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Review of the Year 2004 - Part 2 with Nick Mays


In May OUR DOGS was delighted to welcome to our fantastic team of contributors the voice of Crufts on BBC TV, Mr Peter Purves, pictured here with OUR DOGS MD Vince Hogan and Publisher David Cavill

APRIL

One of the biggest ‘seismic shock’ news articles to affect the world of dogs came when more than 30 Vets signed an open letter to the Veterinary Times calling for the whole concept of annual ‘booster’ vaccinations to be re-assessed, in the light of new scientific research that suggested that cats and dogs were being over-vaccinated.

However, the vets' professional body, the BSAVA, rejected the claims and warned that animals would suffer if their owners neglected regular jabs.

Recent American research states "there is no proof that many of the yearly vaccinations are necessary and that protection in many instances may be life-long" – a completely different statement to the accepted annual booster line.

The vets’ letter said that some vaccines could cause "adverse events", including allergic reactions and cancer in cats. Vets stress the importance of vaccinations in preventing disease but called for boosters to be given every three years.

"Those who continue to give annual vaccinations in the light of the new evidence may well be acting contrary to the welfare of the animals committed to their care."

The vets added, however, that that animals should be examined every year in order to check on their welfare and general well being.

The issue erupted at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association’s annual congress when reports of the letter in the national media caused a backlash from the BSAVA and vaccine manufacturers, who said they recommended yearly boosters because they could not prove that all animals received long-term immunity.

The BSAVA claimed the letter did not represent the views of most vets but that of a minority who had "sympathies with homoeopathic medicine". Vaccination has provided the single greatest contribution to the health of our pets over recent decades.

"It is absolutely necessary if we want to prevent major epidemics of disease and the issue raised regarding over-vaccination of pets is simply not justified."

The BSAVA’s rather condescending dismissal of the vets who wrote the letter as ‘a minority who had sympathies with homoeopathic medicine’ drew a strong rebuttal from one of the signatories. Indeed, the ‘homoeopathic denunciation’ apparently only came about due to a media mailing from a leading vaccine manufacturer.

Chris Day, Hon Secretary of the British Association of Homeopathic Vets told OUR DOGS: "We are first and foremost fully qualified veterinary surgeons with a full scientific training. So if there are any homeopathic leanings on top of that it is as a post-graduate endeavour.

"As one of the signatories to the letter, I feel I am in a position to point that this letter was not written by any of us as homeopathic vets nor did the BAHVS have a hand in the letter nor indeed are all the signatories homeopathic vets. "There is no scientific support for an annual booster system and in fact there is very little knowledge as to how often an animal should be boostered."
As the arguments rumbled on, there was a shock development to come a few weeks later when leading vaccine manufacturer Intervet announced a new triennial booster vaccine for dogs.
Intervet’s Nobivac® DHPPi vaccine would have a significant impact on vaccination regimes in the UK and help to address dog owners’ concerns regarding ‘over-vaccination’. The launch followed many years of research and was hailed by the company as "a significant milestone in vaccine technology." The breakthrough meant that veterinary practices could now offer a vaccination schedule for dogs which minimised the number of components given annually, but still maintain the protection for individual pets.

"Intervet has been leading the way for some time in terms of positive changes to canine vaccination regimes in this country having already launched a two-year duration of immunity for these diseases a couple of years ago," Jac Bergman, product manager at Intervet UK Ltd told OUR DOGS. "With our new extended duration of immunity, owners can benefit from an improved vaccination strategy which means killer diseases like parvovirus, hepatitis and distemper only have to be boosted every three years."

However, the company was careful to emphasise and reiterate the continued importance of visiting the vet every year for an annual health check and the ongoing need to boost dogs against other diseases such as leptospirosis.

