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(Updated 1/6/01)

2001

KC Chairman's address

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Crufts 2001 - the 110th show in Crufts’ history. Better late than not at all. On behalf of The Kennel Club I would like to welcome you all and hope that you enjoy your time spent with us. February last year saw the relaxing of our quarantine laws; already more than 12,000 dogs have passed through the PETS Scheme, and nearly 50 countries and rabies-free island now enjoy the freedom of travel that the Scheme offers. Crufts this year is therefore able to welcome nearly one hundred overseas exhibitors and their dogs. We extend a very warm welcome to these overseas competitors, as we do to the seven thousand or so visitors that we also expect from overseas.

Photo by Alan V Walker
The chairman of the Kennel Club, Mr. Peter James opening Crufts 2001 in the Press Office on the morning of the first day.

The Kennel Club learned much from the Dangerous Dogs Act, and resolved to do all in it’s power to prevent others now (and the UK in future) suffering from poorly drafted and increasingly draconian anti-dog legislation.

Unfortunately we have been unable to persuade the German Government against following the precedent of the Dangerous Dogs Act with it’s own breed-discriminatory laws, such that a Staffordshire Bull Terrier merely travelling through that country is now liable to seizure and destruction. Stand 100 in Hall 5 features the Kennel Club’s ‘Domino Campaign,’ so named to illustrate the way that anti-dog legislation appears to be sweeping Europe, having a knock on effect from country to country, dog to dog. We welcome the support of MEPs who point out that this German legislation is itself illegal, and we need your help in keeping this issue very much in the public eye.

Then we have the Hunting with Dogs Bill. I am quite sure that it is not generally realised just how broadly this Bill, if enacted, would affect every dog owner in this country. Be it treasured show dog, or family pet, if a dog follows it’s natural instinct to hunt a squirrel - never mind a fox - under section 1 of this Bill it’s owner will have no statutory defence available, and will be guilty of an offence and liable to the full consequences of the law, including forfeiture and destruction of the dog, and a life ban from keeping dogs. I do not propose to go into the arguments for or against fox hunting, although the Kennel Club has voiced it’s concern to Government at the fate awaiting some 20,000 hounds in the event this Bill becomes law. Our concerns at the Kennel Club are for the sport of Field Trials, which would surely be in danger of disappearing, and for the unsuspecting ordinary dog owner, to whom hunting with dogs may be a foreign activity, but who can nevertheless find him or herself an unwitting criminal. Now is a good time to voice our objections to this badly drafted and misdirected Bill.

Photo by Alan V Walker
Swedish Rhodesian Ridgeback exhibitor Anneli Lantz
with her Int. Ch. Aakemba King Astor Gi’fumo
.

Competitors at Crufts were invited to add £1.00 per entry form to their entry fees as a donation to the Fund, and I am delighted to report that the generous sum of £8,000 has been received from this source. Crufts itself will double this, making a total contribution of £16,000. On behalf of the fund my thanks go to all those who contributed to the future health of our dogs. At Crufts last year, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust launched an Appeal to raise £1 million by March 2002. We have raised over a quarter of a million pounds to date but still have a long way to go to meet our target.

Auction

The Vice Chairman of The Kennel Club, Peter Mann has organised a Dog Memorabilia Auction to be the Treasures of The Kennel Club Stand in Hall 3. The man with the auctioneer’s hammer will be Kennel Club member Nicholas Bonham, of Bonhams & Brooks in Knightsbridge. Many people have donated and entered items for an auction which will attract canine enthusiasts and collectors from around the world. This event is one not to be missed.

The Kennel Club concerned with the well being of all dogs, whether your canine companion is a Crufts contender, or simply a much loved rescue pet, it is important that the animals welfare is put firmly first. With specific reference to dogs that compete at Kennel Club events, I would like to emphasise that we should take full advantage of the KC approved health schemes available so that we are fully confident and competent with regard to our breeding programmes. If we take the responsible decision to have our dogs tested under these schemes, we should also agree for this information to be published where relevant and used by our friends and colleagues to identify and eradicate health problems. If we find ourselves in the position of having to seek veterinary advice and treatment for our dogs, we should do so without hesitation and then inform The Kennel Club in the usual way. By so doing, we are affording the dog the respect that it deserves and also maintaining it’s positive and well earned profile in society.