Sunday 20 April 2014

RSPCA blasts Channel 4 over Crufts claim

The RSPCA has accused Channel 4 of misleading viewers who wrote in to raise welfare concerns about this year's coverage of "the world's biggest dog show".

In its response to complaints, the broadcaster claimed that it "worked with" the RSPCA in putting together this year's broadcasts. 

Not true, says the RSPCA.

Here's the response one viewer received from Channel 4 (my bolding):
"Our coverage this year, as in the past, will not only cover the show itself, but will also reflect the on-going debate and continuing developments regarding dog welfare. We believe that by providing a major platform for debate and education, this can help people to make the right decisions about buying, raising and breeding healthy dogs as well as ensure that this debate is given an on-air forum. To that end, we will cover a range of health and welfare topics in short films followed by studio discussions with a member of the British Veterinary Association. We also have the RSPCA working with More4 and Channel 4, on how best to address health and welfare issues in the coverage of this year's Crufts."

The RSPCA, however, disputes this. Says Campaigns Manager Violet Owens:
"The RSPCA did attend a meeting with Sunset and Vine along with the Kennel Club and the BVA, but it was to discuss our concerns about the Crufts coverage from last year and the changes and improvements that should be made. However, we do not believe that any of our suggestions were taken forward and we were even more disappointed with this years coverage. We will be taking up the fact that we are being used as an endorsement of welfare in this response with the production company."
The RSPCA is right to be irritated by this year's coverage.

• The "member of the British Veterinary Association" was mostly vet Nick Blayney, the Kennel Club's Chief Veterinary Advisory/official KC apologist.  (And always to be remembered by me as the man who refused to condemn mother/son or full-sib matings when we interviewed him for Pedigree Dogs Exposed). Blayney even managed to recommend to viewers a Cavalier as the ideal lap-sitting breed for an elderly person without any mention of the costs involved in caring for a dog at a very high risk of heart disease and syringomyelia. (Heart meds alone can cost over £100 a month). And he maintained that there were more crossbreeds in rescue in the UK than purebreds - not in fact true.

• The KC's Assured Breeder Scheme was plugged without reflecting any of the flaws in the scheme.

• The Pekingese that went Best of Breed and won Reserve in the Toy Group (above) was a furball who panted for air as he waddled round the ring. Despite this, commentator Frank Kane made a point of saying the dog was "sound and healthy" and free of exaggeration (while praising owner/handler Burt Eadon for not walking too fast). Kane also declared - astonishingly - that the dog did not have too much coat.

Ch Yakee Ooh Aah Cantona is the grandson of Danny (Yakee A Dangerous Liaison) who won Crufts in 2003. As we revealed in Pedigree Dogs Exposed, Danny had had a soft-palate resection to treat his brachycephalic airway syndrome (although still gasped like a beached grouper).

In most thinking people's opinion, the op should have meant a disqualification - surgical procedures that alter a dog's natural conformation are not allowed and Danny's owners had not reported the procedure to the KC. But there was just enough wiggle room in the regulations (hey, the op only changed the dog's internal conformation not the external) for the KC to allow the win to stand.

Danny died earlier this year at the age of 15 - with some Peke-o-philes claiming this as evidence that PDE was wrong to criticise the dog. This is a bit like claiming that because Stephen Hawking has defied the odds in terms of longevity that there's nought wrong with motor neuron disease.

This year's winner was a little better than his grandfather in terms of his breathing, and I was pleased to see that he has a low co-efficient of inbreeding (at least according to the KC's Mate Select), but he is still light years from anything resembling a functional dog. And he certainly should never have been awarded Reserve Best in Show.

As ever, the impression given is that these dogs emerged fully-formed from some kind of natural evolutionary process. In reality they are the product of some sick people's warped idea of what a dog should be - something that needs to be challenged and challenged and challenged until they start breeding for a more athletic dog with longer legs, longer muzzle, wider nostrils, smaller eyes and less coat.


  1. When yousay complaints, how many complaints exactly did they recieve? Also when the rspca return to being a charity that does give a shit about animal welfare and not just robbing people left right and centre then maybe it may hold some weight.

  2. This dog reminds me of Sultan the dog turned footstool from Beauty and the Beast. In footstool form that is and without the lively character and ability to breath clearly and run easily.

