The bottom line is that it is a complete repudiation of 130 years of Kennel Club practices and it is a complete endorsement of what Pedigree Dogs Exposed found -- and what so many of us in the world of dogs have been saying for generations.
Recommendations cover three areas:
- Inbreeding and inherited disease and the selection for extreme morphologies.
- Poor or negligent management and care of breeding dogs
- Inadequacies in the way dogs are bought and sold
Recommedendations addressing inbreeding, inherited disease and selection for extreme morphologies include:
- A non-statutory Advisory Council on Dog Breeding should be established. The key role of the Council should be to develop evidence-based breeding strategies that address the issues of poor conformation, inherited disease and inbreeding as appropriate to the specific breed and to provide advice on the priorities for research and development in these areas. The Bateson Report recommends that the Advisory Council members and Chairman should be appointed by open competition according to Nolan Principles. Defra should manage the selection process, drawing appropriately upon the advice of the devolved authorities and experts. Members should be selected on the basis of their personal expertise and not with regard to any personal affiliation or membership.
- High priority should be given to the creation of a computer-based system for the collection of anonymised diagnoses from veterinary surgeries in order to provide statistically significant prevalence data for each breed. This should build upon the work already started by the Royal Veterinary College. It is important that this scheme is fully supported by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. In a pilot scheme, priority should be given to collecting data with respect to the conditions creating the greatest welfare challenges in terms of pain, impact on quality of life, capacity for correction, and early age of onset. The data collected should relate both to the incidence of inherited disease and to the incidence of veterinary procedures necessary to correct faults due to selection for extreme morphologies (e.g. Caesarean sections, corrections for entropion, soft palate resections, etc).
- Revisions of Breed Standards should recognise the need to avoid the selection for extreme morphologies that can damage the health and welfare of the dog. When possible, revisions should involve guidance from the Advisory Council on Dog Breeding. Where a welfare problem already exists within a breed, the breed standard should be amended specifically to encourage the selection for morphologies that will improve the welfare status of the breed. In these instances the breed standard may need to be more precise, either by aid of diagrams or quantitative ratios, in order to encourage the necessary changes.
- The Kennel Club should upgrades its Accredited Breeder Scheme promptly. If it is unable to do so and no other body steps forward to supply an appropriately robust and UKAS accredited scheme, a new scheme should be implemented under the auspices of the Advisory Council on Dog Breeding. The organisers of any accredited breeder scheme should apply for and obtain UKAS accreditation. The minimum conditions for such a scheme should be that:
a. All pre-mating tests for inherited disease appropriate to the breed or breeds are undertaken on both parents.
b. No mating takes place if the tests indicate that it would be inadvisable in the sense that it is likely to produce welfare problems in the offspring and/or is inadvisable in the context of a relevant breeding strategy (see also 8.2).
c. Any prospective purchaser is able to view the puppies with their mother.
d. Every puppy is identified by microchip prior to sale.
e. All pre-sale tests on the puppy which are appropriate to the breed have been carried out.
f. The scheme establishes and requires clear, written standards of management with regard to the housing, health, exercising and socialising of all dogs on the premises managed by the registered breeder, including establishing minimum staffing levels appropriate to the numbers of dogs involved.
g. All relevant documentation connected with the puppy including, inter alia, advice on feeding and care, registration documents, details of vaccinations etc are handed over to the purchaser at the time of sale. When an appropriate contract is available this should be signed by both parties.
h. All assured breeders are inspected by duly appointed and trained scheme inspectors against the written standard, either before or shortly after registration with the assurance scheme; and regularly thereafter.
i. Non-compliance with the standards of the scheme results in de-registration.
j. If accolades are to be awarded to any breeder under an accredited scheme, they should clearly and solely relate to the provision of higher welfare standards.
- The veterinary profession needs to do more and needs to change their emphasis. The RCVS and the BVA should lead a shift in emphasis towards preventative veterinary medicine rather than simply focus on the correction of problems after they have occurred.
It needs to be emphasized that the Kennel Club itself commissioned this independent report which found the world of pedigree dogs to be a basket case of archane, Victorian-era breeding principles leading to the physical ill-health of dogs.
In short, this report is a bit like the Vatican Times saying the Pope wears a skirt and buggers boys "and one of those things might be a problem."