As reported in the June edition of the Kennel Gazette, the Kennel Club has in recent months been giving close consideration to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which has already been adopted by many European Union member states.
The K C release issued this week continues, - As yet, the UK government has not signed up to the Convention, and the Kennel Club recently had the opportunity to put forward its views on the matter to DEFRA Minister, Mr Elliot Morley, as has recently been reported in the press.
Internally, the Kennel Club has taken a proactive approach to the health issues highlighted by the Convention. Firstly, a study group was set up, consisting of representatives from the General Committee, KC/BSAVA Scientific Committee, the Breed Standards and Stud Book Sub-Committee and staff members. Initiatives to obviate the need to sign up to the Convention have been devised. These include the identification of changes made to Breed Standards over the last 20 years to safeguard health and welfare, as well as new additions to the faults clauses of all Breed Standards and Kennel Club judging publications, to stress the importance of considering the health aspects of dogs being judged.
The following faults clause is included in all Breed Standards:-
Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
For many years, when Breed Standards have been reviewed by the Kennel Club, health and welfare aspects have always been carefully considered. A detailed consultation process has been established to facilitate feedback from Breed Clubs/Councils and generally promote better awareness of these aspects.
Breed Clubs themselves have taken steps to further this by incorporating statements on healthy breeding into their Codes of Ethics.
A great deal has therefore already been achieved. However, over the course of the next few months, particular breeds highlighted within the Convention will receive individual consideration, in which Breed Clubs/Councils will be invited to actively participate.
Through the above steps, the Kennel Club is endeavouring to persuade the government that it has suitable mechanisms in place to ensure that the breeds it recognises and supports remain healthy. In so doing, any need for the adoption of far-reaching European legislation, which could potentially threaten the future of some breeds, will be totally unwarranted.