Mark Evans leaves the RSPCA
MARK EVANS, the controversial vet who branded show dogs and dog shows as a ‘parade of mutants’, has left the RSPCA as its chief veterinary adviser.
Evans caused an uproar two years ago after his statements about certain breeds were aired during the programme, Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Before joining the RSPCA, Mark was a practising vet and a TV presenter and producer, working on programmes such as Pet Rescue (Channel 4), Barking Mad (BBC1), and Absolutely Animals (Channel 4).
The aftermath of the programme saw the RSPCA and some other animal charities pull out attendance at Crufts 2009, though it did nothing to diminish entries or visitors.
Following Evans’ remarks in August 2008, the RSPCA was quick to point out that they had been his ‘own personal views’, and not that of the Society. However, many dog breeders and exhibitors felt that the damage had been done, and said they would no longer be prepared to donate money to the charity if asked. Many breeders also questioned the vet’s own credibility, after visits to his website revealed that over the last ten years Mark had also worked as a producer on a variety of shows (some of which he has also presented) including Dream Machine for Channel 5 and A Car Is Born on Discovery.
As late as last month, many chat groups were still urging people to turn their backs on any RSPCA fundraising campaigns.
In October 2008, OUR DOGS invited its columnists and readers to pose questions for Evans. The interview appeared in our October 24 issue. The two page interview saw the question: If the RSPCA and other dog welfare organisations believe that Crufts is all about cruelty etc; Why have they decided to boycott the show? Should they not be present to witness the alleged cruelty and take action? Evans’ answer was ‘Purebred dog ‘beauty pageants’, such as Crufts (KC description), that use current Kennel Club breed standards as the main judging criteria actively encourage both the breeding of deformed and disabled dogs and the inbreeding of closely related animals. The health and welfare of many pedigree dogs is compromised as a result. The RSPCA believes that from a dog health and welfare perspective, such beauty pageants are fundamentally flawed and do our much loved pedigree dogs no favours. That is why we pulled out of Crufts 2009.’ The full interview can be seen here.
Comments from our readers and on the OUR DOGS facebook page saw a unanimous sigh of relief at his departure: Victoria Wilkins said: ‘I can't understand why he couldn't justify what he said. In effect, he's saying that pedigree dogs, the dogs where we can trace most of the history and breed development, are more of a concoction and mutation than a crossbreed which can be more susceptible to problems because the breed is thrown together and their parentage cannot be traced, only guessed. Although he had good views on other aspects of animal welfare I feel that this is the right move.’ Kay Martland said: ‘Has he finally realised that they (RSPCA) are more interested in political matters than actually doing 'what it says on the tin'.. '.....Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' ????’ and Serena Parker simply said ‘Good riddance!’
In a brief statement to OUR DOGS, the RSPCA said: ‘After three and a half years as the RSPCA's Chief Veterinary Adviser and its Head of Companion Animals, Mark Evans has left the Society to concentrate on media initiatives to promote animal welfare and wildlife conservation.’
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