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Karlin
15th January 2010, 11:17 AM
AP coverage -- this will have been the wire story that most international media sources would run. I think gives a very good overview:


Associated Press
UK report calls for tougher dog breeding standards
By JILL LAWLESS , 01.14.10, 10:32 AM EST

LONDON -- Britain considers itself a nation of dog lovers. But a new report says breeders' search for the best beagle or the perfect Pekingese has subjected some animals to deformity and disease.

Thursday's report by a leading biologist comes after sponsors shunned the country's most famous dog show over cruelty claims. It calls for tougher standards to curb genetic deformities and restore the reputation of a tainted industry.

"The time has surely come for society as a whole to take a firm grip on the welfare issues that evidently arise in dog breeding," said the report by Cambridge University professor emeritus Patrick Bateson.

The report was triggered by a BBC investigation that claimed breeding process that focused on appearance rather than health had resulted in high levels of deformity and genetic illnesses.

The 2008 documentary was a public relations disaster for the dog industry. The BBC stopped televising Crufts, Britain's biggest dog show, after more than 40 years. Two major charities, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Dogs Trust, withdrew their support for the show, and pet food company Pedigree dropped its sponsorship.

The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, and the Dogs Trust commissioned a report from Bateson, who interviewed breeders, vets, animal welfare charities and pet owners.

The report - which echoes earlier calls for reform - said inbreeding makes dogs less resilient and more prone to disease. Even worse, some types of dogs have been bred to encourage extreme characteristics_ such as smaller heads, flatter faces and more folds in the skin - leading to health problems.

The report pointed to syringomyelia in King Charles spaniels - a disorder in which the brain continues to grow after the skull has ossified - and skin conditions in wrinkly dogs that have been bred to be even more adorably furrowed.

Some dogs' large heads means they must be delivered by Cesarean section; the report found 92.3 percent of Boston terriers and 86.1 percent of bulldogs were born that way.

Bateson said that "to the outsider, it seems incomprehensible that anyone should admire, let alone acquire an animal that has difficulty in breathing or walking."

But breeders insist the problems with pedigree dogs have been exaggerated.

"Responsible breeders have never sought to exaggerate," said Susan Jay of the London Bulldog Society. "I am a championship judge in bulldogs and I have never liked the exaggerated ones, with the very heavy wrinkles and the low-to-the-ground bent legs.

"Unfortunately the people you cannot reach, and the people you want to reach, are the irresponsible breeders - people who are only in it for money."

The Kennel Club said it "broadly welcomed" the report and had already toughened its welfare standards.

In the wake of the BBC report, the club introduced new standards for more than 200 breeds, saying the rules would eliminate features "that might prevent a dog from breathing, walking and seeing freely." The changes included fewer folds on the loose-skinned shar-pei and "the preclusion of excessive weight in Labradors."

The American Kennel Club maintains a similar set of standards in the United States.

British Kennel Club spokeswoman Caroline Kisko said the club "is dedicated to ensuring that only the healthiest dogs are rewarded at shows."

Bateson's report said that while many breeders had high standards, others suffered from "negligent or incompetent management."

He recommended tougher breeder accreditation rules, more inspections of breeding premises and micro-chipping of all puppies so they can be traceable back to their breeders.

Bateson said the dog-buying public was partly responsible for the problems, and recommended an education campaign by animal welfare groups to ensure people only bought puppies from reputable breeders and healthy parents.

Karlin
15th January 2010, 11:31 AM
Personally, I think it is very significant that Bateson in part very clearly *blames the puppy buying public* and states so firmly that they too have their role in this enormous problem that causes animals to suffer.

I will be very, very blunt here: this is just as and often MORE exasperating to me than the breeders who breed without working properly towards health. Over the years that I have run this board, I have watched many members here and elsewhere talk the talk about health but clearly do not in reality give a moment's thought when it comes to their selfish interests of getting a puppy. It is one thing if you do not realise there are these differences in how breeders breed, and how to go about finding a good breeder. It is another if you have been a member here or elsewhere where this sad issue is discussed and perhaps you yourself make posts about how terrible the health issue is, and how breeders must change, then YOU go support those irresponsible breeders, or think if they do a fairly meaningless gesture like vet heart tests, and the breeder seems a nice person, that is good enough.:mad:

When it comes to buying a new puppy, many still -- astonishingly -- do NOT support the health-focused, testing breeder but get the puppy from whatever breeder is closest, some friend who bred a litter casually, or the one that is cheaper or the one that has puppies right now in the colour you want.

That decision is every bit as irresponsible and detrimental and damaging as the breeder who breeds without health testing, or despite knowing they have poor results.

Yes, breeders absolutely need to get their house in order but buyers need to care about more than instant gratification or the bargain puppy.