A LONG-AWAITED Bill to crack down on the insidious puppy farm trade between Ireland and Scotland moved a step nearer with the launch of a major consultation document on the Bill by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Bill, put forward to the Scottish Executive by MSP Christine Graham was incorporated to the extensive and detailed consultation document which was made available to all interested parties.
The anti-puppy farming campaign group, the Waterside Action Group, welcomed the document’s launch this month. Secretary Ken McKie said: "WAG is delighted at the launch of the consultation document. Since our inception we have been campaigning vigorously for changes in legislation. Campaigning and obtaining media coverage can only go a short distance to end this trade. It will be by enforceable, sustainable and effective legislation that we will see and end to this.

"Although the legislation might, in our opinion, need to be stronger this Bill goes a long way to resolving all of the issues. We urge the public; animal welfare groups and charities to give this bill their support.

"We would also like to thank Christine Graham MSP for the member’s bill that has now formed into this consultative document."

THE UK Pet Passport system introduced under the PETS Travel Scheme was to be replaced by a new European Pet Passport under a new EU Directive, it was announced in April. Although the UK had been granted special dispensation by Brussels to retain its six months ‘house quarantine’ following an anti-rabies vaccination blood test for all animals travelling to the UK from abroad, this system will eventually be ‘harmonised’ into a ‘one size fits all’ European Pet Passport system which will allow dogs, cats and ferrets to travel across Europe – including the UK - without the need for a blood test.

In September 2000 – the same year that the UK’s quarantine regulations were relaxed and the PETS Travel Scheme started up, the European Commission tabled a draft resolution on the unrestrictive movement of ‘non-commercial’ animals (i.e. pets) within the EU. After discussion by Member States, the directive EC 998/2003 became law in July 2003, and is due to come into effect across the EU – including all the ‘new’ EU countries – from July 2004.

Essentially, the Commission required all animals to move freely between member states by use of a EU-wide Pet Passport. This was designed by consultation with all Member States, each country being responsible for issuing its own language version of the document. The UK’s Euro Pet passport will begin being issued by the end of June 2004.

The passport itself is slightly larger than a human passport, is coloured blue with the logo of 15 gold stars embossed on the front, with the country’s own identity alongside. The passport will contain standard information, printed in five languages, including English, and will contain details of the pet owner’s identity, the pet’s identification details, such as microchip and/or tattoo number, details of an up to date rabies vaccination and details of any other vaccinations that the pet has had.

THERE WAS definite feeling of deja-vu in Westminster when a total ban on foxhunting before the next General Election was demanded by more than 200 Labour MPs…. and a ban to hunting dominated the news for the rest of the year.

The MPs, led by Tony Banks, the former Sports Minister and vehement opponent of hunting, tabled a Commons motion urging the Prime Minister to fulfil commitments to settle the issue in this Parliament.

Michael Foster, the Labour MP for Worcester who introduced the backbench Bill to ban foxhunting in 1997, which was lost in 1998 due to a lack of Parliamentary time said: "This is a reminder to Tony Blair that this is unfinished business. There is a commitment to see it resolved, and we want to see it resolved before the next general election. If the Government introduced the Bill between now and the summer, that would be the ideal time."

In its 2001 Election manifesto Labour promised to "resolve" the issue. The Government published a compromise Bill, that would have outlawed most hunting, but on a free vote MPs converted it into legislation for a total ban. The amended Bill did not get through the Lords, where most peers are in favour of hunting being allowed to continue.

As long as the Government published a Bill identical to the one that left the Commons the previous year, it will be able to use the Parliament Act to make it law at the end of the Parliamentary session, regardless of what happens in the Lords.


Buddy with Benjamin Wilson’s son Nick


BUDDY, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier under sentence of death after being seized by Dog Wardens in Denver, Colorado, USA as an illegal Pit Bull Terrier was dramatically freed in late April, after the State Governor signed a new dog control bill effectively outlawing breed specific legislation in the state of Colorado.

