focused on husbandry, not genetic/conformation problems but it was bad news for the AKC.

Have a look at this:

(If the video doesn't load, you can view the report here.)

As you'll see, central is the charge that the AKC's inspections of breeders are woefully inadequate and that, consequently, the AKC sometimes registers sick pups raised in hellish conditions . The Today Show illustrates the piece with the story of a Great Dane breeder whose dogs were found to be in poor condition just days after an AKC inspection had declared that all was fine.

Making it a whole heap worse is that the AKC spokesperson interviewed by NBC was a disaster. Cornered by the fact that there was no real defence to the charges, she had to admit that the AKC fields just nine inspectors for the whole of the USA and was unable to say what percentage of breeders had been checked.

What the AKC should have done was to say that it had launched an investigation into the claims and the Great Dane case in particular; that it would act on its findings; that it realised that nine inspectors for the whole of the USA was woefully inadequate, and that steps were being taken to improve things.

But nope.  The day before the show aired, the AKC sent out this defensive plea asking the dog world to bombard NBC with "it's not fair" emails.

Click to enlarge
And the day after the AKC followed up with this:

Click to enlarge
Underneath this, it listed 11 "top facts the Today Show didn't tell you." For those, see here.

You'll see that not a single one addresses the specific charges made in the Today Show report. 

And let me spell it out: if the Today Show had got it that wrong, the AKC would not be asking people to whinge to NBC. It would be consulting its lawyers. 

Absolutely outrageous, incidentally, was the AKC's Top Fact No 11:
"They didn't tell you that The Today Show's Natalie Morales made a TV public service announcement in conjunction with the Ad Council and the HSUS."
This is a really cheap shot by the AKC- an attempt to discredit the piece by insinuating that an NBC anchor is an HSUS monkey because she supports pet adoption. (Yep, just rescuing a dog these days is almost enough to have you banged-to-rights as an animal rights activist.)

It reminded me a lot of the release the KC put out the day before Pedigree Dogs Exposed aired in the UK (still available here) - which served only to alert the mainstream media to a newsworthy spat.

The AKC response to the report was, in effect, just as damaging as the report itself.

You cannot tackle charges like this with deflection.

It's like the Catholic Church saying: "Now you claim some our priests have been abusing children, but look at the wonderful work these nuns do with the poor on the streets of Buenos Aries."

It doesn't work.

Is it a blow the AKC will withstand? Probably - for now.  It was lucky that NBC chose to pitch Wayne Pacelle from the Humane Society (HSUS) against the AKC. Most people in the dog world hate HSUS so much that they were inclined to rally round the AKC on this occasion.


Despite the hatred of HSUS, the AKC has taken bit of a battering on its blog on the issue (see the comments here.) This reflects a growing voice from within - something which contributed to prompting reform here in the UK.

It really was piss-poor PR by the AKC - an organisation that is not really used to be having a spotlight shone on its nether regions.  It is going to have to get used to it, though. The word is increasingly out, not just regarding the registration of dogs bred and raised in less-than-ideal circumstances, but in respect of:

•  conformation problems and inbreeding (just as bad in the US as they are here, although affecting breeds to different degrees)

• falling AKC registrations - while its rival the UKC is enjoying a rise in registrations. (This is prompted in part by the UKC's Total Dog philosphy, popular dog events, appeal to grass roots owners and - or so I like to think - in the UKC's acknowledgment of the issues I highlight here.  The UKC is still way behind what the KC or Scandanavian KCs in terms of reform, but it has made a start. It will no longer register the progeny of first-degree relative matings and it has revised some breed standards. More about this another time.)

The AKC meanwhile, has dug its heels in (it will still register the closest of matings and it has resolutely refused to alter breed standards that plainly demand conformational extremes). In comparison, it feels elitist and stuffy.

Yesterday's spoilt child.


  1. What does HSUS stand for please and UKC? Is UKC a rival of the AKC and are they sponsoring their own shows, registrations, breed standards etc?