Please do not be hypocrites. Either take the morally and ethically right approach to owning dogs and opt for the health-focused breeder and understand their efforts on the breed's behalf cost more -- or get a rescue dog or some other breed that better suits what you feel you can pay. Puppy buyers need to be working WITH the good breeders, not mouthing off about the poor ones then going right ahead and buying from them. :(

Please ONLY support the health focused breeder who tests and gives this breed its best shot at surviving these health problems.

Tania
15th January 2010, 12:14 PM
I believe the Pet Buying Public have a lot to answer for. This is how I see it:-
1. Pet Owners who want to be committed and are genuine
buy but are not aware of who they are buying from because of the lack of information. A large number of people do not know what Puppy Farming means for example.

2. The Pet Owner who buys a puppy on a whim say for
Christmas, then dumps it. These type of people would not
read information even if it was readily available. As they
are ignorant and have no regard for animals and simply
treat animals as a disposable item!
Dog ownership needs to be made more difficult. eg licensed with conditions. Maybe the demand for dogs will be less.
The Dog rescues in this part of the world are bursting at the seams, I believe over 500 Dogs have been discarded since Christmas!
We are certainly living up to our reputation of being a throw away society!
So speaking as a Pet Owner, I am totally disgusted with both breeders and many so called pet owners.

Brian M
15th January 2010, 12:16 PM
Hi

I fully agree with the press release and Karlins comments and also wish to say how very important a forum like CavalierTalk is to the puppy buying public by way of Education as it is only by way of reading the information here that we the puppy buying public know where to look and what questions to ask.

And just this morning my KC papers arrived for Lily as her breeder was not happy about releasing them until I furnished written proof she had been spayed ,and her purchase only came after my search for a puppy who had parents that fulfiilled all the health requirements now required of having Grade A Mri scanned ,Eye tested ,Heart checked parents .So without the help of this forum I would have just consulted the K. Club A.C.B. list as before as I would have been none the wiser .

So my first search for a Cavalier puppy when our Poppy arrived compared to my last recent one for Lily are so different which is thanks to all the Cavalier Education from CavalierTalk I have received in between the times of my oldest and youngest girls arriving .

Kate H
15th January 2010, 12:26 PM
I do so agree, Karlin - and it applies to all breeds. My pet shop owner friends were telling me about someone whose Labrador bitch got out and was accidentally mated by another Lab (the owners knew each other). The result was 10 puppies, beautifully reared, no care or expense spared, good homes found for all of them - but neither owner had done any health checks on the parents, in a breed in which hip dysplasia is rife, and apparently none of the buyers questioned the owner of the bitch about this. It's all part of the NOW society - if we want something, we want it now, even if it gets us into debt - no waiting, no saving up, no enjoyable anticipation; and if the good breeder can't supply a puppy NOW, we'll find one on the internet or down the road. People treat buying a puppy like buying a new sofa (and the sofa is often cheaper and will last longer!) - in fact, I sometimes think they take more care over buying the sofa!

I don't know how we get this across to people - when people ask me where they can get a Cavalier, I always stress asking to see health certificates, but as individuals doing our bit, we're a drop in the ocean.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Mindysmom
15th January 2010, 12:41 PM
I totally agree with your points Karlin. Due to my experience with Zeus (our Golden) and Mindy's breeders (having human kids was easier than getting my first two fur kids) I ASSumed that all breeders were ethical and health focused. When searching for Max I asked all the right questions and got all the right answers, visited the breeder, met both the sire and dam and asked all the appropriate health questions. When I came to pick Max up after having paid in advance it was surprising to me, not to have the health papers, or the registration. At 15 months I still don't have it but it's coming...........

I started looking for Rylie believing that while most breeders are ethical some are not. I was prepared for my search to take more time. I talked to several breeders, only one of whom I would not have been thrilled to have had a puppy from. I had initially wanted a female but after talking to one breeder I came to understand that many of the testing breeders want their females to go to other breeders if they have healthy lines. All the research I did led me to believe that having two males in the house wouldn't be a problem and it hasn't been. I found a wonderful breeder and things just fell into place for Rylie to join us last summer.

Tania
15th January 2010, 01:30 PM
I have written this post again as my earlier post was a bit of a mess. Sorry!

I believe the Pet Buying Public have a lot to answer for. This is how I see it:-

Pet Owners who want to be committed and are genuine buyers but are not aware of who they are buying from because of the lack of information. A large number of people do not know what Puppy Farming means for example.

The Pet Owner who buys a puppy on a whim say for Christmas, then dumps it. These type of people would not read information even if it was readily available. As they are ignorant and have little regard for animals and simply treat them as a disposable item!

