View Full Version : BBC considering dropping Crufts due to film tonight

19th August 2008, 12:07 PM
Again a reminder that this programme is on tonight, 9pm, BBC1, and features the cavalier.



The Daily Mail article is very interesting. Look at tis image of how breeds have changed:


So shocking are some of the scenes in the documentary - including a boxer having an epileptic fit and a King Charles spaniel writhing in agony because its skull is too small for its brain - that the BBC is considering ending its 42-year connection with Crufts.

There is even speculation that the Queen, well known for her love of dogs, could cut her ties with the Kennel Club, which runs Crufts and sets the standards for the 200 or so breeds of pedigree dog.

I believe the CKCS video is the one I was allowed to use (http://s114.photobucket.com/albums/n272/cavaliertalk/?action=view&current=Chris4.flv) on my own SM site.

This is getting huge coverage in the UK.

19th August 2008, 12:14 PM
More from Daily Mail:

Veterinary neurologist Clare Rusbridge said: 'The cavalier's brain is like a size ten foot that has been shoved into a size six shoe; it doesn't fit.

'It is described in humans as one of the most painful conditions you can have, a piston-type headache. Even a light touch - a collar, for example - can induce discomfort.

'If you took a stick and beat a dog to create that pain, you'd be prosecuted. But there's nothing to stop you breeding a dog with it.'

The programme says the drive for perfection has left golden retrievers prone to cancer, labradors with joint and eye problems, West Highland terriers beset with allergies and boxers at high risk of heart disease, epilepsy and cancer.

Pugs are so inbred that although there are 10,000 in Britain, their DNA could come from just 50.

The Pekingese's squashed face causes breathing difficulties that lead to some airlines refusing to fly them. So serious are the breathing problems that Danny, the 2003 Crufts winner, sat on an ice pack while being photographed afterwards to stop him overheating.

To ensure desirable traits are passed on, male dogs are being mated with their own daughters, sisters and granddaughters.

Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, said: 'If dog breeders insist on going further down that road, I can say with confidence that there is a universe of suffering waiting for many of these breeds and many, if not most, will not survive.'

19th August 2008, 12:21 PM
Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2583235/BBC-may-cut-Crufts-over-disease-riddled-pedigree-breeds.html

19th August 2008, 12:27 PM
Daily Mirror: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/08/19/pedigree-chumps-115875-20703843/

Long BBC News article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7569064.stm

BBC news VIDEO focusing on cavaliers:


20th August 2008, 10:44 AM
it really is getting major coverage!! i have it recorded on my sky plus going to watch it this evening!

20th August 2008, 10:53 AM
The Irish Times gave me an amazing 1000 words on the op-ed page of today's paper:


Dog's life for pedigree breeds due to inbreeding

Wed, Aug 20, 2008

Breeders who mate closely related dogs are creating genetically unstable animals, writes Karlin Lillington

'THE BACK of Leo's skull is pushing down on his brain here, and over here, you can see where his brain is being forced out into his spinal cord as a result."

The neurologist pointed to the image of my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's head on his computer screen, and then traced his finger towards a small circle of white suspended like a hazy bubble in the top of Leo's spinal cord.

"And that, I'm afraid, is a syrinx. Leo has syringomyelia."

Four years ago, I was stunned and fearful of what such a diagnosis might mean for my sweet-natured spaniel. But I knew - as does anyone now who last night watched the shocking BBC1 television documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, on how breeders "play God with dogs" - that at least a third, and probably more than half of all cavaliers eventually get this potentially painful neurological condition.

Unfortunately for the breed, it also suffers the double whammy of suffering from early onset heart murmurs. According to research, about half of all cavaliers acquire a heart murmur by age five, the equivalent of a 30 year old person going into congestive heart failure. It's an old dog's disease inflicted on the young, and means many families will lose a loved pet before it even qualifies as a canine senior citizen.

But it isn't just cavaliers who struggle with genetically introduced ailments. Boxers too have high rates of heart disease, as well as cancer and epilepsy. West Highland Terriers suffer from skin and lung disease, Labradors from hip dysplasia, Alsatians from cancer, Dalmatians from urinary tract disorders, Weimeraners from a canine form of spinal bifida.

According to research from Imperial College London, such problems can be laid at the door of breeders who closely line breed, mating closely-related dogs together in order to achieve a consistent appearance for the show ring. Many dog breeders routinely mate fathers and mothers to their sons and daughters, siblings to siblings, grandchildren to grandparents. This creates genetic bottlenecks and lack of diversity. So, although there are 10,000 registered pugs in the UK, they represent only 50 distinct individuals.

"People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all be entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals," Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London explained in the film.

"In some breeds they are paying a terrible, terrible price in genetic disease."

On top of that, breeding for appearance in the show ring - to fit "breed standards" established by breed clubs for dog shows - means many dogs now suffer from painfully altered body shapes.

Pugs have eyes that fall out of their shallow skulls. Bulldogs can no longer mate or give birth naturally. Pekingese struggle to breathe and easily overheat. And cavaliers have a skull that is too small for their labrador-sized brains. Researcher and neurologist Clare Rusbridge notes: "The cavalier's brain is like a size 10 foot that has been shoved into a size 6 shoe - it doesn't fit."