The law under which the Denver Wardens seized Buddy related to the City of Denver only and dates back to the late 1980s, prompting accusations from anti-BSL campaigners that the Wardens’ act was one of spite against the new state legislation being pushed by the American Canine Foundation in its ongoing nationwide battle against BSL.

Denver dog wardens had seized Buddy from the home of Benjamin Wilson on Thursday, April 8th. This was Buddy’s second seizure as a ‘pit bull’, despite the fact that he is a pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier. As with the UK’s own 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, the Denver law merely requires that a dog is of the pit bull ‘type’ to be deemed illegal. On the previous occasion, Buddy was returned to Mr Wilson, but this time the City authorities indicated that they intended for Buddy to be destroyed within the next 24 hours.

Mr Wilson immediately emailed the American Canine Foundation – an organisation that fights BSL for help. A sympathetic State Senate representative (akin to an MP), the aptly named Debbie Stafford, took up Buddy’s case. ACF called their attorneys in Denver and placed a three way between them and Mr Wilson. The attorneys stated that if Buddy were destroyed, then they would sue the city of Denver because of pending State litigation in the form of Bill HB1279 – brought by ACF - that would be changing the city’s BSL laws.

The media picked up on Buddy’s story and the alleged false information surrounding the original breed ban. Senators in Denver Districts who were opposing HB1279 are now supporting it and Denver was clearly losing its power to stop HB1279. The bill itself was christened ‘Buddy’s Law’ by the media and gained public support over the course of a week.

On the morning of Wednesday, 21st April, the Bill completed Senate House passage largely unopposed and Stafford rushed the measure straight to Governor Bill Owens, who signed it at 11:46 a.m., thus making the law come into effect immediately. By late afternoon, Buddy was being freed from the Denver animal shelter, along with seven other dogs held as illegal Pit Bulls.
The new law is tough on dog attacks and makes owners liable for injuries the first time a dog bites. Previously, victims were prevented from recovering damages until a dog attacked twice. Crucially, however, the Bill forbids cities and counties from outlawing specific breeds of dogs.
"It’s the Buddy law," quipped ACT Vice President Glen Bui. He called the legislative triumph in Colorado "the biggest battle for canines in the last 10 years."

"I'm elated," said Ben Wilson, Buddy's owner, as he drove home with his dog sitting beside him.


Crufts Best in Show Whippet ‘Dee Dee’, owned by Mrs Lynn Yacoby-Wright of Stockport, Cheshire, shows the way

MAY

CRUFTS winner Dee Dee from Mellor, Stockport was back in the public spotlight this month – but pretty much in her own backyard along the Manchester canals. She was appearing as the canine celebrity she is as part of a nationwide drive by British Waterways to improve visitors enjoyment of the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers. Dog owners can help, of course by ‘picking up’ after their pets.

To raise awareness of the campaign, British Waterways were giving out packs of poop scoop bags to dog walkers, whilst information on ‘dog friendly’ waterways sites were made available to dog owners. Animal health company Bayer was sponsoring new animal waste bins alongside the waterways.

HOMOEOPATHIC vaccinations were given the green light by one of the UK’s leading canine charities this month.

Pets As Therapy had previously insisted that all PAT dogs and cats in its ranks had to be vaccinated against the usual range of diseases using conventional vaccines, before they would be allowed to visit patients in hospitals, hospices and other nursing establishments.

Following extensive consultations with the Faculty of Homoeopathy, the British Association of Homoeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, The Kennel Club, and the Charity's Insurers, the Trustees of Pets As Therapy approved amendments to their registration procedure to include dogs treated with homoeopathic prophylactics in lieu of conventional vaccination against Distemper, Canine Infectious Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parvovirus.

Announcing this decision Sir Peter Baldwin, Chairman of the PAT Trustees, said: "We realise that there are people who espouse homoeopathy in preference to conventional medicine and whose dogs are subject to rigorous homoeopathic regimes directed to their protection against infection transferable to humans and to the protection likewise of humans in contact with them.