  3. Nick Blayney not only let down Cavaliers, I found a lot of his remarks ill thought out, he played to the audience and his bank account. I think I have said before that I would not use him as my vet because I felt his commitment to dog welfare fell short of what I would want for my dogs. I do hope that the RSPCA inform the general public of the misleading comments that they have complained about. Like us all, the RSPCA are probably not perfect, but in essence they endeavour to do what they can within the limits of the (stupid) animal legislation. However, if they united with the KC they would be a formidable body that could really work towards the betterment of dogs (in this case) and because of that exposure other animals would hopefully benefit for years to come. Every time I read a blog here I see red and have to walk around before I can read it again, and everytime I curse the KC for their unprofessional, uncaring, glory seeking, money grabbing attitude. They have the maximum exposure in the dog world and yet they disregard the good they should be doing for dogs. Shameful.

    1. Georgina, I'd be surprised in Nick Blayney was paid for his appearance on the TV coverage of Crufts. I don't think there's a financial motive in his stance - I think it's just a misplaced and rather unscientific loyalty to the Kennel Club.

      Likewise, I don't think of the KC as "unprofessional, uncaring, glory-seeking or money-grabbing".

      It's just doing what it was set-up to do.

    2. Two thoughts, one Mr Blayney may not have been paid per se for his appearance but if he is still practicing his clients would perceive kudos in his "tv Crufts coverage". It implies he is an acknowledge expert by the top body for dog welfare. Disregarding the financial aspect of it, is that he did not grab the opportunity to make people aware of real health risks but just fudged with his attitude as per your comments in your response to me. I think that the KC are found seriously wanting hence the sad, deformed dogs we are seeing on PDE. Do or have they ever responded to you on any of the points you have raised? Glory seeking, Crufts fulfils that, unprofessional, uncaring, the fact that RBIS is acceptable to them, Basset is acceptable to them, Mastiffs, Pugs, Sharpei whatever, whatever are acceptable to them. If they cared they would be approaching the breeders/handlers and publicly be seen to start to push through hard, modifications within modified breed points. Money grabbing, possibly knowing that the BIS peke had had an operation to enable him to survive and continued to accept registration fees without seeking medical assurance that the offspring were not affected likewise in my view is money grabbing. Welfare for Pekes disregarded. It isn't doing what it was set up to do tho' is it? If it were PDE would be a positive happy site and probably unnecessary. Whereas in reality PDE is essential to make us all aware of what is truly happening in the pedigree dog world. No, sorry it isn't doing what is was set up to do at all despite what their "splash" wording states on their website, very sadly. All comments made with due respect, of course, just my opinion!

  4. It's just astonishing to me that TV producers are failing to do their research properly. If they truly produced a balanced programme, they would seek out deliberately alternative views on Crufts and veterinary advice from people who are not in any shape or form affiliated with the KC.

    It's getting embarrassing.........It makes me cringe watching Crufts. It belongs in the TV trash bin along with Miss World and Dog Training with Barbara Woodhouse. It is socially unacceptable to show dogs IMO. Who ARE these people??

  5. Recently I spoke to Bill Lambert about a remark he made inferring Cavaliers are not Brachycephalic. He told me he had asked five vets at the Kennel Club their opinion on whether Cavaliers are Brachy. Four said, "No" and one said, "They have a broad skull, but because of their nose length, they are not." So that means that vets advising the KC, do not even now their Cephalic Index from their Craniofacial ratio. I did explain that the nose length is not included in the cephalic index and sent Bill Lambert a German research paper, that not only proves the Cavalier to be Brachy but extreme Brachy, lets hope it done some good. All you can do is keep trying.

    1. Yes, the Cavalier is brachycephalic - not as severe as the Pug or the Frenchie, but nevertheless compromised. There was much tut-tutting, too, from the KC reps about the Staffy being included as brachycephalic in the recent Building Better Brachycephalics day at the RVC.

  6. Oh shame what a pity for the breed, it looks like real change wont actually ever happen. Will it just be an endless load of tripe like this and the dogs basically remaining the same ?

    Hopefully dog owners or consumers will vote with their money and not buy dogs like these from breeders like these.

