Animal Aid

Kennel Club bows to public pressure

Posted 8 October 2008

Following a BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which highlighted the health and welfare problems caused by current breed criteria, the Kennel Club has finally agreed to review its breed standards for every pedigree dog breed in Britain.

The programme - which exposed dogs suffering appalling genetic diseases and illnesses and the practice of mating mothers with sons - sparked outrage amongst Britain’s dog-friendly population. Many people contacted the Kennel Club demanding immediate action be taken.

In a rebuttal to the documentary, Kennel Club spokesperson, Caroline Kisko, initially claimed that the problems highlighted 'do not apply across the 200 plus breeds in the UK'. She cited a Kennel Club survey, which revealed that 90 per cent of pedigree dogs do not suffer from health problems that would have a detrimental effect on their quality of life. This survey, however, conveniently discounted all the dogs with conditions such as hip dysplasia, slipping patellas or hereditary cataracts - conditions which have a detrimental effect on quality of life, as any person suffering them would agree.

In a welcome but unexpected turn-around - and possibly as a reaction to the threat of losing the BBC’s coverage of Crufts - the Kennel Club has agreed to introduce new guidelines to its breeders. The new rules, they say, will be in place by the end of the year, and will cover 209 breeds. Long overdue, is their announcement that Crufts' judges will be trained to choose only the healthiest dogs and that incestuous matings will be 'tackled'.

Thank you to everyone who contacted the Kennel Club and urged this outdated institution to make immediate amends. But, with breed clubs already reportedly rebelling against these changes, Animal Aid will be watching developments closely.

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