And that is why Leo's brain, like that of many cavaliers, protrudes down into his spine, causing syrinxes - fluid pockets - to form in the spinal column, causing syringomyelia, which for humans, is among the most painful medical conditions. Leo is on human neurological painkillers for life because no approved drug exists in the vet world to deal with it.

All of this directly affects the families that buy the vast majority of purebred puppies, who shell out millions on vet bills and may watch the decline of cherished pets to diseases that in many cases could be entirely prevented by better breeding practice and appropriate health testing of breeding stock.

But this might mean a slower route to the show ring ribbons, and certainly means more expense for breeders, who - despite having health protocols in many breeds - regularly choose to ignore them. The UK CKCS Club, for example, has chosen over the years to disregard their own cardiologist advisor's advice. He recently noted that lack of stricter heart testing requirements has meant the club has seen no improvement in heart disease rates in a decade. The Irish club similarly has no such requirement. Yet research shows clearly that dogs from parents who remain heart clear into later life are 20 times less likely to themselves suffer from early heart disease.

Breed clubs here, and their parent Irish Kennel Club, must begin to responsibly address this ugly carnival of pain and suffering. First off, IKC registration must be made a valued badge of health for every puppy that carries it. Each breed club should draw up a list of required tests for known breed genetic ailments affecting their breed, and the IKC should refuse registration for litters of puppies whose parents have not been tested to standard within a relevant period of time.

Impossible to implement? Not at all. This is exactly what the Swedish cavalier club does to enforce heart testing. Cavaliers must test murmur-free within eight months of being bred or the puppies do not receive full club registration.

The Government must take a responsible role, too, not least because Ireland, shamefully, remains the puppy farm capital of Europe, exporting thousands of poorly-bred, shabbily-farmed puppies via a multi-million euro black market. The Department of the Environment needs to implement its long overdue, long promised regulations to control puppy farming, while the Department of Agriculture must incorporate ethical breeding practices in its proposed animal welfare bill, expected in the next Dáil session.

As Pedigree Dogs Exposedmade horrifically clear, animal welfare is more than an owner cruelty issue.

As Dr Rusbridge told the BBC: "If you took a stick and beat a dog to create that pain, you'd be prosecuted. But there's nothing to stop you breeding a dog with it."

Karlin Lillington is anIrish Times journalist. She has a website - www.smcavalier.com - devoted to the issues explored in this article

© 2008 The Irish Times

20th August 2008, 11:01 AM
Karlin you article is brilliant well said, it really gets across what our poor babies and others have to go through.

Cleo's Person
20th August 2008, 12:06 PM
COngratulations on the article Karlin. It says it all really. I hope that people who might have missed the film last evening will read it and that attitudes and opinions will change as a result. Great idea to include the link to the website in your byline. Hopefully more people especially vets will log on and find out a bit about the condition.

20th August 2008, 01:16 PM
Congratulations on your article Karlin, you are an excellent ambassador and spokesperson for the Cavalier breed and for us owners or potential owners of these beautiful little dogs. Well done and thank you.

20th August 2008, 02:16 PM
Congratulations on the article Karlin.

Daisy's Mom
20th August 2008, 03:12 PM
Like others have said "Way to go, Karlin!" I just hope all this has an effect on breeders, whether it's a voluntary action some of them will now be shamed into taking, or action that buyers or government regulations will force them to take.

I'm glad I bought Daisy from a good breeder in terms of eyes, heart, and knees, but SM was purely a crap shoot. I guess we'll hope for the best. I talked to a great breeder last night who I am working on with rescue, and she said that most good breeders routinely MRI their dogs now. I don't think that was the case even 2 1/2 years ago when we got Daisy, so maybe things are getting a little better here in the U.S.

It is all pretty gross, isn't it? I had seen a documentary not too long ago about pugs and they said that they had to surgically cut open their uterus and put the sperm in there, and then the puppies had to be delivered cesearean. That's just plain crazy.

I'm going to try to find the BBC documentary online and watch it, but it sounds truly horrible.

Emma n Renco
20th August 2008, 04:38 PM
Oh how brilliant! Congratulations Karlin! You are such a pioneer for this wonderful breed... we all owe you a lot for firstly bringing the cavaliertalk forum into our lives and also for the awareness you are spreading about such an awful disease. Well done you!!! :-) xx

20th August 2008, 07:17 PM
Great article! :) It's such good news that this is in the mainstream ...:thmbsup:

20th August 2008, 07:39 PM
That's an excellent article Karlin, I think using Leo as an example was brilliant, it adds so much without being overemotional - I think it will bring home to people the reality of living with an affected dog.

20th August 2008, 08:29 PM
Thank you Karlin! That was brilliant!:rah: I sent your article and others to our 3 major networks here in the US and hopefully they will look into this here and run it. Awareness is the only way to stop this.

Mom to Alex

20th August 2008, 09:04 PM
Fab,Karlin.Wish i was sooooo clever like you.But we can all do our own little bit.

20th August 2008, 10:50 PM
Good informative articel, Karlin. I have had a major run in with the KC before now and they basically turn a blind eye to anything they feel like ignoring. Their accredited (sp) breeder scheme is nothing but a joke and a way of them making more money too :(