Friday, March 16, 2012

Crufts - No good deed goes unpunished

One of the veterinarians who performed the health checks on the Crufts fifteen "high profile breeds" must be feeling the heat. Dr. Skipper (yes, that's really her name) released a lengthy statement, explaining her motives for involvement with this new program. She gladly volunteered, it seems, because she "supported the initiative and get involved."

"I'm not stupid" Dr. Skipper continues, " I knew it would be extremely controversial, and that I would probably have to make decisions that would be very unpopular."

Yes, this vet knew exactly what was being asked of her and she gladly volunteered for the seek and destroy mission. After all, she is altruistic and noble. She wants to "improve the health and welfare of pedigree dogs." Eager to rescue the breeds from their breeders, she disingenuously claims to have "great sympathy for the owners of the dogs that were failed....It must have been disappointing, embarrassing and humiliating, and it gave me no pleasure at all to do it."

Yeah, right. Just like those teachers back in grade school didn't enjoy humiliating their errant students by banishing them to the corner with dunce caps. There was no sanctimonious pleasure involved there, either. 

Dr. Skipper didn't give a flying fig about humiliating the people involved. She knew the stakes involved....she volunteered for the job...she believed that the end of improving canine welfare justified the means of humiliation and degradation of the owners. Those owners had extensive testing done on their relatively moderate dogs who were stellar examples of their breeds. Why, those owners should be happy to spend untold thousands on their breeding program and competions, just so they could have the pleasure of reading all the complimentary notes Dr. Skipper wrote on their forms! Yet instead, they were upset due to being ultimately excused. Who'd have ever imagined such a thing? What poor sports. Why couldn't they just "take it on the chin" as was suggested earlier this week by AR blogger Jemima Harrison?

And the good Dr. further claimed she operated at "great personal risk; if I were found guilty of false certification I could be struck off the veterinary register and lose my livelihood".

HOGWASH! Just like the judges or a referee in a ball game, what the veterinarian sees at the time cannot be disputed after the fact. If she says the dog had a limp, or the conjuctiva was red at the time of exam, who can dispute that? Betcha she didn't administer any antibiotic eye drops or ointment, either to those she diagnosed with conjuctivitis. Taking a specimen for culture is necessary to properly diagnose an infection, but of course that wouldn't be necessary for the purposes of making a political statement about dog shows. Which the good Dr. then goes on to diss, stating "The world would still spin on it's axis if there were no dog shows." So I guess it's fine in her book to contribute to the demise of these insignificant shows because TO HER they are unimportant. Whether or not dog shows are important in the grand scheme of things is really inconsequential. People who wish to participate have the right to do so without harrassment by AR freaks.  

Dr. Skipper honestly believes that her input is needed to save "a Pug that struggles to walk along a path" or a dog with "chronic low-level discomfort" Nothing animal-rightist in those statements, is there? Such drama, as if the Pugs at Crufts were struggling to walk. Puh-leeze! And further, she casually drops the statement that that "There aren't enough good homes out there for the dogs there are already." Another jaw-dropping, blatantly ignorant mantra oft-repeated as part of the animal rights propaganda campaign against dog breeders. 

"One thing I am angry about is that the media coverage is focused so exclusively on the dogs who unfortunately failed." Dr. Skipper whines. Seriously? The world has noticed this travesty of justice, not surprisingly. So this supposedly unbiased, "independent" examiner, with no ulterior motives whatsoever beyond the purported promotion of good health, now is actually angered that her actions may have come under question in the wake of the dumping of several breeds at the biggest show of the year.

Anger is the trademark response of one who is biased and operating in crusade mode. Not the response of one who is "independent" and impartial.

I bet she wishes she could have gotten her hands on the BIS winner to DQ her as well. Wouldn't THAT have done volumes to improve the lot of those poor, suffering show dogs?

"The least we can do in return is to choose healthy body shapes for them to live their lives within" she concludes. It's becoming clearer and clearer that any sign of chondrodystrophy, brachycephalism, gigantism, diminutive size or other deviations from the feral canid will eventually come under fire. As the KC should hav learned by now, give an inch and soon that inch is stretched out for a mile.

And getting back to Jemima Harrison, the self-annointed "exposer" of purebred dogs, she waxes almost apologetic today. In light of the threats by some exhibitors to desert the kennel Club and their shows, to to give up as they are singled out for punishment, Ms. Harrison now proclaims her solution to everything.... that the dog show needs to be "reinvented". That dogs should receive "points" for such things as health testing and longevity in the family. Hey, not a bad idea, eh?

However, Ms. Exposer remains staunchly in defense of perfunctory vet exams...for winners only....that would completely invalidate such points. She also believes "...that by a certain date, certain health critera need to have been tackled and rectified....This should ensure progress without knocking the stuffing out of breeders who are doing the best."

There's an old saying that fits here. NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED. The more breeders attempt to health test and breed for moderation, the harder that AR hammer will fall on their heads.

Besides, we ALREADY have a system to encourage healthy breeding in place. It's called health registries and pedigree databases. Believe it or not, health registries and health tesing existed long before any nannying busybodies came on the scene. Demand from informed buyers is the market force that is pushing more breeders every day into participation in health testing. Again, the idea that health can accurately be evaluated in the show ring is ludicrous, to say the least.

A health DQ doesn't serve to "educate" or "improve" anything if the reason is not made public. Yet such a revelation would be highly unethical and unfair to the owner. As if the entire world did not know that their dog was DQd for a shameful "health" breach. The winners did not lose their Challenge Certificates, but were humiliated nonetheless. What was the whole reason for this charade again?

