Monday, October 13, 2008

The UK Kennel Club - Lacing up the Jackboots

In a Dog Press (UK) article last week, there are the proposed new guidelines which ALL breed clubs MUST adhere to.

It is now compulsory for breed clubs to adopt the Kennel Club's code of ethics. Club members must agree to:
* Properly house, feed, water and exercise all dogs under their care and arrange for appropriate veterinary attention if and when required.
* Agree without reservation that any vet performing an operation on any of their dogs which alters the natural conformation of the animal may report such operation to the Kennel Club.
* Agree that no healthy puppy will be culled. Puppies which may not conform to the breed standard should be placed in suitable homes.
* Abide by all aspects of the Animal Welfare Act.
* Not to create demands for, nor supply, puppies which have been docked illegally.
* Agree not to breed from a dog or bitch which could be in any way harmful to the dog or to the breed.
* Not to allow any of their dogs to roam at large or to cause a nuisance to neighbours or those carrying out official duties.
* Ensure that their dogs wear properly tagged collars and will be kept leashed or under effective control when away from home.
* Clean up after their dogs in public places or anywhere their dogs are being exhibited.
* Only sell dogs where there is a reasonable expectation of a happy and healthy life and help with the rehoming of a dog if the initial circumstances change.
* Supply written details of all dietary requirements and give guidance concerning responsible ownership when placing dogs in a new home.
* Ensure that all relevant KC Documents are provided to the new owner when selling or transferring a dog, and agree, in writing, to forward any relevant documents at the earliest opportunity if not immediately available.
* Not to sell any dog to commercial dog wholesalers, retail pet dealers or directly or indirectly all dogs to be given as a prize or donation in any competition of any kind. Will not sell by sale or auction KC registration certificates as stand-alone items (not accompanied by a dog).
* Not knowingly misrepresent the characteristics of the breed nor falsely advertise dogs, not mislead any person regarding the health or quality of a dog.
* Breach of these provisions may result in expulsion from club membership, and/or disciplinary action by the Kennel Club and/or reporting to the relevant authorities for legal action, as appropriate.

Where does one even begin? Can these people possibly be serious? The powers within The Kennel Club are supposed to be dog people, surely they must know better. They must realize how impossible this is?

This proposes that Vets be recruited as Kennel Club "snitches"... sure, that will foster trust between breeders and vets.

Culling is not allowed for dam management?!?! Are you kidding me? This is what happens in the wild! A breeder and vet working together can make the process painless, nature isn't so kind.

Not perform a breeding which might be "harmful" to the dog? I suppose that means that British Bulldogs will no longer be legally bred in Great Britain!

What -exactly- is "a reasonable expectation of a happy and healthy life"? This has to be one of the most ludicrous of the requirements. Who is bestowed with the right to define 'reasonable', 'happy' or 'healthy'? And more importantly, whoever it ends up being, what standard do they use in the determination? Does the Kennel Club have a crystal ball, or perhaps a Ouija board that they are planning on lending out to each breeder so they can make their placement decisions?

Perhaps the most frightening bit in this whole debacle is that beyond this proposal, the Kennel Club has asked the British government for statutory authority!!!

This is not about the health nor the welfare of Kennel Club registered dogs.

Make no mistake, this is instead about attempting to -control- dog fanciers in what is supposed to be a free British society, and attempting to mitigate recent bad P.R. This is the Kennel Club's (UK) knee-jerk, overreaching and ill conceived acquiescent attempt at damage control in response to the "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" documentary on the BBC.

If the Kennel Club was really motivated by a concern for the health of *purebred* dogs, then the parent clubs should be at the helm. Not The Kennel Club.

The Kennel Club should be using good science and peer pressure to win them over, not mandate, which will only foster their resentment. If the Kennel Club really wanted to effect positive change in the health of the purebred dogs of the UK, they would be doing it in a supportive advisory capacity through the individual breed parent clubs. Not as the reactive jack-booted storm-troopers of British dogdom.

- Many thanks to Y.B. for transmitting the (UK) Dog Press release stateside.