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Pedigree Dogs Exposed up for award!

In a bizarre twist to the long running saga of the BBC programme Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the much criticised documentary is up for a TV award at a forthcoming industry ceremony.
The Broadcast Awards take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane London on January 21st and will be hosted by TV celebrity Rob Brydon. The awards section for this category reads as follows:

A Boy Called Alex, Walker George Productions for C4; America Unchained, Avalon Television for More 4; My Street, Wellpark Productions for C4; Pedigree Dogs Exposed, Passionate Productions for BBC1; Sex Change Soldier, IWC Media for C4 and Undercover in Tibet, True Vision Productions for C4

This nomination will be seen by many as an insult to the thousands of dedicated dog breeders who feel that the programme was biased and one sided in that it failed to show all the positive work carried out by breeders and indeed the Kennel Club for many years. Whether it wins or not, it will surely reopen many wounds and continue to add fuel to a fire that in many people eyes should not even be burning. The programme makers will perhaps see this as justification, not only for their first effort, but also the apparent follow up programme currently in the making. Apparently last year’s winner in that category went on to win the Bafta....what next many will ask!
It also seems unusual that a programme is up for an award when a serious complaint has been made against it by The Kennel Club to Ofcom, the industry watchdog.

OUR DOGS contacted Jemima Harrison of Passionate Productions but she declined to comment.
It had been suggested in some quarters that the programme had been nominated by Beverly Cuddy who has been a long standing critic of the Kennel Club.

Not so; we contacted Miss Cuddy who gave the following exclusive statement to the OUR DOGS: “No one can deny that Pedigree Dogs Exposed has been a very significant documentary. After more than 20 years of little old me nagging the KC for health reform I was getting precisely nowhere and cogent points were simply dismissed out of hand.

‘But in just one hour Jemima Harrison’s programme changed the world of dogs forever and encouraged lots of important institutions and individuals to step out of the shadows and join her in the call for change.


‘In another 20 year’s time we’ll hopefully all look back and thank Jemima for what she has done. Reform was so long overdue. It is so easy to shoot the messengers, but if only the KC had implemented more progressive health policies decades ago there would never have been a need for this sort of documentary.

‘For example, I believe that 14 years ago the KC were fully aware of the significance of coefficients of inbreeding (COI) - yet rather than do what the Swedish KC did and make COI calculations automatic and freely searchable over the web the KC attempted to sell a COI programme to breed clubs and pass the responsibility to them. Perhaps if the KC had been more proactive on inbreeding – if they had taken the lead, there might have been have no need for this rapid period of catch-up.

‘It’s easy for the more progressive elements in the dog world to lick their wounds and feel hurt by the criticisms contained in the programme, but this documentary awakened the wider population to a crisis caused by complacency. Everyone who loves dogs should be a fan of this documentary if it means we end up with a KC even half as good as the one the lucky Swedes already have!’
This all comes at a time when the original programme has been apparently ‘hijacked’ by well known animal rights group PETA in the United States as reported elsewhere in this edition of OUR DOGS. On this story, the production company has been quoted as follows:

"I am horrified that PETA is using the film to further its own, warped agenda," says Jemima Harrison, of Passionate Productions, which made the film for the BBC. "Our film is about animal welfare, not animal rights.

Many people will be mildly amused at the indignant stance taken by Jemima Harrison; one reader told OUR DOGS, “What does she expect anyway?”

It would appear in true TV and theatrical terms, rather like The Mousetrap, this will run and run for years!

PLEASE VOTE: Should Pedigree Dogs Exposed be given an Award?

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Who wrote this? 
It is biased from the first sentence as it should read "the much criticised here" documentary. Presumably even the editorial staff at Our Dogs are aware that it is much praised in most quarters. In particular the quarter I inhabit - that of the aggrieved and grieving pet owner. As for a nomination being bizarre - why I find that assertion itself bizarre. I care little what prizes are heaped upon PDE because as far as I am concerned the only prize in pedigree dogs worth securing is that of improved health and welfare for all the breeds. That long and difficult journey is now well under way, and not before time either, thanks to the many critics of the KC system and pedigree dog breeding that have challenged poor practice over recent years - culminating in the broadcast of this milestone film. I am most grateful to Our Dogs for one thing, it must be said, and that is I am thrilled to my core that Killick bats for your side and not mine. More commentators like him only serve to further the cause of dog show critics and the more poorly researched and written articles published by Our Dogs the quicker our ranks are swelling. So may I end on a note of appreciation for all that your publication does for those of us who find the world of dog showing to be damaging to animal welfare. You are your own worst enemies to my amusement.