    There is a gorgeous peke that lives up the road from us. She is white and tiny, dainty with a lovely smooth medium long wispy coat none of the thick fluff, her little nostrils are clear and her face not squashed, beautifully defined lips and eyes with black pigment . She runs up and down our hill, some two kilometres with some children everyday in 80% humidity and 33%C no problem at all, in fact she always leads. Her head is small and she doesn't waddle from side to side on bent legs but looks like she is floating on air and can sprint like a race horse.

    I was so impressed I asked where they got her but they didn't know Channel's ( as they call her) breeding as she came from a pet shop in Hong Kong and the pet shop which I later contacted didn't know either as she came in a batch from the mainland.

    Why is it so difficult finding a healthy functional dog breed? Sigh!

  7. There is so much romance in Pekingeses.

    Just read the dog breeder twaddle from this website:

    "Pekingese are stately, ancient lions, residing in tiny, perfectly manicured little bodies. They are living works of art, that require your utmost devotion, unceasing attention to detail and care. They blossom when grown in the warmth of love, like the penjing, or Chinese Bonsai, originally developed in the Orient almost 2000 years ago. Today the sublime art of bonsai is practiced throughout the world. Shape-harmony-proportion-scale is all weighed carefully as art, and the human hand combines this in a common cause with nature. Because of the similarities of ancient Chinese history, aesthetic beauty, and diminutive size of the bonsai and the Pekingese, I chose to name my kennel 'Bonsai Pekingese.'"

    This reads as if it were written by Napoleon Dynamite!

  8. Mmm, more twaddle: The Shar pei, majestically enfolded in rolls of aromatic skin folds oozing the purest pus and blood, sprinkled randomly with jewels of scabs and encrusted with decaying skin cells. Their expression of endearing abject misery, accompanied by the gentle slapping sound of his thickened ear leathers as he tries to rid himself of the pain within, and the joy of seeing him struggling to eat his food with massively swollen jaw and his inability to see his bowl because his eyes are blinded by the weight of excessive skin, all of these bring much joy to the breed purist. This reads as if it were written by a despairing dog lover, sickened by what it continually sees as gross disrespect towards dogs. (Retrieverman, I am sure we could come up with more of this twaddle, and I agree totally with the insanity of it all. These people are dillusional and worst of all, cruel.) Hope you don't mind the plagerism!! Georgina

  9. Blog says: "And he maintained that there were more crossbreeds in rescue in the UK than purebreds - not in fact true."

    Can you provide stats to back this up?

    1. Here are the latest Battersea stats avail:

      Their intake for 2012 comprised almost twice as many purebred dogs as crossbreeds. Most of these comprise Staffies of course (which alone number almost as many crossbreeds).


    2. What about the Dogs' Trust and RSPCA?

    3. You've obviously just looked but not actually read the report, Jemima.

      According to the stats, there were 3,357 purebreds and 1,864 crosses. Included in the purebred figure was 627 mongrels (yes, you read right), 135 pitbulls and 328 JRTs. Deduct this from the purebred total and add to the crosses total and the balance becomes:
      2,267 purebreds and 2,954 crosses.
      Factor in that also in the purebred figure is 984 staffies, consider how many of these are indeed Staffies. I've previously discussed this with various rehoming centres and they have confirmed that most dogs are recorded as the breed they resemble most. Even you can admit the staffies you see on the streets do not always represent what a 'true' staffie looks like.

    4. Anon 1248, in reality just the total number of dogs is really sad and disturbing. Dogs are dogs regardless of the jacket they wear, the one thing it underlines to me is that of any one litter deliberately bred means that half of those puppies will end up in rescue/rehomed. Not literally each litter obviousy, but the overall number of pups bred. For me this really pushes forward a plan to reduce the number of dogs being bred, there really has to be much more control. Pete the Vet has blogged about the number of perfectly healthy dogs being destroyed because there are just not enough people interested in taking on the great responsibility of dog ownership. Black Retriever X have an unending number of dogs they are battling to give a second chance for a happy secure life and needless to say there will be many other rescue centres involved.

    5. @ Georgina - funny you say that, 'dogs are dogs regardless of the jacket they wear' - not according to supporters of this site that condemn all pedigrees.

      It's always ok to comment when it suits your side of the argument but here we have just proven the stats are not to be trusted and I'm pretty confident that the 'purebred' total quoted by Battersea in their report is far outnumbered by crossbreeds. Taking that into account, that goes to show the problem of having too many dogs being bred lies with those irresponsibly producing mongrels and designer crosses who ultimately make up most of the dogs in need of rehoming. If we want to solve our problem of dog surplus let's tackle those producing what ends up in rescue centres.

