THE KENNEL Club is going to allow certain championship shows to do away with benching.
General and group societies which hold one-day championship shows with an anticipated entry of fewer than 1,200 dogs can apply to the KC for exemption.
The exemptions are subject to a two-year trial period and will start in 2014.
However, at first this will apply only to Hound Association of Scotland and Scottish Breeds shows.
UK Toydog, National Terrier, Working and Pastoral Breeds of Wales, National Working and Pastoral Breeds, Hound Association, National Gundog, Gundog Society of Wales, Working and Pastoral Breeds of Scotland, Gundog Breeds Association of Scotland and BUBA all draw more than 1,200 dogs.
"The KCs benching working party and the Shows Executive Committee considered entry figures from 2009-2011 and were aware that the Hound Association of Scotland and Scottish Breeds were the only two shows which would be eligible to apply for exemption from benching at this time, said KC spokesman Caroline Kisko.
"This should be seen as a positive step, and the aim is to carry out a limited trial to check the viability of this change before considering extension to other shows.
At its recent meeting, the KCs General Committee considered a proposal from the working party that a small selection of such shows should be given the opportunity to apply for the exemption.
"In considering the proposal, the committee reaffirmed its position that benching was integral to maintaining safety and successful management at larger shows, the KC announced this week.
"However, it debated the pros and cons of allowing smaller general and group championship shows to be held unbenched, and after consultation with both Bannerdown Benching and Danco Benching it was satisfied that with proper management and well thought-out risk assessments, the proposal was feasible.
"General and group championship shows which are held over more than one day do not qualify for exemption, even if they have fewer than 1,200 dogs per day.
Societies which meet the criteria must submit a formal application which includes a detailed risk assessment, show layout and management structure, the KC says.
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