Dog ownership needs to be made more difficult. eg licensed with conditions.

The Dog rescues in this part of the world are bursting at the seams, I believe over 500 Dogs have been discarded since Christmas!

We are certainly living up to our reputation of being a throw away society!

So speaking as a Pet Owner, I am totally disgusted with both breeders and pet owners.

Marjorie
15th January 2010, 01:39 PM
There are so many issues here that need to be addressed. It is heartbreaking and overwhelming. I sure hope this leads to a better future for dogs, pet owners and responsible breeders.

Margaret C
15th January 2010, 02:10 PM
Everything Karlin has said is so true.

There does so need to be a great move to educate buyers and I do hope that part of the Bateson report is acted on quickly.

People do need to realise that buying a dog that they hope will be a long time companion, should not be done on impulse.......Why?.....BECAUSE IT IS DOGS THAT SUFFER IN THE LONG RUN.........Hard though it is, it is better to walk away from a pathetic little scrap in a hell hole, or even a bright eyed little bundle of fluff in a kitchen if there are no health records.

Support truly responsible breeders who try to identify and breed from the best parents possible.
Make it no longer worthwhile for the dubious and cheating other breeders to continue, and help give the breed a future.

Buying a dog is an emotional thing. Irresponsible breeders take advantage of buyers sentimentality and their gullibility........

1. People will buy a dog kept in bad conditions from obvious puppy farmers because they feel the need to 'rescue' the puppy.

2. They will buy from plausible, seemingly nice breeders, who say they don't have any health problems, because it is embarassing to ask questions and look as if you don't trust them.

3. Buyers will do a little homework, buy from seemingly genuine breeders that 'show' and provide certificates, and still not realise that the breeder has health tested and bred the parents way too young for a breed with late onset health problems.

Some exhibitors are only scanning one or two token dogs.They continue to breed from unscanned parents.
They still have buyers in the UK and abroad who are only interested if a puppy will win in the show ring ( These buyers will swiftly sell on to a pet owner if any health problems start to show )
Of course the non-show standard puppies from these litters are still being sold to pet buyers. Be careful. Top breeders are not always scrupulous people.

There is a very lucrative market overseas, where health issues are even more downplayed, and there are many more cavaliers than usual being exported by top kennels.

Some, possibly the majority, of these unscanned dogs will be helping to spread SM through out the world.

Brian M
15th January 2010, 02:49 PM
Hi Margaret

As the report contains so much who do you think are the organistions that will/need to take action and on what points and how do you think these actions should be financed ie licences/ins premiums/puppy cost /k c fees etc:confused:

Margaret C
15th January 2010, 04:15 PM
Hi Margaret

As the report contains so much who do you think are the organistions that will/need to take action and on what points and how do you think these actions should be financed ie licences/ins premiums/puppy cost /k c fees etc:confused:

There are a good few organisations that will affected by or have an interest in the recommendations, which include changes to the Kennel Clubs Accredited Breeders Scheme, changes to legislation which will affected Local Authorities, more action from Veterinary Associations and education initiatives from voluntary bodies.

I have not yet managed to sit down and thoroughly digest the findings and I am not sure how much the cost, & who pays, is addressed within the report.

Whoever gets charged the extra cost initially it is inevitable that the cost will be passed onto the buyer.
If that lessens the demand for puppies from impulse purchasers, then that may not be a bad thing?.

Margaret C
15th January 2010, 04:21 PM
A quote from the breeder's forum. This is a model of what pet buyers should expect when they collect their puppy........

"All my babies will be chipped at the time of having their health check, and as well as copies of Heart, Eye & MRI certificates of both parents, a copy of their litter screening certificate and a Health Certificate for each individual puppy, I also put on my sales contract that copies of these have been provided and they sign two copies the contract ackowledging this, I retain one and they are given the other."

Brian M
15th January 2010, 04:29 PM
Hi Margaret

Thats more like it .:):):):jmp:

Bet
15th January 2010, 06:25 PM
I sure agree with the Posts that say the Dog Buying Public have to be educated,but I think that just maybe to safe- guard the Public, a List be published of the Health Problems in a particular Breed and if a Dog who has been purchased developes any of those particular Breed Faults , and the Breeder has'nt Health Tested for them, then that Breeder can be sued. .

Sabby
15th January 2010, 08:49 PM
I totally agree with Karlin that the pet buying public is just as much responsible as the bad breeders.
I was just as naive. I always had x breeds from rescues. So when my Neighbour bought a Cavalier pup I was in love. I didnít do any research and I didnít know anything about health problems. My X breeds lived until they were 15 with hardly any trips to the vet so I thought all dogs are like that. Itís only because the breeder is so passionate about the health problems and testing I became aware of the health issues.