    6. Anon 2107, ALL DOG BREEDING has to slow down. Breeding of dogs should only undertaken by genuine dog lovers who have an interest in the breed they love. It doesn't matter how the dog is bred, the point is that there are a) too many b) there are sick people breeding for gross exaggeration of breed points from purebred to crossbreed to mongrels. That is gross disrespect towards all dogs. PDE is established for the love of dogs, all of my dogs are pedigree, I believe JH has peds and crosses, and I am pretty certain that a high percentage of concerned people who comment on this blog also have pedigree dogs. In life we all have choices, we can buy a banger if we want but most of us buy the car that takes our fancy, fits our needs and is affordable. Exactly the same with animals. Horse lovers, cat, reptile, fish, dog become dazzled by and fall in love with a shape, an image, a character. Stats, stats, stats are a load of dispensable, moveable mountain. In essence the figs above can be interpretated anyway one wants and in favour of whatever argument one decides to fixate on. What isn't a moveable mountain is the amount of beautiful DOGS who find themselves in distressing, frightening situations that are caused entirely by HUMAN BEINGS. Thus your last sentence is correct but to facilitate this there needs to be more control regarding dog ownership, which personally I find abhorrent and alarming, but to help dogs and remove the unsavoury element who couldn't care less about their dogs and abuse them, then so be it. It is going to be a situation that genuine dog lovers like you and me and all who read and comment on this blog, will dread because our dogs are well looked after and much loved, and it is, as ever, going to be the "minority who spoil it for the majority". I'd like to also say that "supports of this site that condemn all pedigrees" is totally inaccurate, they love pedigrees so much that they are driven to appear negative because of the appalling breeding practices in some, if not the majority, of pedigree dogs - mainly for money, supported by insane egotistical beliefs. Just look at previous blogs, the shar peis, the pugs, the bulldogs etc etc. Come back and tell me you are happy to see dogs malformed who struggle every day just to function, not run, swim, play and be dogs.

  10. If the RSPCA are that annoyed by misrepresentation they could always shoot the production team with a bolt gun. Isn't that their answer to problems?

  11. 21:07

    " If we want to solve our problem of dog surplus, lets tackle those producing what ends up in rescue centres"

    O.K. So what ends up in rescue centres? Some times, its thoughtlessly bred dogs or pups whos breeders had no idea what they were getting into, or how to handle it.
    Or simply thought it would be nice for their dog to have a litter,
    Or didn't realise their pup could come into season so early and what that looks like.

    But mostly, its going to a slightly older pup or dog in a shelter, who is full of energy and the owner finds its all too much.

    Some times, dogs will end up in a shelter direct from the breeder, though thats not the usual story.

    The usual story is an owner.Thats where it starts, with an owners mistakes in choosing their dog, or how to manage it and train it.Or if they even have the time and resources to manage a dog.

    Ignorance seems to me to be why dogs end up in shelters. I see ignorance as the real problem.

    Some people just don't care , but there are cruelty laws that are pretty effective in those cases. People aren't likely to be put off by laws that aren't stopping them now.

    So Ignorance. How do we handle that?

    Outlaw it? Distance yourself. Its not what the K.Cs want and it makes them look bad to have any so called breeder behaving so irresponsibly. A breeder to a K.C member IS a K.C member. It what the K.Cs were set up for isn't it? To be an expert body devoted to the breeding of dogs?

    The fact that these things happen more out side of the K.Cs is used as a weapon against the environment to consolidate the K.Cs supremacy and righteousness.

    So by banning and outlawing activities out side the K.Cs charter you think it will solve them?

    What it does is shrink your environment. Whittles it away bit by bit and as it does, it increases the ignorance. because people are LESS familiar with Dogs. You take dogs out of their natural environment, the community, and place them more under K.C stewardship. So fewer are familiar with dogs reproductive cycles, disease, physical abnormalities and mental.Less aware of the issues surrounding breeding and more likely to make mistakes. Less empathy for an increasingly unfamiliar species and so more mistakes made in choices and decisions.

    The K.Cs take on their environment as an enemy, rather than their foundation.