    1. HSUS stands for Humane Society Of The United States which is very misleading as it is not affiliated with the U.S. Government. The UKC stands for United Kennel Club and it is an organization that sponsors shows, has its own breed registry and breed standards. It is not limited to the USA as they have shows in other countries. I and many others register my dogs with both organizations and show in both venues. I also belong to breed clubs that are affiliated with both organizations. I did not see the segment on on the Today Show so I can't speak to anything other than the segment shown here. That segment shows someone who bought a dog without doing her homework. Had she taken the time to find out if the parents had health testing and interviewed the breeder or many breeders she would have gotten a dog and a breeder that she would be happy with. However she chose to blame AKC rather than her own poor judgement.

  2. Links in the text, Georgina..


  3. HSUS is Humane Society of the USA. It is not the same thing as your local shelter

    UKC is the united kennel club. Yes, it is an alternative registry that does honor akc registrations, AKC does not honor UKC registrations unless someone can reference AKC dogs in the pedigree. Yes they have their own breed standards and shows and yes they have a sorted history with AKC mostly over pitbulls and pet bulls.

    1. Thanks, I had looked online, it doesn't seem to matter what nationality is involved does it where cruelty to anything that doesn't have it's own voice. I find a really worrying part of the human pshyce, I despair, I really do.
      Interesting about UKC/AKC, I can see KC internationally being challenged by other bodies who will offer a more rational, sensible, involved participation in the wellbeing of dogs. G

  4. The AKC is chummier with volume breeders than the KC has ever been. See also

    The dog press has done a lot to expose AKC's links to commercial dog breeders, and I'd especially recommend the second link...and links therein.

  5. Three organization no one likes when you dig deep; NBC, AKC, and HSUS. Wow, I don't know what to make of this besides everyone's full of shit up to a point. That news segment was horrible. The HS advocate was horrible. That interview was horrible. That AKC spokesperson was horrible. That reaction post was horrible. This is not a good source of a largely objective viewpoint, but a muddle of crap sown together. I wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole.

  6. Well.. I'm not taking a bash at you, Jemima, nor am I disagreeing with you. It's sad that AKC is NOT improving its organization with rejecting puppy mill registries, and improving dog breed health. However, I don't approve of the HSUS, or any big humane society. I have had it. All they are is just big money sucking machines that don't deserve the accreditation. They're hypocrites. Their donation commercials are misleading, nor are they completely honest. Their donations mostly go to the employees rather than the animals (it should be the other way around). They need to support the local rescues MUCH MORE like they claim.

    1. Anonymous, I agree with you. HSUS is under fire for not being a non-profit organisation.

      No matter what you may think of the AKC and its policies or lack of them, their raison d'etre is not the abolition of all domesticated animal....and dog breeding is in the closest line of fire.

    2. I agree Dorothea ( my God did I just say that..LOL) thanks for posting this but let's be clear .. the HSUS raison d'etre IS the abolition of the domestic animal they are under fire for many reasons..

  7. The sooner people behave towards one another and other species in the sam way as dogs conduct themselves the world would be a better place. Money is such a moral and mind rotting commodity, the only way to stop a lot of this nonsense internationally is for all KCs to be dissolved completely and utterly. They seemed to be formed as an old boys club and those self important twits who are running them are being richly rewarded with our money rather than fornthe benefit of the dogs they were formed to protect in the first place. Absolutely shambolic and shameful.

    1. Georgina,

      Like many, you make a fundamental category error. Kennel clubs are not, and never have been, animal welfare organizations. They are breeders’ clubs. They claim to promote welfare and in some ways they do; it looks good and feels good to do this but the reality is that the interests of breeders and the interests of the dogs are not only different but often in conflict. Without outside pressure from real animal welfare groups, kennel clubs will only actively pursue animal welfare when it does not conflict with the interests of their real constituents: breeders. The dogs don’t have a vote or pay dues.

      Kennel clubs may make adjustments to how they operate as a result of pressure from animal welfare groups, but they will never be animal welfare groups. The issue is not their real remit, nor is it the source of their funding.

