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President steps down in Pug breeding row

Issue: 01/11/2019

The president of the biggest Pug club in the Netherlands, Commedia, has resigned.
Last March, the Dutch government announced it was going to actively enforce laws to prohibit dogs whose muzzles are considered too short. According to the law the breeding of Pugs was prohibited immediately.
Arjan Sterk has attacked the integrity of the Dutch Kennel Club. He accuses them of misleading breeders about the situation and of encouraging them to break the law.
In his statement he says, ‘As of March this year it’s against the law to breed pugs. The pug can’t meet several health criteria set by law.  We discussed this several times within breeding club Commedia and specialists gave lectures about the subject.
‘A significant group of our breeders want to keep on breeding purebred pugs and they realize they will be breaking the law by doing so. Breeders have indicated they wish to continue breeding purebred pugs because the Dutch Kennel Club continues to issue FCI pedigrees for these dogs. 
‘The FCI pedigree suggests the dog is carefully bred according to current law and regulation. This makes an FCI pedigree dog more expensive. Breeders believe a short muzzled pedigree dog is so valuable that they prepare for legal procedures.
‘The Dutch Kennel Club knowingly and willingly gave their members the wrong impression that the criteria added to the law were not yet effective. They also labelled the report ‘breeding with short muzzled dogs’, which substantiates the criteria added to the law, as insufficiently scientifically substantiated and not truthful. 
‘By this statement The Dutch Kennel club was actually stating that breeders continuing to breed pugs are not to blame when they break the law. I have addressed this to the board of the Kennel club several times.


‘Last August, the Dutch Kennel Club submitted a breeding plan to the minister asking her for her approval to breed with extremely short and short muzzled pedigree dogs. The minister has already stated no exceptions will be made before the breeding plan was even submitted.
‘Last Monday another information evening for breeders of the short muzzled pedigree dogs was organised by the Dutch Kennel Club. The Kennel Club stated that they will start legal procedures against the government and will pursue a legal test case if breeders get fined. 
‘The Dutch Kennel Club doesn’t show very much respect for the government considering they are partners.
‘In these last few weeks I have witnessed several evident violations of integrity by members of the board of the Dutch Kennel Club. I reported these to the board and other organisations who are concerned with this law and regulation.
‘At our next meeting for members of Commedia I will step down as president of the club. The fact that the board of the Dutch Kennel Club has planned to take legal action against the law and regulations that concern the health and welfare of dogs does not conform to my belief. I cannot and will not be associated with this new policy of Dutch Kennel Club.’
In August the Dutch Kennel Club submitted its breeding strategy for brachycephalic dogs to the government.
In a statement they said at the time, ‘Breeding strategy brachycephalic dogs submitted to the Ministry.
‘In March 2019, the report “BREEDING BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS” was published in The Netherlands (in Dutch) with enforcement criteria for the breeding of brachycephalic dogs. These criteria were active from that day onwards.
‘The Raad van Beheer concurs with almost all criteria and wishes to adapt them in its own regulations, in close collaboration with the involved breed clubs. The Raad van Beheer does not agree with the Craniofacial Ratio (CFR) as a prohibiting criterion for breeding. This criterion would make it impossible to breed certain breeds while the prognostic value and the reproducibility of the CFR are being questioned among scientists.
‘The Raad van Beheer wants an exception for the regulated pedigree breeding, so these breeds can be bred in The Netherlands in a healthy form and with the effort to achieve a longer muzzle.
‘We hope to receive soon a positive reaction on our proposal from our Government and we will keep the International Dog World posted!’
The strategy can be found here -
OUR DOGS has contacted the Dutch Kennel Club but as we go to press have not had a response.

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