"Provided these dogs also meet PAT's high standards of suitability and temperament, the Trustees are satisfied that they can be registered as PAT Dogs and taken on visits in accordance with our normal criteria. All documentation issued by PAT will identify them as being treated with homoeoprophylaxis, and all institutions accepting their visits will be asked to confirm their acceptance of the animal's vaccination status."


Eyes front! PAT Dogs all, and regular visitors to hospitals in the south Manchester area, are back row, Prudence, Purdy, Pele and leading the distaff line at the front is Tia, Lily, Dinky, Emily, Sophie, Phoebe and Mabel. The odd one out is the Malinois Pele who is the only boy! They belong to Val Neff of Cheadle Hulme and Shirley Lysak of Newall Green who with dogs are regular PAT Dog visitors to neureological wards in the area.
A smart team indeed!



WALES NOW boasts higher penalty fees for dog fouling than England, thanks to a new Bill passed by the Welsh Assembly at the second attempt this month.

From the beginning of May, fixed penalty fines for dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs were increased to £75, compared with the £50 maximum across the border in England.
The hike was pushed at the behest of Environment Minister Carwyn Jones, who rejected suggestions to raise the fine to £50 in line with England. Mr Jones justified his action because of "growing concern over dog fouling in Wales".

It is believed, however, that only a minority of groups consulted by the Assembly over the issue in 2002 had opted for the higher figure. Tellingly, no canine organisation such as the Kennel Club had been consulted.

Even then, however, the original dog fouling Bill put forward by Mr Jones had to be stopped two days before it was enacted, due to be incorrectly worded, and had to be rewritten and voted upon from scratch.

Welsh dog enthusiasts remained unimpressed by Mr Jones’ record, as he was memorably the Minister who gave the green light to farmers to obtain cash grants and subsidies to set up puppy farms in Wales. The plan has since faltered, thanks to pressure brought to bear on the Assembly via Alun Cairns, Assembly Member for South Wales West and Conservative Spokesperson on Economic Development and Transport, thanks to pressure from the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and other organisations, sparked off by a campaign instigated and led by OUR DOGS columnist Robert Killick who lives in Cardiganshire and has very little time for puppy farmers… or politicians.

It was walkies all the way in May, with everybody walking for charity… not least of which was OUR DOGS Editor Bill Moores and KCCT Trustee Bill King who undertook a sponsored walk of 100 miles on the West Highland Way to raise money for the KC Charitable Trust. In the previous month, KC Pres Officer Sara Ward completed the London Marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes, raising £3,000 also for the KC Charitable Trust. Bill and Bill raised over £3,500.


ABOVE: Bill King and Bill Moores - 100 miles in six days from Glasgow to Fort William


JUNE
A COURT ruling upholding a noise abatement order on a pack of foxhounds threatened to affect hunts across the country. Some months ahead of the Hunting Act becoming law. The Isle of Wight Hunt feared it would have to close unless it was able to comply with the order, served after two neighbours complained that the baying from its kennels kept them awake.

The Hunt has been based at Gatcombe since 1927. Recently two neighbours complained about the noise. After checking noise levels and making observations both day and night, environmental health officials decided a nuisance was being caused and served the notice.
The hunt appealed and a hearing took place at the magistrates' court in Newport, to settle the issue.

The hunt argued that the order threatened its existence and insists that the majority of residents accept the noise as a quintessential sound of the English countryside.

It claimed there is no significant noise nuisance and argues that the Isle of Wight council has been unreasonable in rejecting remedies proposed by the hunt. Matthew Knight, solicitor for the hunt, said: "The complaints have started only recently and are from two households. The rest of the villagers, including those who live nearer the hunt kennels than the complainants, are either neutral or supportive."

During the hearing, the hunt had argued that the complaints came from householders who must have realised there would be some noise nuisance if they moved in beside a kennels. District Judge John Willard, said at the end of a three-day appeal that he had some sympathy with the Hunt’s views but he had to apply the law.

