Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Dogs Trust withdraws from all Kennel Club events, including Crufts

Press release:

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity has announced it will be withdrawing from Crufts and Discover Dogs. Dogs Trust will also not be involved in this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year Show. This follows consultation with the charity’s Trustees and requests from its supporters.

Dogs Trust believes that this removal of support is the strongest signal it can give to the Kennel Club and breeders to achieve immediate action to ensure that the health and wellbeing of pedigree dogs is ranked over appearance and artificial breed standards.

Dogs Trust hopes that this will lead to rapid changes in the manner in which dogs are bred and is in talks with Defra and The Kennel Club to help bring about the following much needed changes:

1. The review of breed standards to ensure they are firmly focused on the health and wellbeing of the dog, not the supposed aesthetics of the breed. Breeders and show judges must be required to adhere to these revised breed standards.

2. The introduction of secondary legislation, so as to prevent inappropriate breeding practices, especially the intentional inbreeding of closely related dogs or dogs with known debilitating genetic illnesses.

3. The introduction of genetic screening of all breeding stock and the assured integrity of such a process.

4. Purchasers of dogs should first consider a rescue dog. If it is a pedigree, they must understand the importance of determining and questioning its genetic heritage.

Dogs Trust has had a long history of working with The Kennel Club in order to promote rescue dogs at pedigree shows and we hope to be able to continue this relationship as soon as these vital animal welfare points have been put in place.

15 comments:

Adam Rothwell said...

Wow. This sounds like big news. But what's prompted the decision? To me, it seems worryingly reactive: yesterday the RSPCA removes its support; today, Dogs Trust follows.

It looks a little as if Dogs Trust saw the documentary on this subject on TV, saw what the RSPCA did, and then felt it ought to get with the pack.

This could, of course, be far from the truth. But if it isn't, what's the real reason for this timing?

Adam, Intelligent Giving

Bill Hilton said...

"Purchasers of dogs should firstly consider a rescue dog."

Says who? I appreciate your commitment to your cause, but I dislike being hectored and told what I should and shouldn't do. I own a pedigree dog: the "should" implies I've done something wrong in buying her. Do you think I'm more likely to support you if you publicly imply I have poor moral judgement?

If you were to reword this as "we would recommend..." my back wouldn't have been put up quite as badly.

Second, please don't run around encouraging the government to legislate even more. They're terrible at forming good law, and we would only end up with a mess.

Third, Adam (previous comment) is dead right - it looks like you're just knee-jerking.

I really want to help and support Dogs Trust, and I have tremendous respect for what you do. But you need to get your act together when it comes to PR planning!

willswideweb said...

I don't think it's that unreasonably to ask people to consider getting a rescue dog before looking elsewhere - especially given the amount that are looking for home.

Whether you like being hectored to or not is your own issue, and surely less important compared to the well being of unwanted dogs that just want to be looked after.

Bill Hilton said...

Wills, with all due respect, you've missed my point.

It's *not* unreasonable for the Trust to take that position on rescue dogs. It *may* be unreasonable for me to get the hump. That's irrelevant.

The form of words used in the PR implied a position: that it's wrong to buy a pedigree dog. The release writer is welcome to that opinion, but if he or she wants the money and support of those of us who own and love pedigree dogs, he or she should exercise more care when it comes to choice of expression.

It's all very well saying that, like, yeah man, it's all about the dogs, innit? But the Trust relies on goodwill and funding from members of the public. The pedigree dog-owning constituency is large and has money to spare. Is it a smart move on the part of the Trust to issue PRs that seem to criticise us, even by implication? No.

In other words - to repeat - do you think I'm more or less likely to support the Trust if it publicly implies I have poor moral judgement?

Dogs Trust said...

@Adam Rothwell

The decision to withdraw from Crufts and Discover Dogs was not taken lightly and in part you are correct to suggest it is in reaction to the BBC programme which has placed the issue of pedigree dog breeding firmly on the national agenda. We have always had regular dialogue with the Kennel Club about our recommendations for pedigree breeding as we believe in working with other organisations to influence from within to ensure that the welfare of all rescue dogs – pedigree and non-pedigree – is prioritised. However we have reached a tipping point prompted by the programme where we hope that our decision to withdraw will encourage a faster response from The Kennel Club.

Our Trustee meeting was held this morning which dictated the timing of our decision to withdraw from not just Crufts but the other Kennel Club events that we were planning to attend.

willswideweb said...

@bill hilton

At no point does it say buying pedigree is wrong. I think you're projecting.

Whether you decide to give some of your not inconsiderable funds, being a rich pedigree owner, to the Dogs Trust is up to you.

Bill Hilton said...

@will

[sigh] - look, it annoyed me, OK? Maybe I'm a freak, but experience suggests that there are a lot of us freaks out there, and the rest of them usually get annoyed by the same stuff that annoys me.

BTW, did you know your website nav goes a bit screwy in FF3 under Leopard?

If you want to thank me for the tip off, you can give me a hand cleaning the chihuahua crap out of my Rolls.

willswideweb said...

@bill

Yeah, I know lots of people too. Some will agree with me, others not. That's the funny thing about free choice.

Until they all stop resisting and realise I'm right, obv.

(oh and thanks for the tip, but I thought we were all meant to be using Chrome now, no?)

Bill Hilton said...

@will

I've got it on my Windows laptop, but I'm mainly a Mac man, and they haven't released it for us yet. Will be getting it, though.

I see the DT has tweeted about the number of comments on this post. We'd better say something canine-related so the hordes of visitors aren't disappointed:

Two days ago I had the dog boostered and given the kennel cough squirty-up-the-nose vacc (which she hates) and it cost me FIFTY QUID.

Dogs Trust said...

@Bill Hilton

I was partly tweeting about comments on our other social networking pages, primarily Facebook and DoggySnaps. But all dog-related talk is good!

Thank you for your contribution. If you feel you have questions that haven't been answered, please let me know and I will be happy to find out the answers for you.

Alex (Web Editor)

Bill Hilton said...

Cheers, Alex. I've got tons of questions (what's the meaning of life? Where do babies come from?) but I'd really like to know how to spend less on keeping the dog free of coughs, fleas, mange, diptheria etc.

Could be a good one for a DT blog post: "looking after your dog doesn't have to cost a flaming fortune".

Dogs Trust said...

@Bill Hilton

Not a bad idea! I might well take that idea and run with it.

Owning a pet can be expensive, and even the most comprehensive insurance doesn't cover the basics, hence our benefits-related low-cost neutering campaigns - how can people do the best by their dogs and neuter them responsibly if they can't afford it?

Bill Hilton said...

Cheers, Alex. I've got tons of questions (what's the meaning of life? Where do babies come from?) but I'd really like to know how to spend less on keeping the dog free of coughs, fleas, mange, diptheria etc.

Could be a good one for a DT blog post: "looking after your dog doesn't have to cost a flaming fortune".

Bill Hilton said...

@Alex

Sounds like a plan to me. I've got a headline for you:

"De-Nut Your Mutt!"

Dogs Trust said...

@Bill Hilton

We'll give the header some thought... ;)

In seriousness, though, I hope you do know that we're not anti-pedigree. Many of our staff, from the Chief Exec down have had pedigree dogs and we are not against breeders at all. We also rehome many pedigree dogs, so a rescue dog could also be a pedigree!

As I say, many breeders do a spectacular job. Unhealthy breed standards, on the other hand, have got to go.