Joy Bradley’s presentation to the Members Meeting and thoughts afterwards
The Assured Breeders Scheme: this has to be one of the best ideas to come out of Clarges Street and when the information was first released, it appeared to be a brilliant concept, giving credence to the breeders who deserved it.
Sadly in reality it has become a platform for anyone to use as a tool to sell puppies. No achievement whatsoever is required, no experience and no knowledge! Surely the ABS symbol should be a kite mark of excellence and should be “achieved” rather than “applied for”.
Whatever the good intentions were at concept, the principles of the scheme have fallen by the wayside; anyone can apply and most are rewarded with the symbol to use on their web sites, irrespective of experience or ethics. This scheme really does have the potential to be what the title suggests – a benchmark of excellence, which shows true commitment, endeavour and achievement, but sadly not in its present form. A way forward……to be achieved but achievable.
The accolades which are offered to ABS holders should be the starting point for any application and not the conclusion. Applicants should have been involved with their breed for a minimum of 5 years, been a member of a breed club for at least 3 consecutive years, have held a KC affix for a minimum of 3 years and should complete health testing on all breeding stock, including breed specific health tests if the breed has them in place.
Encourage breeders to strive for this accolade…..to have achieved and maintained an exemplary standard rather than just having the ability to fill in an application form. How can any organisation give assurance for a product from a person on whom it has no information? If the KC knew the breeder involved, then it certainly could give an assurance to the puppy buying public. To help achieve this, the KC should ask for the help of people who know their breeders, converse with Breed Clubs and utilise their knowledge – before the application is approved.
An interesting idea came from the floor. Allow general membership of the ABS, without actually being awarded the Accolade. Give new breeders the chance to understand what is expected of them to become an Assured Breeder and, likewise, give the KC the chance to get to know that person and educate them on best breeding practices.
If the KC were to reinvent the ABS, it would be a win-win situation. Holders of the title of Assured Breeder could be proud to hold it, knowing they had achieved it and the Kennel Club could be proud of them but more importantly, could be seen to be leading the way in the health testing of all breeding stock.
What are your thoughts on the KC ABS? Please feel free to let us know either in the comments on this page, or email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org.