    Responsibility comes with community values and understanding and it seems to me the K.Cs attack both those things, while ignoring the demands of their environment in what they produce. Little wonder the K.Cs feel they are under attack in turn.

    For the K.Cs to turn things around they need to engage WITH their environment, not attack it. Nurturing a strong foundation of community values would enrich the K.Cs. and bring community support, but because of the way the K.Cs constitution and rules have been written thats impossible.A cultural flaw has been written into the K.Cs charter.

    It says " Environmental influence is antagonistic to our goals."

    Saying "leave it alone, you have no idea, Dog breeding is a K.C preserve" they shrink because you can't be, with out your environment.

    I think a registry that welcomes community and grass roots foundations could tackle ignorance very successfuly and lead the way to a much better dog friendly community. By involving them and allowing them awareness of the stakes.

    Specialist knowledge of closed line breeding has no hope of success if every thing that leads to the creation of closed lines is thrown out. With out your foundations, you are nothing. Theres nothing left to stand on.

    You want to tackle ignorance, you need to educate.

    If you want community support, you have have something to offer in return, and it has to have value to those you are offering to.You have to give back to your environment.Thats the community.

    Instead,it seems the K.Cs attack the community, with hold knowledge, and blame the consumer for not doing their home work, or understanding the issues. Community is the foundation for The K.Cs. Nurture it.


  12. Im tempted most definitely into thinking dog shows should be banned outright. They are the crux of the whole problem. This is not to say pedigree dogs should be banned far from it but the criteria for breeding drastically changed. At the very least wording on breeder sites should be changed by law as its pure fraud.

    They should clearly state: My dogs dogs suffer from a host of crippling diseases as a direct result of being inbred linebred and bred for physical exaggerations that also causes them to suffer needlessly in their ordinary function as an animal, dog and pet.

    Why are breeders not breeding dogs primarily as pets anyway? Health and function coming first. Surely it's these if any that should win at a dog show not the unhealthy exaggerations useless for anything with the rejects from even these monstrosities then being sold as "pet quality" puppies?

    It's outrageous.

  13. Yep. Its a culture that promotes an "illustration" of a dog. Not a demonstration. Glorifying a "style".

    Then wondering at the upsurge of designer dogs and how shallow the consumers are getting....


  14. I use to watch the dog shows with the sound turned off. I assumed that one person had attended the dog show and filmed it, and that a studio had voice actors read a script out loud while viewing the film, so what we watched later was a mix of video fact and audio fiction.

    I was surprised to learn that it was claimed that the voice over was live and done by people said to be experts in dogs. Still sounds scripted to me. And the voices sound professional.

    When watching the dog show with the sound on, because others were present, I use to get mad about the picture that the words painted: that all was just peachy and rosy with these dogs and that the show dogs were ALL pets who slept on the owner's bed at night with their human family.

    But, over time, I started to perceive it as very dry humour coated with sarcasm "Look at that Peke stride forward! What a beautiful trot! And MY OH MY what a lovely coat, so long that it drags the ground - but not too long! And that cute little tongue, MY! but that doggy is an actor shooting raspberries at the judge like that! Oh no, the dog isn't too warm, he sticks his tongue out like that because he knows he is going to win. That's his way of waving at the crowd.

    Oh what a handsome squished in face he has, bet all the girl Pekes love him, maybe that's what he is panting about - he is dreaming about all those girl Pekes he is going to get after this big win! No, he isn't having trouble breathing; he is a purebred and purebreds are pure, and that means they have no health problems at all.

    If they do have health problems, it is always the owner's fault. But they never have any any health problems, ever, because they are pure. The answer, the only true answer, is right there in the name "purebred" means pure goodness, happiness and sunlight, youth, beauty, and healthy vigor. Vigor isn't from hybrids but from inbreds, the more inbred the dog is, the more pure it is, and the more pure it is the better it is and the more healthy it is too.

  15. What if regular people narrated the show? Or kids?

    Whats wrong with that dog? Why does he waddle like that? Why is his tongue sticking out like that? If he is hot, why don't they shave his coat off? What happened to his face? Can a vet fix it? Where is his tail? Why is his tail laying on his back, did it break and not get set right?

    Can he fetch a ball? Can he hold a ball with his mouth? Can he run and play with us? Is he a nice dog? Does he bite? How can we pick the best dog is we can't play with him?