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First reaction to KC breed changes

FOLLOWING THE Kennel Club’s announcement last week concerning changes to over 200 breed standards, the RSPCA’s chief veterinary advisor, Mark Evans, has voiced yet more concerns over the pedigree dog furure. In a statement last Monday, the Kennel Club confirmed that its new interim standards had been set out across the board.

Since that time the Kennel Club press office has confirmed that over 40 news items were carried on television channels all over the world, ranging from ITV, the BBC, CNN and even the Japanese Fuji channel.The Kennel Club has of course asked clubs to write in to the Secretary with any views on the amendments. Whilst it would appear that the breed standard changes have been accepted by many clubs, there has been more of a reaction in Bulldogs, which probably comes as no surprise to many. This was always going to be a breed that attracted attention on many levels. There has been a less than positive reaction from the British Bulldog Breed Council and Bulldog breeders across the UK were descended on by the press looking for a ‘typical’ British breed and one most affected by any potential changes. By Wednesday there were several petitions, some having thousands of signatures from all over the world, asking for the Bulldog standard to remain as it was.

The emergency meeting held at the end of December by the British Bulldog Breed Council had already been attended by over 40 people and a petition containing over 1000 signatures has been circulating, again asking for the future of the breed to be discussed with breeders and clubs. The Council had then asked the KC for more time to discuss any amendments, stating that care needed to be taken that ‘the conformation of the Bulldog was not changed as a result of these amendments.’ Wednesday afternoon saw Mark Evans ‘warmly welcome’ the KC’s announcement, and he also acknowledged the KC’s review of breed standards as a ‘step in the right direction.’ He went on the state that he still needs to look at the finer details to ‘see if enough has been done.’


Mr Evans continued: “The fact that from March the Kennel Club won’t register puppies from closely related parents is brilliant news and a significant step forward for pedigree dog welfare. This is something the RSPCA has been calling for and shows recognition that close inbreeding of dogs is not a good idea. We haven’t yet had the opportunity to look at the Kennel Club’s reviewed breed standards in detail, but our initial concerns are that the changes don’t appear to be radical enough to really make a difference. We also question how the standards may be interpreted in the show ring.” This latest quote from Mark Evans is likely to anger breeders and exhibitors all over again, as many already feel that the RSPCA has had more than its fair share of input into the breeding and showing of pedigree dogs. Indeed, some feel that the KC’s reaction to this has been more to keep the RSPCA happy than have anything to do with breed standards. In actual fact the KC was already looking at amendments in many breeds, but Mr Evans suggestion that it is now up to the RSPCA to decide whether these changes are sufficient will anger many.

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I have to say that I am in two minds over the KC breed changes.  On the one hand, where there are breeds with genetic health problems, then all well and good, and one cannot argue with constructive changes.  On the other hand I am concerned at the speed with which the KC have moved on this, as the RSPCA and their intolerable chief veterinary advisor, Mark Evans, (not to mention Jemima what's her name of that infamous BBC programme) will take the 'glory' of having instigated something which was already in motion, albeit much more slowly.  In defence of the KC, perhaps they felt that if they didn't act quickly that matters would be taken out of their hands, which would be of no benefit to any of us.  
As far as inbreeding is concerned, how does Mark Evans think that animals in the wild breed?  Hasn't anyone informed him that their is an alpha male who mates with every female in sight?  No other male will be tolerated by him.  And if the alpha male wasn't strong and healthy he wouldn't be the top dog, or wolf, or whatever!  And just who does he think he is that "he still needs to look at the finer details to 'see if enough has been done'"?  Just what has it got to do with him, or the RSPCA?
Great Britain used to be a free country - not any more, I fear!

Linda Wilson