A bit too late now to worry about who is getting the stuffing knocked out of them, isn't it? This after her cavalier remark earlier in the week that even if a winner was DQ'd unfairly, the breeder should just meekly "take it on the chin". Why get soft now? It can only be due to the immense worldwide backlash against the harebrained actions of the Kennel Club, at the urging of AR extremists.

The Basset Hound club in the UK also released a statement, this one critical of the KC's actions at Crufts. Good that they caught on to the fact that the Kennel Club seems to want breeds to "conform to the generic shape of the standard canine." This is a real concern for all breeds. And, I'm glad they explained that the amount of "haw" that a Bassett possesses is not at the top of the list of health priorities. However, their main concern seems to be the KC allowing enough time for them to comply with the revised 2009 standard.

I'm still waiting for a club in the UK to really rebel! But since the KC sets the standards and literally runs the show, the individual clubs don't have a lot of say in the matter.

If the clubs would go independent of the KC, they could have their own specialty shows, produce their own standards, operate their own registries, and, in short, determine their own destiny.

Surely this is better than cowtowing to animal-rightist misanthropists.

It is, after all, a matter of preservation of human rights that is at stake here.


  1. WOWSA this is fabulous.. you have knocked it out of the ball park on this one.. I am IMPRESSED.. and that is saying something.. wow wow wow

  2. I think Dr Skipper was a nun teacher in her past life.. LOL

  3. Wow, what a disappointing read! I thought the vet's statement was great and I respect her immensely for putting herself in the crosshairs of all the dog show crazies. Honestly, do you realize you sound like a whining baby who just had a toy taken from him? If you don't like vets checking to ensure your dog is healthy, don't go to Crufts. If you want to play the game, you play by their rules. "Animal rights" has NOTHING to do with it.

    If the vet checks really bother you, why not start a new kennel club--one where those nosy vets aren't allowed, where you can breed all the flat faced, ridiculously furry, waddling, roach backed, short-lived, cancer-riddled dogs you like! All in the name of fashion and "winning"! You can deny all the science on genetic diversity and inbreeding in your new club. Have fun with it! See how high you can take those COIs in the name of "setting type"! It'll be just like the old days, before all the public scrutiny and "science" threatened the way you've always done things!

    1. Some great suggestions here, anonymous@10:46. And oh, my, seem to have struck a nerve eh! Animal rights has EVERYTHING to do with this latest Crufts charade. AR brainwashing has resulted in some sort of a quest for the holy grail unattainable idealistic perfection. (Check out our post of a couple of days ago: "Animal Welfare - AR Lite?")
      Yes, hopefully many people will stop participating in Crufts and KC shows in general. I'd love for a few new kennel clubs to spring up. Let's break up the monopoly!
      Vets without agendas are actually helpful in many European shows where they examine all entrants for signs of obvious disease. This is as it should be, not some wierd system where vets over-rule judges' decisions after placements have been determined.
      And, you know nothing about what I like, what "games" you might guess that I play or don't play, or whether or not "winning" is important to me (hint - it's not. Haven't even been to a dog show for a year and a half, and am really fine with that!) I do, however, spend an inordinate amount of time protecting the rights of individuals to decide for themselves their animal husbandry methods. If I, or anyone else, did want to inbreed, or (God forbid) go the other direction and CROSSBREED, then it's really none of your business either way.
      I must have missed the part where COIs were checked by the vets at Crufts. My bad.

    2. So you are protecting "the rights of individuals". So for you it is not at all about the dogs or whether this serves their welfare or not but your rights?

    3. the problem is no cursory vet check can deem a dog "healthy" it is a farce to satisfy the public who know nothing about the health of dogs. and an AR ploy..chuck it out

    4. Starbreeze, letting breeders decide for themselves how they want to breed is what got us into this mess. They don't even recognize that there's a problem--how long would it take for them to find a solution? While I am certainly not in favor of laws dictating what we can do with our dogs, that's not what's happening here. People who don't like the vet checks at Crufts need not one's right to breed how they see fit is being infringed upon that I can see. If breeders want to continue breeding dogs with painful eye disorders, for example, they are perfectly free to do so--they just can't show at Crufts or they run the risk of being disqualified. Seems very fair to me, as long as they know ahead of time, which they did...

      I do think that to be fair, the KC should check ALL breeds, not just the 15 that were checked this year.

      And to anonymous--it may not be a perfect system, but it is a start. The public might not know about dog health, but the vets who did the checks DO. Or do you think you know more than a veterinarian does about dog health?

  4. Wow indeed.

    Perhaps the breed clubs WILL step up to the plate. Seen this?

    Hard to see how an old injury could have any possible effect on the animals' progeny, or have come down on an 'unhealty' gene.

    Or are we regressing to Lamarckian genetics now?

  5. Leave the KC and the breed clubs will soon find themselves not being encouraged to change but legislation proposed.

    I for one would encourage this.

  6. Excellent critique of the vet's article.

  7. The nanny state is alive and well in the UK.. they have more sheeple than they do sheep. I am sure you would "encourage" that.. you are probably an AR who feels nothing but total CONTROL will do when it comes to breeding anything ( including humans)or one of those who thinks their breed is superior to all others either way.. you are wrong

    1. In your mind, anyone who thinks some purebred dogs could be bred to have healthier conformation than they currently do must be an AR nut? Must be nice to see things as so black and white...

  8. Most breeds I believe are fine the way they are but a couple bother me,mainly the Neapolitan Mastiff,Sharp-ei,English Bulldog,Dogue de Bordeaux and German Shepherds.
    I love purebreds,but I want a healthy,agile and strong dog,not just one that looks pretty or unusual. So I support some breeds going back to their original breed standard,or at-least a more moderate breed standard.