Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Will Patrick Bateson Lead the Way Forward?

The latest issue of Dogs Today arrived in the mailbox, and the two lead articles are on: 1) Whether the Dalmatian outcross will be allowed in The Kennel Club (article by Claire Horton-Bussey) and; 2) What has occurred in the last year since the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed blew the doors off the dog world last August (article by producer Jemima Harrison).

I also slip in a small piece on dog food, noting that the quality of the dog food matters far less than the quantity, as more dogs are wrecked by obesity than any single cause, while no study has ever shown than one dog food is better than another.

Jemima Harrison's article about the Kennel Club is excellent (I have not yet gotten to the Dalmatian article - that is for tomorrow's read). I especially liked it where she compares problems at The Kennel Club to the problems faced by the old London Zoo "which not so long ago was down on its knees, a relic of the Victorian age, run by people in the entertainment business, not conservation."

She goes on to note that the London Zoo is now a completely changed place. And what changed? The leadership at the top! Ms. Harrison goes on to note that:
"Coincidentally, it is the president of the [London Zoo], Sir Patrick Bateson, who is heading the most critical review into dog breeding prompted by Pedigree Dogs Exposed. This is the review commissioned by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, and so they are likely to take heed and act on its findings."

On a personal note, I have to give a huge hat tip to Dogs Today illustrator Kevin Brockbank. His art work is absolutely smashing. Jemima Harrison's piece has Kennel Club Chairman Ronnie Irving crying at his desk as he reads the Crufts press headlines following the BBC documentary. A border terrier (Irving's own breed) is chewing on his cuff, and there is even a Kennel Club logo on his coffee cup! Perfect! My own article is illustrated with a very nice homage to the breeding (and painting) of enormously fat "square" cattle during the era of Robert Bakewell, albeit with a dog as the subject of the portraint, instead of a cow. Nice!

Now let's see what Kevin can do with next month's article, tentatively entitled Counterfeit Collies and Transvestite Terriers. There's a lot of potential there!

To read that article (and see the art that will come with it), however, you are going to have to subscribe to Dogs Today.

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