Wednesday, June 23, 2010
You Will Know It By ... Her Master's Voice
In a world of 6.7 billion people, it seems only a trusted and much-loved member of the Kennel Club could chair the new Advisory Council on Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding in the U.K.
The new chair, Sheila Crispin, is a veterinary opthamologist who has spent decades in dogs and yet has never been vocal in criticizing the Kennel Club about it practices, and never mind the obvious pain and misery caused by those practices.
Is this opthamologist blind? We shall see.
Here's what I suspect will happen: a lot of movement and not much action.
Look for Crispin to tackle everything but the real issues of contrived standards leading to deformed dogs in misery, and inbreeding practices leading to jaw-dropping rates of disease.
Open the registries? Require working dogs to work in order to win rosettes? Those are words that will never pass her lips.
Instead, look for her to launch off on a campaign against puppy mills, and perhaps to initiate a drive to mandate microchipping.
Those are worthy problems deserving attention, but they are not why this Advisory Council was created.
They will be within her comfort zone, however.
Her comfort zone, after all, has always been close to the Kennel Club's hierarchy which has given her an honorary membership and tapped her as a member of its own "Breed Health and Welfare Strategy Group" which, you will remember, is the cause of the current mess.
Will I be wrong?
Nothing would make me happier if I am! But when it comes to dogs, I have learned to keep my expectations low, and this is a good example.
Patrick Bateson promised that this new Advisory Council on Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding would be appointed on the Nolan Principles. I am not sure how appointing a Kennel Club member and insider to "reform" the world of dog breeding fits those principles. In fact, let me say quite clearly that I think it does not.
Job One for Crispin, if she is serious (and I hope she is!), is to repudiate the nonsense put out by the Kennel Club which says that "the vast majority of breeds and dogs are healthy." This is demonstrably not true as even the most cursory examination of the Kennel Club's own health surveys make clear.
Truth and reform cannot start with lies and distraction. Let us see which way Crispin heads...