    2. Are but Sarah, no HEALTHY pedigree dogs no KENNEL CLUB. The KCs have a vested interest in dogs overall. The are self appointed leaders of the pedigree dog world in the UK consequently they should be seen to be proactive in the welfare of all dogs. Because at the end of the day, if they are as careless with "dogs of documented, provable heriditary" and they die out, then the "dogs with unknown heriditary" will have to come into play. A lot about keeping dogs is having a compassion and love for them, regardless of their background, surely the KCs share that same compassion, or are you saying that for them, dogs are just an inaminate commodity? Like dealing on the stock market? Really - wow?

    3. Georgina:

      “Are but Sarah, no HEALTHY pedigree dogs no KENNEL CLUB.”

      Look at the current decline in kennel clubs and the concomitant increase in awareness of health problems in kennel club registered dogs. You get it and I get it, but I think there are a lot of kennel club people out there who don’t.

      “The KCs have a vested interest in dogs overall. The are self appointed leaders of the pedigree dog world in the UK consequently they should be seen to be proactive in the welfare of all dogs.”

      “Should” and “are” are not the same thing. They were not set up to “protect dogs”; they were set up to register a scientifically non-existent entity – the purebred dog – and to run beauty pageants…I mean shows. As I said, they do voluntarily do some work towards welfare – when it does NOT conflict with the interests of their members, who are human, not canine. That does not make them animal welfare organizations.

      “Because at the end of the day, if they are as careless with "dogs of documented, provable heriditary" and they die out, then the "dogs with unknown heriditary" will have to come into play.”

      I would argue that this is already happening, and in some ways, so what? Yes, I do actually like having different dogs designed for different purposes, but “dogs with unknown heredity” is how it was done with few exceptions for thousands of years and the dogs seemed to be just fine, as do today’s mutts. On the other hand, there are numerous breeds with “dogs of documented, provable heredity” that I would tell people not to touch with a barge pole because they are so physically and/or genetically unhealthy. I believe they will die out unless there is a paradigm shift. Every breed in a closed-registry is in the same situation – good or bad luck determines the speed with which all “purebreds” are heading for oblivion. You can only lose genetic diversity in a closed-registry. To reverse the health and welfare issue this causes requires letting go of the “purity” that kennel club members value, the very purity kennel clubs were set up to promote and guarantee.

      “A lot about keeping dogs is having a compassion and love for them, regardless of their background, surely the KCs share that same compassion, or are you saying that for them, dogs are just an inaminate commodity? Like dealing on the stock market? Really - wow?”

      First, you are confusing kennel clubs with breeders. Second, you are not taking into account the cognitive dissonance of breeders who breed for health- and welfare-compromising conformation and use breeding practices that destroy genetic health in order to achieve their ends with their much-loved dogs for whom they doubtless have a great deal of compassion, filtered through breed blindness.

      Animal welfare organizations look after the animals’ interests. Dogs’ interests are good mental, physical and genetic health and functional conformation. Kennel clubs look after breeders’ interests: “purity” and winning shows. These interests are, as it stands, in conflict and one organization cannot serve two masters. Dogs couldn’t care less about “purity”, disfunctional “beauty” or winning shows, the things their health and welfare are compromised to achieve in the world of the show ring.

      If you disagree, then think about this: if breeders really saw their dogs’ mental, physical and genetic health as their primary interest, they would be discarding the disastrous and unsupportable concept of “purity”, every show would involve a vet exam that disqualified unfit and unsound dogs, and no dog would be a “champion” without passing a test of physical and mental functionality related to the purpose that dictated its form. The beauty pageant aspect, if it existed at all, would be a fun aside.

      I can hear the howls of protest, and they are not coming from the dogs.

