Breeders in a ‘tizzy’ over Purebred Paradox
CHANGES have been made to Purebred Paradox, a two-day conference in the US which will address the health and welfare issues of the pedigree dog.
The organisers have decided not to show the documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, and a former American Kennel Club (AKC) board member will be speaking instead of a representative of the AKC’s Canine Health Foundation (CHF).
The documentary’s writer and producer, Jemima Harrison, is to be one of the speakers at the conference, as will be Professor Sir Patrick Bateson who conducted the latest enquiry into dog breeding. He will speak on the ‘problems of dog breeding and what to do about them’.
Representing the world of pedigree dogs are Labrador breeder Drs Frances O Smith and Patricia Haines. Dr Smith is health and committee chairman of the Labrador Retriever Club Inc of the US and a former member of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) canine health and welfare board.
Why people breed
She will talk about the development of dog breeds and ‘why and how people breed dogs’. Dr Haines is the former AKC board member, and over the years she has been heavily involved with Golden Retrievers, American Foxhounds and most recently Pointers.
The CHF was going to provide a speaker but then withdrew the offer. It is believed that the AKC is wary of the conference, believing it to be anti-pedigree dogs. It would not respond to DOG WORLD’s request for a comment.
Organising the conference is Dr James Serpell, who is professor of humane ethics and animal welfare at the school of veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, a body established by the Humane Society of the US, a body with similar aims to England’s RSPCA.
“The goal of the conference is to bring together primarily scientific experts to discuss the health and welfare of purebred dogs,” Dr Serpell said. “Jemima Harrison was invited specifically to give a first-hand account of the fall-out from Pedigree Dogs Exposed in the UK. We will be including a DVD of the film in delegates’ conference folders – to keep or not as they choose.
“The purebred dog world will be represented by Drs Smith and Haines, although I would emphasise that nobody currently on the program is against purebred dogs or is seeking to ban them, as has been suggested by some critics.
“The only changes have been the recent addition of Dr Haines and the decision not to screen Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Despite our best efforts we were unable to recruit speakers representing either the AKC or its CHF. The latter originally offered one of its board members to speak in the slot now occupied by Dr Haines but subsequently withdrew the offer. From this we can only assume that neither organisation is supportive of the conference.”
Ms Harrison said that if people were expecting her to be ‘on the podium bashing pedigree dogs’ they would be disappointed.
“My talk will be a factual one – mainly documenting the impact the film has had and highlighting the changes introduced by the Kennel Club since the film,” she said.
“I have no problems at all with the screening being cancelled. I am sure most people have seen it anyway, and if making this concession gets more breeders there then that can only be a good thing.
“I very much hope breeders will attend as it’s important that their voices are heard, and I think they’ll be surprised at how constructive many of the presentations will be.
“They’ve worked themselves up into a right old tizzy but this conference really is aimed at trying to find the way forward for pedigree dogs. If I thought otherwise, I wouldn’t be attending it myself.”
I don't blame the Canine Health Foundation for backing out. They work for the benefit of dogs.
You quoted Dr James Serpell: "...nobody currently on the program is against purebred dogs or is seeking to ban them..." --- That would be a false statement. HSUS's goal is to end purebred dog breeding in the United States. AKC and HSUS are mortal enemies in that regard.