As a practicing behaviourist I have had many concerns over the years, regarding the show scene and breeding for conformation and aesthetics and in some cases totally ignoring the health and behavioural issues.
When we breed in faults because we believe it to be aesthetically pleasing, then how can we in all honesty call ourselves dog lovers. 
I will give one example there are many more.The Rhodesian Ridgebacks ridge is a form of Spina Bifida. In the program Breeders stated they may cull a animal without the ridge. That does not fill me with confidence that some breeders are only interested in the accolade and dare I say financial rewards, rather than for the love of dogs
A common problem because of the ridge is Dermoid Sinus which can lead to myelitis and encephalitis (swelling and infection of the spinal cord, its covering, and the brain. This problem is specific to this breed.
Another major problem for this breed and their most common disorder is Lymphocytic Thyroiditis. Which is an autoimmune disease, where the body treats the thyroid gland as a foreign object because the immune system fails to recognize the thyroid gland as part of itself. This can be put down almost entirely to those inbreeding and line-breeding these purebred dogs. Those affected because of their conformation continue to be bred. That to me is very wrong
However I am more than aware that many of the show people do love their dogs, and do not see them as some sort of reflected glory and a cash cow. Unfortunately the comments and the demeanour of the participants on the program did not fill me with confidence.
I am more than aware that programs can be edited and I am sure that Passionate Productions left out many good parts which would have shown passionate and caring breeders and show participants. The almost certainly only showed the parts that appeared to show little or no concern for the well-being of the dogs in question. But in the final analysis they cannot put in words that were not spoken.
I think this program though flawed was a wake up call. It is time to try and clean up our act as the Swedes are trying to do. 
If we really are supposed to be a nation of dog lover then lets start showing it by stopping the breeding of inherent disorders such as we see in British Bulldogs which is the dog we most relate to being British and proud of it.

Stan Rawlinson

PDE should be given an Oscar! The acting, bad manners, breach of confidentiality, vet. who looked like her eyes were going to pop out of her head, the exaggerated claims, the lack of acknowledgement of breeders who have been health testing for years, surely warrants this getting an Oscar in the comedy section.

Julia Logan

Only if it's an award for the most biased programme of the year !

Liz Rushton

This was one of the most unbalanced, contentious pieces of media propaganda I think I've ever witnessed. All the good breeders do in the way of testing for health issues was edited out, and only the negatives left in. This was a disgrace and should never be allowed to happen again. Show the good with the bad by all means, but PLEASE don't show such biased footage with no balance or opertunity for breeders to reply. This was not fair reporting and should NEVER be rewarded. The entire thing was disgusting.

Veronica Hull

This film IMHO was biased in the extreme. It was made to shock and horrify, journalism at its lowest without stating solid facts or figures.
It should have used the time to show the good as well as the bad
perhaps showing the sick puppy farmers who cause such pain and misery to animals. At no time did it offer any information regarding the genuine breeders who care despartly for dogs and do all the health checks available to ensure healthy happy dogs.


Having spent several thousands of pounds on my Afghans Hounds who have had many illnesses and especially Immune Mediated Hypothyroidism... For the last 4 years since I made our problems known and after over 50 years in this breed my name is still constantly being slandered by so called Afghan Breeders to try to isolate and silence me. None of the problems in my breed were reported by our Breed Council. Not even Laryngeal paralysis which has been a very common problem in the breed for as long as I can remember. The BBC are right not to help condone this type of behaviour because believe me there are many people very frightened to speak out about problems because of retribution from people like the ones who have, and still are, trying to destroy my life and good name and I now, aged 65, and who has been involved in the breed since a child when Peggy Riley of the great Bletchingley Afghan Kennels fame took me in. People with less strong backbones than myself cave in at the first signs of threats and sadly the problems are once again buried. I feel most of all for the pet owners who are sold stock from these dogs and have no idea of what the problems may be. When I had to see Mr Hertage at Cambridge and showed him the list of deaths my offsprings (and offspring I had sold) deaths from this particular bitch and her offspring he said if they were to continue to be bred from to tell prospective owners to expect an average lifespan of 6/7 years.....this for a breed who was a long lived hunting breed. Good for the BBC I say if it only highlights even a few of these poor breeders unpleasantness. For the main part it is close ranks and maintain silence at all costs from them though.
Hazel Cranham

In the light of this weekends controversy regarding the BBC and the Gazza appeal it seems like a severe dose of double standards from our public broadcasting network, they can be biased when it suits them and their publicity department[ie the extreemly one sided recent documentry re peddigree dogs] but now they decide the cant be seen to be impartial.Sounds to me like more smoke and mirrors from our BBC ...But no less than we have come to expect.Lets scrap the licence fee and make it a free for all and then perhaps they might be a little more accountable.

Peter Webber


Jean Collins