    4. OK Sarah, I hear what you are saying. I never confuse breeders with KC. I advocate that the KC should be much more proactive with regard to dog welfare and the way they achieve that is via the breeders. The breeders from whom they take money for their services, the breeders who own and care for the pedigree dogs. The pedigree dogs who rely wholly, totally and absolutely on that breeder. The KC in their role as the pedigree dog world authority have to be seen to be compassionate, loyal and trustworthy, both for the dogs and the breeders. There is no split, no one part of showing/breeding/selling dogs is an island, they are one, whole, complete, unit. The bad breeders should be expelled, refused, denied any association with the KC, but only the KC can endorse and police that.
      I am totally focused on what the problems are and fully aware, there is no confusion on my part. There are good breeders, thankfully, all bad breeders are undermining the goodwill and integrity of the rest of the pedigree dog world. Have no doubt whatsoever, the KC are and should be responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of ALL dogs, regardless of their background. They have a huge income made from the dog world, just like puppy farmers but unlike puppy farmers who blatantly don't care about welfare, the KC must be seen to involve themselves publicly in all welfare action. Have you taken on board the CARIAD blog re the puppy farm now licensed for 78 BREEDING BITCHES. I pointed out the ramifications of that, because it is not JUST 78 breeding bitches is it? I have written to Ceredigion Council asking them to review their position on the license, perhaps you would like too, this over production of sickly puppies with poor future outlook must be stopped and it is exactly this sort of thing, in the pursuit of healthy pedigree dogs where the KC could act so effectively on those poor bitches behalf. That is what I mean about compassion, compassion for those poor bitches who have never done, said, acted or done anything to warrant such cruelty, and that is why I advocate the KC should be come involved in removing and closing these establishment down. In this case the howls of protest will be heard from the bitches who are left to whelp on their own, the howls of protest will be heard from the people who have bought one of the puppies as a new family member and have to explain to their young children that the puppy has to be killed because it is suffering, and the biggest howl of all is when that owner has to hold that puppy for the final time when he takes his last breath and dies in her arms. And that action will probably haunt the whole family for the rest of their lives. Howls, oh yes, there will be howls, you are not wrong there Sarah.

    5. Georgina, I appreciate your stance on compassion and care for animals, and if you really think the KC can be pressured into becoming an organization that truly promotes canine welfare, then go for it. I would suggest as a first move that you persuade kennel clubs to stop taking money in the form of registration fees from puppy farmers, which totally compromises any moral authority kennel clubs that do this try to claim. It also makes their motives for fighting legislation to combat puppy mills highly suspect, no matter how flawed the legislation. Another conflict of interest to sort out.

      "...the KC are and should be responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of ALL dogs, regardless of their background."

      Frankly, the last people I want to be responsible for the welfare of my dogs are a group of people who are decimating the gene pool of large numbers of dogs and rewarding health compromising conformation. You see, ultimately I don't think kennel clubs are good for dogs - I want them gone, not promoted :-). You and I will have to agree to differ.

  8. The spokeswoman for the AKC was gobsmacking in her lack of knowledge and her defense of her organization. Who polices the AKC?

  9. The AKC rep was edited down to a couple of minutes from an interview that was over an hour. The AKC is a registry not an organization for policing breeders. They register dogs, plain and simple. Yes they do some kennel inspections but mainly to make sure record keeping is in order. It is not their job to make evaluations on the conditions in the kennels, that is the job of the local and state humane societies. NBC is in bed with HSUS, their anchor is a spokeswoman for them. Just disgraceful reporting.

    1. A quick Google reveals that NBC anchor Natalie Morales chose pet adoption as an issue to highlight in a series featuring NBC anchors talking about issues they felt passionately about. HSUS were involved peripherally with that and Wayne Pacelle used the opportunity to blog about it.

      This does not make Moralis a "spokesperson for HSUS" - but even if she was, it has little relevance. For a start, she is just one of hundreds of other journalists with their own minds at NBC and as far as I can see she had nothing to do with this report - it was authored by someone else. Second, the issue is: were the facts correct in this case? It would appear so, as the AKC did not try to dispute them - they just tried to deflect from them.

      I was disgusted, btw, that the AKC itself tried to insinuate bias in saying that Moralis had appeared in a public service ad promoting shelter adoption. Unfair and unprofessional. But of course I get it all the time, too - constant claims that I am some kind of animal rights activist ergo no one needs to take the claims in PDE seriously.

      It's the message that's the issue, not the bloody messenger.

      Re AKC inspection, see this:

      "The AKC is the only purebred registry in the United States with an ongoing routine kennel inspection program. The AKC has a dedicated team of field inspectors who visit kennels to help breeders while ensuring the proper care and conditions of AKC-registered dogs and verify that breeders are maintaining accurate records for their dogs. Since 2000, AKC field inspectors have conducted over 45,000 inspections nationwide."

