THE KENNEL Club has responded to the statement given by Mike Gadsby of the Canine Alliance.
The four-page presentation on the subject of the high-profile breed veterinary checks was presented to the KC during its recent meeting with the Alliance.
The KC said there had been no intention to ‘victimise’ any breed but that it had focused on those with ‘developed exaggerations which could have a negative impact on the health of that breed’.
It said these breeds had been under discussion for more than ten years and that representatives of each had met the KC several times.
"In the majority of cases there has been agreement that exaggerations need to be addressed and the KC acknowledges and applauds the positive steps that have been taken by many breed clubs,” the KC response stated.
The Alliance said that KC chairman Steve Dean had given assurances that the vet’s examination would be the same as the judges, with no instruments being used.
The KC responded: "It was agreed from the beginning that no specialist instruments would be used. However, it was accepted that the amount of light available to the vet may be less than that available to the judge under the lights in the ring and therefore the use of a pen torch was considered reasonable.
"… A pen torch was only used until the lighting in the veterinary areas was improved. Use of the pen torch has now been suspended and a requirement has been placed on shows to ensure that the lighting in the veterinary area is as good as that in the rings.”
The Bulldog was failed due to a mark in the eye which could have been the result of ‘the freedom of a healthy life’. Did the KC not want these dogs to have freedom, the Alliance asked.
"The report issued by the vet remains a matter between him or her and the exhibitor, and therefore we cannot comment on any individual case,” the KC replied. "However, we can confirm absolutely that no exhibit failed its veterinary check solely on the basis of damage caused by an accidental injury. All failures were as a result of a condition or conditions which would have caused pain or discomfort to the dog.
"We firmly believe that the health and welfare of dogs is the top priority for the vast majority of exhibitors, even if on occasion a dog has to be withdrawn from showing temporarily or permanently due to painful conditions.”
The Alliance is unhappy that those who fall foul of the checks have no recourse to appeal.
"It was made clear that the examining vet’s decision would be final,” the KC said. "The examination is not intended to be the same as that which would be conducted by a specialist and is a general health check to look for clinical evidence of disease leading to welfare issues at the time including eye disease, skin conditions, breathing difficulties and lameness; principally signs of physical discomfort caused by conformation.”
The Alliance suggested that the exhibitors’ feelings were not taken into account.
The KC responded: "The process was conducted in a sympathetic, understanding and tactful manner. In every case the handler was given the opportunity to take as much time as was reasonable to take photographs, receive congratulations etc before being guided to the veterinary area.
"We have received no complaint from any owner or handler involved with the process, but as with all new initiatives the process will be evaluated and any improvements to the process considered.”
The Alliance suggested that there were ‘massive failures’ in the process. The KC did not agreed, although ‘as with any new initiative’, the process is to be reviewed, and where improvements are identified ‘these will be introduced as a matter of course’, it said.
The checks should not have started as Crufts, the Alliance believes.
The KC replied: "We recognise that when changes to established process take place there can be a period of adjustment. However, it was felt that it was incumbent on the KC to introduce these changes at its own show and lead the way rather than place the responsibility for the checks directly onto the shoulders of another championship show in the first instance.”
For the KC’s full response to Mr Gadsby’s presentation see DOG WORLD April 13.
The Canine Alliance make much of the use of testing in the ring and yet if you have a look at their Committee there are quite a few who are showing dogs which they have also used to breed from yet according to the KC health checker on the KC website have had no health test done, despite having recognised problems in those breeds and KC/BVA approved tests for them. I hope that DW will be balanced enought to print this comment, and who know perhaps follow up this point too?
Were you actually there at Crufts? I was, with one of the breeders whose dog was disqualified. What the KC did was cruel and inconsiderate in the highest degree, to responsible and caring people who had come along in good faith, to show their healthy and successful dogs. It was my first Crufts and I couldn't believe that exhibitors could be treated like that by their own organisation. I do support healthy dogs and ways to ensure this but these methods were harsh. The KC response is depressing in its evasiveness. Mike Gadsby made an excellent case for our grievances but the response seems to have been ' We'll think about it...we've thought...we're not going to change, apologise or consider your feelings. Tough luck.'
I am so disapointed with the canine alliece. The more they protest the more intransigent and out of touch they appear.
The Kennel Club deserve much credit for trying to re establish the good name of pedigree dogs. Does the dog world really want the public to think the whims and preferences are more important than the health of our dogs?