In a reference to the Dickensian character who considered the law an ass, he said: "Members and supporters of the hunt will just have to console themselves with the thoughts of Mr Bumble on that subject."

AUSTRIA banned the docking of dogs and the use of choke collars under animal protection laws passed by the Austrian parliament this month. Even chickens gained greater protection, it now being illegal to keep them in cages.

The legislation, the strictest in the world, was under discussion for more than two decades. It also stipulated that it is illegal to place animals in the care of minors, to display pets in shop windows or to use wild animals in circus acts or other spectacles.

Cattle may not be tethered with rope, and it is no longer allowed to use electric shocks to train animals, or to dock their tails or ears - applying equally to dogs and other livestock. Some politicians wept as the law was passed by a comfortable majority following a five-hour debate, while others waved soft toys in celebration.

Animal rights groups welcomed the changes, but the country's farmers reacted angrily, arguing that forcing them to keep only free-range chickens would increase prices and lead to a flood of eggs from foreign battery hens. Fritz Grillitsch, the president of the National Farmers' Association, called for compensation for farmers.

Even some animal rights activists gave warning that the law could fail animals if it led to the import of animal products from countries with poor rights records. Despite strict protection laws, many animals are imported annually into Switzerland and Germany and kept secretly in substandard conditions.

The law which comes into effect in January 2005, will set fines of between £1,400 and £10,000 for animal cruelty. Inspectors will patrol the country and make random checks to ensure that the law is implemented correctly.

Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel said the law was a "pioneering example" for the world on how to treat animals, adding that he would push for similar laws to be implemented across the European Union.

AN M.E.P. who branded Staffordshire Bull Terriers as ‘child killers’ was unceremoniously dumped from office during June’s European Parliament elections when he failed to win his seat as one of the 10 MEPs for the London area.

Richard Balfe gained notoriety four years ago at the height of the German ‘dangerous dogs’ crisis, which was sparked by a trained fighting Pit Bull Terrier killing a six year-old boy in a Hamburg playground. This led to a media-fuelled hysterical frenzy against all dog owners in Germany.
Despite widespread protests, the Federal and Regional States Governments enacted a whole raft of anti-dog laws, most of which exist to this day.

Richard Balfe, then a Labour MEP responded to French anti-BSL campaigner Pascal Marteau by e-mail in July 2000 referring to an earlier e-mail in which M Marteau had said that Staffordshire Bull Terriers were dogs of good temperament and were often referred to as ‘nanny dogs’.

Mr Balfe said:" I do not know which English people call them ‘nanny dogs’ they are killer dogs for many children. I am however prepared for the inevitable Euro-Compromise you can have them in France as long as we can get rid of them in England….

"You seem to conveniently overlook the fact that these animals have repeatedly been associated with killing children.

"They also have owners who in Britain anyway often exhibit the sort of nasty aggressive behaviour that most decent citizens dislike intensely. No; ‘Dear little Staffie’ is best done without."
There followed a huge outcry, during which Mr Balfe underwent what he referred to as a "rapid learning curve" about Staffords, after which he apologised via OUR DOGS and DogHolocaust if his remarks had caused offence.

Since making the remarks, Mr Balfe’s political career had undergone some quite startling changes. The Labour Party expelled him for ignoring party rulings and he subsequently joined the Conservative Party in October 2003, but did not vacate his seat.

During the Euro elections, Mr Balfe’s vote dropped considerably and he was placed fifth out of the Conservative nominees, losing him his seat.

The cause of Mr Balfe’s political demise has been cited as his having changed parties, although many anti-BSL campaigners in the London area cited their long memories at the ignorance and arrogance of politicians who belittle dogs and their owners.