      Not just about record-keeping - "proper care and conditions".

      Re the AKC "just being a registry", that just doesn't wash. The AKC runs a blog saying it loves dogs.. it bills itself as "Not just champion dogs... the dogs' champion". It claims, as yu see above, that it inspects AKC breeders. And, indeed, through its health initiatives it is clearly more than a registry.

      The KC tried that here at one point, too. Didn't work...


    2. The AKC is more than just a registry; don't fall for the AKC's "we're innocent because we're only a registry" spin.

      An organization that is ONLY a registry does not sanction, develop rules, award titles, and collect fees for over 10 different events (show, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, hunt tests, earthdog, etc.)

      In summary, the AKC registers dogs, sets rules (strictly speaking approves or disapproves proposed rules) how to win events, determines the winners of events; thereby, determine which dogs are the best and should be bred.

    3. Jemima, as usual the AKC is inaccurate or incomplete in its public self-laudatory declarations. It is NOT the only purebred registry in the U.S. with an ongoing inspection program. The National Greyhound Association (NGA), which is the registry for American racing Greyhounds, has an active and ongoing inspection program and a robust enforcement record. This may be true of other single-breed registries such as the Masters of Foxhounds Association, which registers working Foxhounds.
      Please do mention occasionally to your readers that not all pedigreed dogs are the product of the kennel club show culture or registered with kennel club registries. Those of us who fancy racing and coursing Greyhounds are proud of the manner in which breeders of these pedigreed athletes have maintained a healthy, functional and genetically diverse population of purebred dogs. Experience seems to demonstrate that it is the single breed registries which provide the best stewardship of their breeds.

      John Parker

    4. Yes.. a good point. Thank you, John.


    5. oh yes Jemima let's get the HSUS in to talk about greyhound racing That should be very interesting.

  10. IMO - just more onesided journalism.

  11. Thank goodness we have national kennel clubs in Europe who have long since recognised that their role is not only to be a registry , but also to work actively for the health and welfare of dogs generally. Modern kennel clubs who have moved on far beyond the Victorian notion of paper registries guaranteeing breed purity.

  12. Did you bother to even watch the report Anon?

  13. A few facts from someone who regularly watches the Today Show. A few months ago all the anchors worked with the Ad Council (one of the biggest producers of public service announcements in the US) to produce ads for a social cause of their choice. Al Roker did a PSA on emergency preparedness. Matt Lauer did one on fatherhood. And Natalie Morales did one on pet adoption. It was really sweet and you can see it here:

    At the very end you can see a credit for the Shelter Pet Project, and even a teeny tiny logo for the HSUS. This hardly qualifies her as a spokesperson for the Humane Society.

    I find it appalling that the AKC would seek to discredit someone (who wasn't even the reporter for the aforementioned AKC piece) simply because they want people to consider adopting a pet from a shelter. Has the AKC fallen so low? I own two purebred dogs, neither came from a shelter. But as a dog lover, I want ALL dogs to find loving, forever homes. If that qualifies me as an AR nut, then the majority of Americans fit into that category, and the AKC is in big trouble.

  14. If the AKC really lambusted someone for alerting others to dog rescue that is shameful. Again I would suggest that all KCs be dissolved and a world wide conference be called for all dog lovers etc to be involved. All to offer what they would expect from an organisation established to protect the welfare of dogs first and foremost, universally. Whatever follows thereafter would be evolved with total openess and non political. Hopefully it would bring some unification and understanding of others and their experience would be invaluable for the dogs, our dogs, their dogs, everybodies dogs regardless of background.

    1. can I have some of what you are smoking

  15. Hmmmmmm
    The UK KC, the ACK, yes they are more than just registries but they aren't the police. They should be educating the public on buying happy, healthy dogs (as the UK KC has taken some effort to do, and was doing even before PDE if people bothered to look at their website and leaflets)and trying to avoid registering dogs from unhealthy parents and puppy farms BUT all this horribleness will only go away if individual people start seeing dogs as sentient beings of worth not just money making breeding machines, substitute kids, living toys, walking haircuts etc etc etc. The Kennel Clubs can't change the many people who breeds and buy poor quality dogs if those people don't want to change. At least the KC in the UK is trying....

