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KC and Dogs Trust show united front


THE KENNEL Club and the Dogs Trust came together this week to call jointly for Government support for an complete independent review into dog breeding.

They have also asked for the Government to give them full backing for a review of registration, breeding and showing of dogs, which they have already confirmed they will set up and fund themselves.

Plans for a possible independent review were the next obvious step following the Pedigree Dogs Exposed BBC programme. The call follows the Kennel Club announcement of an internal review of the breeding standards for every pedigree breed in the UK in a bid to improve the health and welfare of the animals with Pekingese being one of the breeds immediately affected. At the time of going to press, the terms of reference for such a review were not available but it is hoped that an independent Chairman will be appointed at an early stage.

Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of the Dogs Trust, said: ‘We believe an independent review is essential in co-ordinating the large body of research and evidence and to advise on workable, timely recommendations for ensuring the future good health and welfare of all dogs."
Caroline Kisko, KC secretary told us: "Work is already under way to improve the health of pedigree dogs. An independent review will assist us in meeting our objective, which is to improve the welfare, health and general wellbeing of all dogs, throughout every stage of their lives. We hope the Government can support us’.

Many breeders already feel, however, that they already breed for health and good temperament and that the RSPCA and the producers of the recent TV programme have tarred good breeders with the same brush as the minority who may not be so careful with their dogs. There is a feeling that caring breeders and exhibitors need to stand up and be counted.

Demonstration

Last weekend also saw the KC back a peaceful demonstration in Manchester and Leeds against puppy farming and has urged potential puppy buyers to seek out a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder in order to help put an end to the practice.

This issue had been highlighted after two OUR DOGS’ readers raised the alarm over the sale and condition of live puppies from a pet superstore (see page 2 for full story). Of course, The Puppy Farming Study Group, comprising representatives from the Kennel Club, animal welfare organizations across the whole of the UK, LACORS and the government, was established to try and curb puppy farmers’ activities .

Again, as it has done so often in the past, the KC pointed out the dangers to the general public of not buying from a reputable breeder and the callousness of breeders who sell to such stores. This was also a direct reaction to the fact that some breeders or stores are actively advertising their dogs as ‘not Kennel Club registered’, a clear attempt at cashing in on the fallout of Pedigree Dogs Exposed. OUR DOGS has continued to state that the programme makers surely could not have envisaged a situation where their actions are now actually helping the very people we have all worked so hard to discourage...i.e. rogue breeders or puppy farmers.

Caroline Kisko, spokesperson for the Kennel Club, said: “The Kennel Club supported this march against puppy farming and hopes that it raised awareness about the absolute importance of buying from responsible breeders.”

The KC also sent out a press release to the media channels in the hope of getting this message out to prospective pet or show owners. In the release the KC confirmed that it ‘had been campaigning for the abolition of selling puppies through pet shops for a long time and we promote the importance of buying a puppy through a reputable breeder. We advise any potential puppy owner to make sure they see the puppy with its mother and visit the premises where the puppy was bred. The Kennel Club’s Accredited Breeder Scheme ensures that breeders make use of health screening schemes on their dogs and follow Kennel Club guidelines for breeding and selling healthy, well adjusted puppies. If every puppy buyer bought from an Accredited breeder and saw the puppy with the mother in the home where it was born, then the practice of puppy trafficking would stop overnight.”

Action and reaction

All of this is set against a background of action and reaction following ‘that TV programme’ as many now call it, and with the Internet working overtime in chat groups and canine message boards up and down the country. Many OUR DOGS readers are still furious about the sweeping statements made by the RSPCA’s Chief Vet Mr Mark Evans and to that end some OUR DOGS readers and writers have posed a series of questions to him that we hope to publish in next week’s issue, together with his answers.

Surely now is the time for everyone to take stock and calmly move on as it appears the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust have agreed to do, in an effort to make real progress. It says something when even Beverley Cuddy calls a truce with the Kennel Club!.

It is very much a case at present of ‘watch this space’ as rather like life in the financial world, you just do not know what's going to happen next!