by a Special Correspondent
DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS may be taken against a TV vet by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons following numerous complaints from Bulldog breeders over remarks made by the vet on national television earlier this year.
As reported previously in OUR DOGS, vet Emma Milne, one of the stars of BBC TV’s ‘Vet’s In Practice’ appeared on the BBC 1 programme ‘Real Story’ about the health problems allegedly faced by pedigree dogs.
The 10-minute segment in the programme was broadcast on Monday, June 14th and largely concentrating on the health of Bulldogs and Dachshunds.
Milne was featured, explaining that Bulldogs have been so extremely bred over the year as to become "mutants" that cannot breath properly, the breed is genetically ill and that all such dogs should be outlawed. Milne said: "Modern bulldogs can’t run, they can’t breathe, they can’t give birth. They have enormous problems with too much soft tissue in their mouth and it adds up to a dog that is struggling for air all its life".
The following morning, Milne appeared live on GMTV along with Bulldog breeders and repeated her assertion that Bulldogs were a very unhealthy breed. Her comments generated an outcry, and several angry letters denouncing her bleak view of the breed were published in OUR DOGS and other specialist newspapers.
Several letters of complaint about Milne’s comments were also sent to the RCVS, demanding that disciplinary action be taken against the vet. Initially, the RCVS’s Preliminary Investigations Committee rejected calls for such an enquiry. However, more letters followed, prompting a change of mind on the part of the Committee.
On August 16th, Oliver Codrington of the Professional Conduct Department wrote to Ginette Elliott, Secretary of the Council of Docked Breeds, stating that the Chairman of the Preliminary Investigation Committee had viewed a video recording of Milne’s appearances on ‘Real Story’ and GMTV and ‘an issue of professional conduct was identified’, that ‘…Ms Milne made factually inaccurate statements concerning the health of British bulldogs, specifically stating that "there was no such thing as a healthy one"…’
Comments were duly being sought from Milne by the RCVS for the investigation to continue. The RCVS would neither confirm nor deny that a disciplinary investigation against Milne was being considered.
Despite messages being left by OUR DOGS over the last two weeks, Ms Milne was unavailable for comment.