Margaret C

Cavaliers and the delays in implementing proposed official health screening

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The KC and the BVA are meeting to discuss the responses they have received to the proposal of partial publication of scan results.
So I thought I would write and point out the flaws in the cavalier clubs' feedback exercise.............

----- Original Message -----
From: Margaret Carter
To: ; ; ; ; ; ; Clarissa Baldwin ;
Cc: ;
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 8:22 PM
Subject: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and the delays in implementing proposed official health screening.

In the matter of the proposed BVA/KC CMSM Scheme, I would like to draw your attention to the cavalier breed clubs' 'feedback' figures on the Kennel Club's proposal that only the dog's name and the date of the test should be published.

I belong to three clubs, one is the national Cavalier Club, the other two are regional clubs. I received papers from them all & this will allow my anonymous votes to be recorded three times.

None of these clubs provided a full explanation of why members were being asked to vote, an obvious problem to those without computers, nor were members able to vote for the usual full publication of BVA/KC test results, despite this omission being pointed out to the Cavalier Club before the voting papers were posted.

There is evidence that members who really wanted full publication were unsure how to make this known and individuals with the same opinions ended up voting both for and against the KC proposal of partial publication because there was no other option on the voting paper.
It appears some used the comment box to state their preference. Others made no comment because they assumed full publication was already ruled out as a choice.

The figures for this flawed exercise can be seen at , and

These figures may be used to argue that cavalier breeders want to accept the KC proposal of publication of name of dog and date of scan only. I am writing this email to flag up the fact that these results do not show any such thing.

If the BVA and KC really are willing to abandon the principles of openess and accountability that have been the hallmark of the official schemes so far, then another round of voting with all possible options will need to be undertaken.
This will obviously serve to delay the CMSM Scheme for even longer.

I am Ccing this email to those interested in animal welfare as I want them to be aware just how difficult it is to achieve any progress on health testing, even when the Kennel Club has accepted there are matters of concern.

In April 2008, when I was the Cavalier Club health representative, I attended a CAWC meeting where it was agreed that official schemes for SM and MVD, the two most serious inherited conditions in cavaliers, should be established.

In June 2008 I was banned from going to the first CMSM scheme meeting. Earlier this year the health representative who replaced me was banned from attending the latest CMSM meeting. Health representatives that actually do their job seldom get the support they deserve.

Over three years delay and the Scheme is still not launched. There is no news of an official heart scheme, and the promised Estimated Breed Values that were to be the saving of our very health compromised breed are still on the distant horizon.

There are many good caring breeders in cavaliers, but they are unwilling to compromise their social life, their chance of winning in the show ring, their access to top stud dogs, in order to stand up against influential exhibitors who appear untouchable despite how many rules they break.

Decent small time breeders cannot match the ruthlessness which characterises some of the more commercial show breeders who get voted onto breed club committees simply because their names are known to the membership.

It is these succesful breeders/exhibitors that control what progress is made in health matters and they have a vested interest in resisting recognition of health problems.
They do not want to test and find they cannot breed from valuable winning dogs.

The gradual steps taken by the KC to improve the health of pedigree dogs will always be nullified by the foot dragging of the breed clubs and their members. There may be breeds that will not suffer from these delays, but in the case of cavaliers, the Kennel Club needs to take on board that this lack of urgency, when 50% of young asymptomatic breeding cavaliers being screened through the low cost centres have syringomyelia, is no longer acceptable. SM is an inherited condition that is spreading throughout the breed and causing serious welfare issues to affected dogs. It is time the Kennel Club took decisive action to address the health problems in cavaliers.

The keen competitor's desire to win is very strong and the rewards are not just financial but feed a very human desire for recognition and status. Breeder/exhibitors will continue to take chances on the health status of their dogs unless there are consequences that affect their chances of winning at the highest level.

Nothing will improve for show bred cavaliers until health testing is factored in as an equally important requirement for the show ring as conformation.
If health certificates were required before exhibits were allowed to take significant awards, then competitive breeders would be motivated to breed for health as well as for beauty.

Margaret Carter

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