HUNTING was back in the news late in June when it was announced that the long-awaited Bill to ban foxhunting in England and Wales was set to be delayed until the ‘last minute’ by ministers to avoid a battle with the House of Lords over other legislation.

Labour strategists believed a launch for the Bill in the two-week Commons session in September will also give Tony Blair a boost for the annual party conference that month.

Party managers were still planning to use the Parliament Act to force the Bill on to the statute book after it has been twice rejected. But to do this, ministers had to allow the Bill at least 30 days for consideration by the Lords before the end of the session, expected in early November.
A total of 236 Labour MPs had already signed an early day motion seeking the reintroduction of the Hunting Bill after Mr Blair’s equivocal commitment last year to "resolve the issue in this Parliament".

Lord Strathclyde, Leader of the Tories in the Lords said: "Bringing back the Bill will look gratuitous and backward-looking."

Meanwhile, Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, hinted that the Government was about to introduce legislation to ban hunting.

Mr Hain told anti-hunting MPs he strongly supported them and that they would be ‘encouraged’ when they would soon hear an announcement on the subject.

 


At a small ceremony held at Clarges Street in June, two sculptures in terracotta by the French sculptor and artist Richard Fath (1900-1952) were presented to The Kennel Club writes Paul Keevil.
Mr William Secord presented a full body sculpture of a Schipperke, during his visit to the Kennel Club for the opening of the Maud Earl exhibition. The Fath family were represented by the artist’s great granddaughter, Anne-Sophie Heisaat, pictured here a sculpture of the head of a Pointer to the KC

JULY
THE ISRAELI Government announced plans to introduce Breed Specific Legislation following the death of a four year-old child attacked by an American Stafford in June. The Knesset approved preliminary proposals to effectively outlaw Amstaffs, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. According to the Bills, such dogs will only be permitted under severe veterinary supervision and specific conditions. Violators would be subject to a maximum 3-year prison term.

Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz announced that he would issue regulations that will stiffen conditions for keeping dangerous dogs as house pets, including registering them with authorities. However, MPs wanted to eliminate dangerous dogs from the country entirely.

Legislation that would gradually outlaw dangerous dogs was to be pushed quickly through the Knesset. The Knesset House Committee decided on Tuesday to waive the 45-day waiting period for a bill drafted by Likud MP Gideon Sa'ar that would ban three types of dogs: the Pit Bull, Rottweiler, and Amstaff (American Staffordshire Terrier).

According to Katz's regulations, dangerous dogs will have to be castrated and must be muzzled while in public. In the interim period, the owners of those dogs would be required to register them with the city veterinarian and determine the conditions for continuing to house them, including sterilization.

A law was approved in 2002 that was aimed at cracking down on dangerous dogs, but the government never published the regulations to implement the measure.

The Government’s proposals led to a wave of protest from anti-BSL campaigners around the world, who have already submitted hundreds of e-mails to the Prime Minister calling for sensible legislation to ‘punish the deed, not the breed’.

British anti-BSL campaigner, Dave Levy, of the Staffordshire Bull terrier Breed Council wrote to one of the main Israeli daily newspapers calling on the Government to drop its plans for breed specific laws and to concentrate on enhancing existing laws, pointing out the many historical precedents for avoiding such knee-jerk reaction.

THOUSANDS OF stray dogs were due to be poisoned ahead of the Olympic Games in Athens despite a campaign by the RSPCA to prevent their slaughter.

The animal welfare charity said that the strays would be killed because the Greek authorities were afraid that the sight of packs of dogs roaming the streets will damage their efforts to use the Games to show the world that their country is modern and civilised.

Officially, the Greek authorities said that there will be no mass poisoning and the Athens Olympics Committee has asked animal welfare groups to help round up the dogs.

Greece's fledgling animal welfare groups said that the mass slaughter of strays had already begun. Eighty dogs were found dead in the coastal resort of Saronida, where some members of the British team are expected to stay.