  16. Hi VP, no they are not the police but they are the authorities, or that is what they believe. If they accept the responsibility of this title and the money from people who wish to do the right thing then they should be more active. All of the KC throughout the World exist purely because of the goodwill of people who wish to show and breed pedigree dogs. There is no legal requirement for people to use their services. People could still breed and show without the KCs, it would just be different. If nobody registered a puppy for a month, paid club show licences, the KC would suddenly start to respect the masses and become humble and appreciate that they need to participate in all dog activities, be seen to lobby governments, local councils in the case of puppy farming, puppy importation and cruelty. The need to use their voice (effectively our voice), their power (us) and their huge financial backing (ours). No they can't prevent people buying sick puppies of poor quality, but they could actively stop the puppy farmers and suspect sources in the first place. The lady who brought up the 78 dog puppy farm in Wales, why aren't the KC jumping in, pushing the council and get the place shut down? They should, they have a responsibility to the dogs to stop it, to all dogs in these situations.

    1. "The lady who brought up the 78 dog puppy farm in Wales, why aren't the KC jumping in, pushing the council and get the place shut down? "

      For the simple reason that IT'S NOT ILLEGAL! Unfortunately until THE GOVERNMENT passes a LAW making large-scale puppy-producing illegal then there's nothing anyone can do, because to prevent legal trading activity is itself forbidden.

    2. Very true Mary. And we should remember that commercial or large scale breeding can be done without compromising animal welfare at all, however distasteful we may find it.
      It will remain hard for KC's to police dog health/breeding without laws to help them, statutory powers to help them AND while they also receive their income from the breeders. Maybe it's time for KC's to separate their activities, or for another organisation to police health/breeding. Just don't let it be the RSPCA!

    3. VP

      Why not the RSPCA?

    4. Yes Mary, you are quite right, it isn't illegal. However, if the KC kicked up enough fuss and used their powerful influence they could become illegal.
      Anon 11:16 "large scale breeding can be done without comprimising animal welfare at all". However, 78 breeding bitches, 78 x 2 eyes and ears, 78 x 4 feet and nails, 78 bottoms, 78 mouths. Say half of these bitches have a litter modest assessment), that's 37 litters, say 5 pups average/litter (modest assessment) so 37 x 5 puppies that's 185 puppies, that is 185 x 2 eyes, 185 x 2 ears etc etc. That's a lot of looking after just to keep them well and happy. Then 78 plus 185 in an 8 hour working day, mmm how many minutes allocated to the care of each dog per day is that? And what would be a reasonable ratio of dogs per kennel maid/man to ensure the welfare and upkeep.
      That doesn't take into account the actual WALKING AND ENTERTAINMENT of those dogs nor the CLEANING.
      The KC in conjunction with other welfare organisations should be doing everything to get these places shut down. In this case it isn't JUST 78 dogs, it's all the ramifications associated with and thereto. It would need to be a very conscientous, devoted commercial breeder to take the responsibility of so many dogs, without the breeding aspect attached, the reason they are established in the first place.

    5. why not the RSPCA? Because they are too political and at times verge towards an animal rights (rather than welfare)agenda. There are some high up in the RSPCA who are leaning towards the 'no animal should be used for human benefit' stance of scary organisations like PETA. Don't get me wrong the RSPCA does some great work and has some fantastic people working within it, but as an organisation as a whole I fear it's a mucked up and confused as the KCs!

    6. VP - in the absence of any other regulatory organisation there really isn't any other viable option other than the RSPCA. The Dog's Trust remit doesn't extend to this but I am sure they will end up with dogs in their care who are sourced from these places...I don't think we are in a position to be fussy about who escalates this to a government level as it just needs a massive publicity campaign.

    7. No, not the RSPCA. Too much bad blood; too many other agendas.

      I called, in PDE2, for the Dog Advisory Council to be made a statutory body - to help create and run a joined-up dog strategy for the UK. Unlikely to happen, sadly, but that is what I think should happen.


