Monday, April 28, 2014

Five Ways The UKC is Exactly like the AKC

AKC and UKC:  Distinct registries without much of a difference.

  1. The UKC registers puppy mill dogs and in fact this has been a core part of their business for the last 50 years. 

  2. The UKC registers over 300 breeds of dogs (more than the AKC), including the same deformed, diseased, and dysfunctional breeds as the AKC, such as the English Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pug, and Pekingese.

  3. The UKC requires no health checks or health testing to register or breed a dog.  

  4. The UKC does not ban incest or require a low coefficient of inbreeding. The UKC operates as a closed registry, and with half as many dogs spread over a larger number of breeds, the effective population size in most breeds is very small.

  5. The UKC registers entire litters at birth, which means registration occurs before the most obvious health problems can be assessed.

In a recent HBO segment, we are told Wayne Cavanaugh walked away from being Vice President of the American Kennel Club because that club was "rewarding unhealthy ideals" and that he was "made president of the United Kennel Club" after that.

Sounds great, but simply not true

Wayne Cavanaugh left the AKC in August of 1999 because the long-time owner of the United Kennel Club, Fred T. Miller, was sick and looking to hand it over to someone who would buy it.

Cavagaugh saw this for what it was -- a rare chance to take over a large canine registry and make money.

Fred Miller died in March of 2000, six months after Cavanaugh came on as General Manager of the UKC, and his widow, Connie G. Miller, sold the UKC to Cavaugh in November of 2000 for an undisclosed sum. Prior to Miller buying the UKC in 1973, the United Kennel Club had been closely held by the family of Chauncey Bennett who founded the UKC in 1898.

In the 14 years that Wayne Cavanaugh has owned the United Kennel Club, the registry has not "reformed" itself in any meaningful way.

In fact, every major registration criticism leveled at the American Kennel Club is equally true of the United Kennel Club to this day.

Puppy mill registrations? Check. 

Incest OK?  Check.

No required health checks or tests? Check.

There is, of course, one important difference. 

While the AKC has a large Byzantine bureacray to slow down institutional change, Wayne Cavanaugh could transform the UKC overnight with the stroke of a pen.

The fact that he has not done so makes his touting of himself as a reformer the most naked kind of misrepresentation.

Is his heart in the right place?  Let me say that I am sure that it is.

That said, Diogenes the Cynic advised to ignore the words of men and look to see what they do.  Diogenes, of course, was a TRUE dog man.

And so, if we look at what Wayne Cavanaugh has done it is very little.  There has been a lot of talk, but talk is cheap. 

Mr. Cavanaugh's United Kennel Club continues to stand with arms wide open for the puppy millers and their Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chinese Cresteds, Boston Terriers, Pugs, and English Bulldogs. 

An inbred litter? No problem! 

A dog born Cesarean? Fine! 

Puppies from a "high volume breeder"?  How would we know, and wouldn't it be wrong to discriminate?

Register only adult dogs that have passed a veterinary inspection? No can do.  

So far, the UKC has been given a pass because it is half the size of the American Kennel Club.

Maybe it's time for that pass to be revoked.


Jemima Harrison said...

Points taken and scored on most of this.

But why would you want to withhold registration of puppies until they have proved their health-worth?

Information is what we need: how many were born and when to whom. If you go for the above option, you'd lose too much useful info/traceability. I want to know, for instance, how many pups that sire has sired; if a bitch has had three litters of just singleton pups; the rate of neonate mortality etc. Now neither the AKC or UKC registries are collating this kind of info yet, but others are and if the data is recorded it makes it possible.

And where would you draw the line re health-proving? One year? Two years? Three? Wherever that line is drawn, it's of course perfectly possible that the dog goes down with something genetically horrid straight after.

Have you seen Jeffery Bragg's idea of a global registry that real is just a registry - of every dog regardless of parentage/provenance? Simple-record-keeping of every dog without any of the baggage.

And I think you should detail some of the changes that Cavanaugh *has* introduced. They are a start.

And I've seen you click and treat others...