David Bowles of RSPCA International, had recently returned from Athens where RSPCA inspectors were training Greek officials to catch and treat strays humanely, said: "We are seriously concerned that thousands of dogs will be poisoned so that Greece can show that Athens is a pristine modern city. They don't have the manpower or the shelters to round up all the dogs. A lot of the local authorities simply don't know how to deal with dogs humanely. We have put a lot of effort into helping them to change their ways, but the results have been very patchy. We would like to see them using private shelters so that all the dogs can be given homes during the Olympics but it looks like that is not going to happen."

Mr Bowles said that mass poisoning was "barbaric" and a "short-term fix" that would not solve the problem of strays.

THE Government’s much-vaunted Animal Welfare Bill was finally published this month. Greater protection for animals was promised, along with harsher penalties for those convicted of cruelty to animals. A statutory ‘Duty Of Care’ will be expected and enforced for the ownership of all pets. As expected, the minimum age at which children may purchase pets will be raised from 12 to 16, and goldfish will be banned as prizes at funfairs.

However, contrary to some of the wilder speculation that abounded, people will not be fined or imprisoned for stepping on slugs and snails and other invertebrates. RSPCA Inspectors would be given extra powers, but it was still unclear whether or not they will be permitted to enter private premises without a warrant of entry to seize an animal merely on the suspicion of cruelty, as the Bill has seemingly contradictory clauses relating to this point.

The Bill also imposed a ban on ‘mutilations’, such as the docking of dogs' tails - with exceptions only where there are welfare or management reasons.

The Kennel Club was initially very guarded in its response to the Bill, particularly with regard to its clauses on tail docking and breeding practices.

A KC spokesperson told OUR DOGS: "The Kennel Club, while regretting that DEFRA has not taken account of its views on tail docking, nevertheless views it as a great success that the Government has acknowledged that dog breeders should, in most respects, be left alone to breed their dogs without excessive legal or government intervention. Many of the animal welfare organisations had tried to persuade the Government to sign up, lock stock and barrel, to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. This would have been a threat to many breeds and to many dog breeders. The Kennel Club has fought hard to avoid this.

It is therefore heartening indeed to note that the Animal Welfare Bill document states
‘There was widespread support from welfare groups for breeding out excessive and potentially harmful characteristics that have been bred into some breeds of dogs, e.g. the squashed face of the British Bulldog. However the view of DEFRA veterinarians was the resolution on harmful characteristics that had been included in the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals was flawed and needed to be overhauled before it could become a basis for legislation. This view was supported by the Kennel Club.’

"DEFRA has also recognised what the KC has been telling them for some time, namely that the breeding out of problem conditions is a long term project and is best dealt with voluntarily by the Kennel Club and the breed clubs. Again the Welfare Bill document states, ‘A proposal to phase out certain characteristics in cats and dogs that make them more prone to suffering is considered proactive and in keeping with the intentions of the Bill. Breeding out of characteristics must be seen as a long-term objective that can only be achieved with the co-operation of breed societies. The Kennel Club are currently taking this work forward for dogs and we consider this is an area where government would want to encourage voluntary schemes rather than rush in with regulations.’

"In the docking arena, the Kennel Club will continue to fight the corner of all docked breeds, but in particular those working dogs which would be adversely affected by a docking ban."

40 not out for Pam!

Distribution Manager Pam McArdle celebrated 40 years’ sterling service at Our Dogs on Tuesday May 18th 2004.

As Pam didn’t say when we asked her: “You don’t get this long for murder!’

The beginning of December also marked another decade for Account Manager, Maureen Lacey, who clocked 30 years with the company. Maureen celebrated in her customary style - with a bottle of bubbly!

Review of the Year 2004 continued in next week’s issue

 



 

 




Neil Ewart with a copy of his new book The Guide Dogs Book of Amazing Dog Tales, together with Nicola Cockburn and Guide Dog in training ‘Grant’ on the GDBA stand at Crufts