    8. What 'should' happen is ideal. One has to have a degree of pragmatism whilst campaigning for reform too!

      Why would the Government even consider a Dog statutory body if any Tom, Dick or Harry can breed or own them and there is no legal requirement to regulate any of the associated professions?

      Realism anyone? Hardly in a position r be fussy given the lack of priority the welfare of the domestic dog sadly seems o have in modern society.....

  17. Any organisation that puts the welfare of dumb animals first is ok by me. I'm not sure what is the difference between animal rights and welfare? Aren't they one and the same. A lot of animals love being included with the pack activities whether it's police, guide dogs, army, pat dogs, dogs for the disabled, sheepdogs, etc etc. The breeds like foxhounds, greyhounds, lurchers, terriers, staffies etc are perhaps more likely to be misused. Either because of the types of people who own them nefariously, or because there is betting involved and the mind rotter, money, is involved. In the RSPCA's favour is the fact that they are publicly actively and consequently may get some of their policies wrong but at least they are being seen to try and put things right in favour of misused animals. However, the KC
    are silent, detached, disinterested?? They only become public aware when Crufts is aired on television when they want as much kudos and respect as possible. In my blogs I must sound as if I am anti KC, to the contrary I am very pro, but currently disillusioned by their ineffectiveness in offering aide to dogs.

    1. Big difference Georgina. Animal rights - means the animal can not be exploited in any shape or form for human gain. Morally reprehensible!

      Welfare implies that we can use animals for our own ends, but their suffering must be eliminated or reduced as much as is possible in the process.

  18. Animal Rights tends to refer to the extreme end where people believe that no animal should be used for human benefit. This means no captive or domestic animals at all. No meat, milk, fur, leather but also no riding horses, no pet dogs, no goldfish in ponds, no guide dogs, no captive breeding programmes for endangered wildlife...
    Animal Welfare accepts that humans will use animals but champions for those animals to have the best life (and death in the case of meat producing animals) possible.

    1. OK, got it, but meet in the middle ground and that should be the best outcome, but human beings are involved so it will be totally extorted, but I do see what you both mean. I was being niaive with my expectations of human nature.

  19. I love this blog. Great articles. Extraordinary comments. A magnet for knowlegable bright dog people. You can quote me on that.

    If I may add my opinion, I'd say that thing here in the USA are far different than across the water.

    In the USA we have to factor in all the people who think "It's just a dog". It isn't just an All Creature Great and Small attitude over here. There are plenty of kind peope here who love dogs, but there are plenty of people here that hate dogs, and plenty more who just don't care at all.

    Somebody has 300 breeding dogs? so what, lots of hog farms have more hogs than that, and we EAT hogs. {Implying that we should inspect hogs, but why bother to inspect kennels?}

    Due to attitudes like that, sometimes a more effective path is to point out how the health problems of puppies affect consummers {the people who buy a pet puppy}. For example:

    Bob bought a Lab puppy for his kids to play with, they love the puppy, but now Bob has to pay for new hip joints on the Lab, and now Bob finds out that lots of defective puppies are being sold. Bob wants the breeder or the dog club to re-pay him for the hip replacement costs for the Lab.

    Heather bought a spaniel for her 3 children, but it is often too sick to play with them, so Heather has the hard task of explaining sickness to her children, and they have had enough saddness, stress, and loss in their lives already. Also, if the spaniel doesn't make it, Heather will have to talk to her children about death. The children have had enough sorrow with the divorce and moving.

    Heather is angry that she was sold a sickly puppy. She is even angrier that these inherited health problems could have been bred out and weren't. Heather knows that her childrens' happiness and innocence can not be restored to them, but Heather feels that somebody owes her something for the lack of attention to healthful breeding in her spaniel.

    Joe bought a macho puppy for a jogging partner, but now his 10 month old canine friend has developed health problems.

    Bob, Heather, and Joe are not real cases, rather I am just trying to point out that the tone sometimes needs to focus on the owners first, and then just add a bit about how each dog is suffering too, before moving on to focs on the next cheated consummer.

    Sad but true, in most states in the USA dogs are legally considered just property. Sadder, but many people see it that way too.

