Sunday, March 6, 2011

Crocodile Tears

published in Dog News Feb 11, 2011
(reprinted by permission of the author)


In your latest editorial regarding the 'unfit 15' or, if you prefer, the 'high profile breeds' targeted for attack by the Kennel Club, you ask if the move is really due to the concern of the KC or 'pressure of the animals rightists'.

Straight from the 'blog' by animal rights supporter Jemima Harrison, producer of Pedigreed Dogs Exposed:
"The 15 breeds are: Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue de Bordeaux, French Bulldog, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Pug, Shar-Pei, the St Bernard and - da-daa - the Chinese Crested. I'll be demanding all the credit/blame for the inclusion of this last one as it was me who drew the KC's attention to the fact that breeders are resorting to ridiculous means to ensure their dogs are entirely free of hair in all the right places.

That quote should answer your question.

Harrison claims her blog is about:
"the latest news and views regarding inherited disorders and conformation issues in purebred dogs."

"The structure or outline of an item or entity, determined by the arrangement of its parts."
and I am sure we can agree that hair placement is not an "in'hair'ed ( sorry could not resist) disorder.

How does clipping or shaving a dog have anything to do with either of these issues? And yet the KC added the Crested to the 'unfit' list after the blog was published if the dog had a "skin rash" that might be caused by hair removal. A skin rash is something that a judge might be able to see or evaluate but is it a 'conformation or inherited disorder' issue? So you tell me , who is running the (dog) show?

Poodle breeders beware.. also anyone else who dares to trim, shave, or groom your dog for the show ring. Stripping? Well, sort of like shaving. Clipping? Also pretty close. Dare to bathe your dog? Better not. Might make his/her coat 'different'. Why single out just the Chinese Crested? What about the other hairless breeds? Why just the St. Bernard and not the Newfoundland? and so on and so on..

As for the 'vet checks' .. how silly is that? 'On the day' has very little to do with breeding healthy dogs. If a judge cannot see a limping dog and excuse it then they should not be judging but to expect a judge to ascertain that a dog can pass some sort of 'marathon' of 'moderate' exercise regardless of weather or age of the exhibit.. or to disqualify a dog who may have a slightly broken out coat due to external forces seems pretty extreme, if not downright arbitrary.

Which dog would you prefer,the one who has hives due to a bee sting or one who has kidney failure? Something that no judge.. or even veterinarian on the day can ascertain.

As a judge myself. I often say, the proof is in the breeding and type, temperament and soundness is on the day. Many good dogs have a bad day but not many bad dogs have constantly winning days. Judges are now to be 'second guessed' after years of experience in the ring and, for many, in the whelping box. Why bother? is what I will suppose many will say and rightfully so. I also think that many good dogs will stay at home rather than be put under some sort of false microscope of 'health checks' that are at best capricious and subjective. Or perhaps many breeds will start their own registries, keep their own stud books and hold their own shows with judges that pass muster for their chosen breeds. In other words, specialties with specialty judges only awarding only dogs that the breed clubs find worthy of the title of 'breed' champion. Or maybe they will just win the breed at a 'regular' show, go home after that and say 'stuff it'.

Animal righters want nothing to do with the show ring, except to criticize breeders and those who dare to show their dogs, so any barrier to our hobby works for them. What is insidious is their own slouching towards Bethlehem' approach. Regardless of what the headers or titles on their blogs say. Don't be fooled. This has nothing to do with dogs or their health and everything to do with control. So far it seems to be working in some venues.

Appeasement of these people ( the animal rightists) will not work. NOTHING will ever be 'good enough' and the more we 'come to the middle' the more the middle shifts in their direction.

It seems a shame that these words by one of the most revered of British statesmen have been so soon forgotten:
There is no greater mistake than to suppose that platitudes, smooth words, and timid policies offer a path to safety."
"An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last."
Winston Churchill

So far the crocodile has been well fed with policies that are being sacrificed in the name of 'public opinion'. How much more feeding will he want? More than we should be willing to give.

Let's starve this crocodile. I, for one, won't shed any tears at his demise.

Jan Dykema
Bestuvall Bull Terriers
"Best Breed On A Lead"

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