Okay, we got it wrong!

Maureen Taylor, Canine Alliance member, in her Dog World Breed Notes for Clumber Spaniels on the 10th January 2014 writes:

I WOULD IMAGINE THAT most of us are looking to reduce our waist lines that have expanded over the holiday period and will be hoping to keep to our New Year resolutions. It is also a time to look back and reflect on what things we have said or done that we could have done differently and learn from those mistakes.

I would imagine that the letter from “Our” Kennel Club regarding new charges and criteria for those on the Assured Breeders Scheme came as a bit of a shock. Yes, the KC had revised things, but instead of moving the scheme forward to encourage more members by improving things, they seem to have done the very opposite. If social networking sites are to be believed, the result of this latest KC faux par is that reputable breeders are leaving the scheme in droves.

Maureen Taylor
Maureen Taylor

I will not go through all the new criteria as that will no doubt be covered elsewhere, but can confirm that according to the KC site we have only one breeder of Clumbers that has been checked and therefore qualifies for the new UKAS certificate. I just wonder how all those on the scheme are going to be checked in a matter of a few weeks as suggested, which in itself begs the question who is doing the checking? Are those that visit the properties and given access to breeders dogs, homes and paperwork, trained and if so by whom and to what standard. Most ‘Accreditation’ authorities have very strict criteria in terms of the experience and, importantly, qualification of Assessors, including DBS checks where appropriate! We have heard on the sites of questions being asked such as “what time do you go to bed and get up each morning”, photographs being taken of the contents of freezers and many other invasive photos and questions too numerous to mention.  Do these people really have a right to go into a private property and take photographs of a bedroom?  I think not and I am surprised at how tolerant we dog folk can be at times.  My dogs are very much part of the family and they are health tested.  But if the rumours are to be believed, we would not qualify for inclusion on the list as we do not separate bitches in whelp (or with pups) completely from the other dogs – our girls still use the same exercise area and like to come and lounge on the settee for an hour or so to get away from the pups once they get to that annoying stage of pestering all the time.  I consider this to be a part of good socialisation, especially given that temperament must be above all other things.  I would positively not (and unbelievably this was suggested to more than one ABS breeder with whom I am in contact) move my oldies on to leave room for more, younger breeding stock. Is the ABS just for those breeding a large number of litters each year and is there no room for us who breed only when we want a new youngster to show?

At the time of the Kennel Club’s conception in 1873, men in urban areas of the UK had just got to vote for whichever party they wanted to rule our country – an electorate of just 2.5 million at that time. It took us 55 years to go from this to having all men and women able to vote (21 million instead of 8 million). Now, 55 years may seem a long time (and even a week is a long time in politics as has been famously said by one Prime Minister), but what difference did 55 years in the KC make with regard to who runs our sport/hobby?  None whatsoever. It took 113 years for women to be allowed into this Gentleman’s Club.  Those of us at grass roots still have no say in how our sport is run. At least we can vote out our government every 5 years if we think they are not doing a good enough job. We are stuck with those running the KC as we sit and watch as they ruin what could and should have been a perfectly good scheme to promote healthy pups being bred.

How long will we have to wait before it sinks in at the KC that we want change and if we do not get it our sport will die? Another 100 years? If so, our sport will be long dead by then. So here is my New Year’s plea to “Our” Kennel Club – open your eyes and your minds to those of us who know what is needed, give open membership so that those of us who want to change our KC can get the option to vote to do so. Have the courage to admit you have got things wrong with the High Profile lists, Vet Checks and Assured Breeders Scheme and DO something to put it right. We would think far more of “Our” Kennel Club if those at the top had the bottle to say “Okay! “We got it wrong. Let’s take a step back, think things through properly and intelligently.  Let’s start again from scratch and get it right”.

Here endeth the rant!