  20. There is a bit of history behind any story about the AKC, the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture - sort of the AKC's boss maybe] , and kennel inspections.

    I hope that isn't going to go another round again, unless, of course, it actually ends up working out to sound ideas that will actually work out best for dogs and people.

    You might remember the proposed PAWS legistration seveal years ago? If I remember right, a lot of talk went around about letting the AKC do it's own inspections. Like letting restaurants inspect themselves.

    Lots of emotion on both sides, and a politician walked right into the middle of it. The poo hit the internet fan and there was plenty of it for everybody. Do Not Want To Go Through Those Arguements Again. Too Much Emotion.

    My understanding is that the AKC does do some inspections on their own. People who talk about inspections claim it is mostly about if your paperwork is correct or not - but that might of changed, since people talk about when it happened as if it were yesterday, when it might have been years ago.

    One issue discussed on the internet during the PAWS talks was if tax money would go to the group doing the inspections if the USDA didn't do them anymore. That would have involved a lot of money and a change in power. Not sure how talk went to having the AKC inspect itself, as HSUS is usually thought of as more in that line of work.

    Can you even image either of those outcomes? Personally, i would rather have some other ground work laid down first, before even talking about anything like PAWS.

    Remember that USDA inspections are agriculture inspections done by the federal government, but the AKC is a club which can also inspect its own breeders. The AKC had a magazine, the AKC Gazette, which published lists of failed inspected breeders and what they were failed for. I don' know if they still publish, I think there was some talk of their data being included with some other magazine, but with the internet now that might have changed too. I guess one could find it somewhere if this topic returns.

  21. There were at least two PAWS Bills that I Know of. I understand the various back and forth re-writes and negotiations upset some people who are following dog laws.

    You might want to look it up as an example of a train wreak. As I said, it seems that the many changes in the proposal left some members of the public feeling as if the changes were not always in their favor, and led to some feelings of mistrust to a much higher degree than it was before.

  22. The senator on the last PAWS bill was Rick, Richard Santorum from Illinois. His name in your search might help you google it.

    1. Senator Santorum is from Pennslyvania, but PAWS was his. His name will come up in other searches because he made a bid for president.

  23. Writing laws must be very difficult. Even after you sort out the liars and the overly selfish, there are basic differences in how people view the world.

    If you take down a company, club, or regulatory group, what are you going to put in its place? Or what might spring up in its place? There are already online puppy selling sites and online rescued dogs for adoption sites, but not everything about raising and showing dogs has anything at all to do about dogs.

    What about tax shelters? What about the traveling, gambling, socialising, and entertainment aspects? What will fill those needs?

  24. The USDA does inspect some kennels. They inspect breeders but I don't believe the AKC has any real dogs at all. They sell papers.

    I believe they call themselves a club, not a company. So I don't know who their boss would be.

    The public's belief about what the AKC is, doesn't always match with "just sells papers".

    It is like as if a blind person had a pony which was trained to act as a guide dog, and to enable the blind person to take his guide pony into buildings, the judge ruled the pony was legally a dog.

    The blind man could insist that legally it was a dog. But everyone knows that it is really a pony.

    Call it The Empiror's New Clothes, or The Elephant In The Living Room, but it is where we agree that something is one thing when we know it is not, and some people believe what we say not what they see.

    We see that all the various breed and kennel clubs have power, control, and authority over breeders, their dogs, and the future of pet dogs too. But most of that power is in an illusion where if others could just see the truth, then they could just walk away.

  25. The ideal network to air a documentary like Pedigree Dogs Exposed here in the States would be HBO. I also think it would be great exposure if the documentary could be available on Netflix/Hulu.

  26. AKC DOES NOT register OR license breeders!!! they register dogs!! AKC IS NOT the police, OR authorities they only "inspect" and "report". that's all they can do. THEY ARE a registry that inspects kennels that make the high volume list, AGAIN they can only REPORT a kennel in bad conditions they don't have the authority to rade a kennel. the USDA licenses breeders N-O-T the AKC. gets your dang facts right JH...or maybe you just chose to share here what made you look right, which I am most certain is the case.