As for the commercial aspects of the UKC - would very much rather see a well-run for-profit than a badly-run non-profit. The dog-world is steeped in idea that making money out of dogs is a sign of some inherent lack of morals/ethics but that makes no sense.

All that said, I think it is right to demand more - much more - of Cavanaugh.


Heather Houlahan said...

Oh Patrick.

It is so much worse than that.

I tell this to Jemima and she says "fourteen years is a long time ago."

No. It is yesterday. It is less than one healthy dog's lifetime. In my breeding program, it is two generations.

As near as we can tell, first thing Winners' Circle Wayne did upon buying the registry -- not a club, a commercial enterprise -- was abrogate a decade's-old handshake agreement with the English Shepherd Club. You know, the schlubs who actually own the dogs?

The agreement, which Mr. Miller had honored because he had that capacity, was that English shepherds shall not be shown in pageant shows. No circle-jerk competitions for our working farm dogs.

Bam! Here are prizes for the prettiest English shepherd, which is the bestest one. Here are the men and ladies who decide the bestest one, who have never seen one work, never bred a litter, never trained one, oh yeah, never actually laid eyes on a member of the breed. Here is a "standard," written by person or persons unknown that explains how to find the prettiest one, and also, if the nose of the dog is the wrong color, how his registration will be revoked if we see him in one our prettiness contests. This standard begins with (I shit you not, look it up) the words "according to legend."

Would Sir Wayne grant audience to the petitioners who bringest a vote of the lowly turnip-farmers, 98% of whom cast their chits in opposition to pageants to improve their scruffy mongrels?

Oh, Sir Wayne would not.

Would Sir Wayne deign to refrain from declaring a dog with dysplastic hips a "champion?"

Oh, Sir Wayne would not.

Sir Wayne has lately affected amnesia about these events of the storied past, and many others.

The peons with dirt under their nails have, I assure you, kept all the emails. Thousands of them.

We've also kept the dogs.

Check the UKC "Top Ten" pageant rankings for the past ten years, and tell me how many English shepherds have been strung up and trotted, and how many people own them, and what their relationships are.

Notice that the neutered, crated "national breed association" that the UKC engineered to impersonate the departed, and always independent, English Shepherd Club maintains membership in the single digits, and "provisional" status.

What if a dog fancier set out to destroy a working breed and nobody came?

PBurns said...

Jemima, I "clicked and treated" Cavanaugh on this blog before when, quite frankly, all he was doing was showing up several decades late and talking about problems some of us has been talking about for DECADES.

Now he is still only talking, but he is also misrepresenting himself as a pioneer in canine health to boot. You lose points when you start telling fibs.

As for registering dogs at one year of age, why not figure out for yourself what that **might** have to do with health? For example, would it stop the making of "champion" dogs before they are under one year of age? Would it mean, perhaps, that dogs might not be bred on their first heat? Would it mean that dogs that failed a health inspection at one year of age would be dogs that were not bred because they were unregisterable? Look at all the dogs you feature on your blog -- the Neos with wrecked eyes, the GSDs walking on their hocks, the Bassets dragging their skins. You think those problems would be green lighted by every vet at one year of age -- a vet would sign on that dog's health? Some might, but a vet inspection would change the veterinary culture over night, and it would do more to educate breeders than any other thing anyone could imagine.

What changes has Cavanugh introduced that the AKC has not? I am not aware of anything meaningful.

What I am aware of is that the UKC is still using the same 250,000 registered dogs number that was being used 14 years ago, before Cavanaugh took over. I suspect the numbers at the UKC have declined. Not only are fewer people running coon hounds and beagles and shooting birds (look up the numbers), but they are also attending fewer dog shows, and buying fewer dogs at pet stores (a once-big outlet for puppy mill dogs). It did not help when the AKC brought in coon dogs a few years back. To tell the truth, there is not a single wind that has blown right for the UKC in the last 14 years in terms of growth, and yet we are told by Mr. Cavanaugh that the UKC registration number have stayed the same? I kind of doubt that. But hey, let's see the audited numbers. :)