Monday, September 21, 2015

Cancer at the Kennel Club

Out of 152 Kennel Club breeds, 84 (55%) have an effective population size of less than 100 dogs, and 36 (24%) have an effective population size of less than 50 dogs.

It seems The Kennel Club has commissioned a paper and paid for its publication.

The unsurprising conclusion of the paper, released today and authored by paid and salaried apologists for the Kennel Club, is that there used to be a problem with inbreeding but that this has "latterly fallen to sustainable levels."

It has?  

It is to laugh. 

And, of course, it's pure nonsense.

What the authors are **trying** to say is that coefficients of inbreeding in some breeds have STOPPED RISING to even higher and more alarming levels.

Though levels of inbreeding remain incredibly high, they no longer share the "ideology of a cancer cell" in that they continue to grow to the point they kill the host.

But is the host actually healthy?  

No, not at all.

Labrador Retrievers are in better shape than other breeds. 
Let me be blunt here: the authors of this paper have actively lied in their conclusion.

There is nothing in this paper to suggest that current rates of inbreeding in pedigree dogs is "sustainable". In fact, pedigree dogs are sicker than pound dogs, and pedigree dogs are not getting healthier.

To be clear, I do not think for a minute that the authors of this study have accidentally stumbled with some poor phrasing. I believe these authors have chosen to actively lie, which is to say they are laser-focused on the truth, and actively working to steer busy readers away from it.

No doubt the Kennel Club will trumpet this paper as being "peer reviewed," but that too is bunk. In the modern era, "peer review" means nothing.

The data behind this study is not being made available to the public, so what was there for the "peers" to review?

Not a thing. Peer review, in this instance, was little more than looking for typos.

Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal, and chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group for 13 years, says "peer review" does not mean much even when human health is in the swing:

Robbie Fox, the great 20th century editor of the Lancet, who was no admirer of peer review, wondered whether anybody would notice if he were to swap the piles marked `publish' and `reject'. He also joked that the Lancet had a system of throwing a pile of papers down the stairs and publishing those that reached the bottom. When I was editor of the BMJ I was challenged by two of the cleverest researchers in Britain to publish an issue of the journal comprised only of papers that had failed peer review and see if anybody noticed. I wrote back `How do you know I haven't already done it?'


The editors at Canine Genetics and Epidemiology ("Published with the support and backing of the Kennel Club") must be in on this little joke, because it really IS a joke to have paid apologists on the payroll of the Kennel Club suggesting that currently levels of inbreeding are "sustainable" in the world of dogs!

That said, buried in this paper is one grizzly little statistic:  Out of 152 Kennel Club breeds, 84 (55%) have an effective population size of less than 100 dogs, and 36 (24%) have an effective population size of less than 50 dogs.

Anyone who thinks that's a program for success is either an idiot or a liar, and I do not think the authors of this paper are idiots.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

The KC's tracing of COI is absurd. If you try to follow the pedigree of a dog who has an import in the pedigree, you'll find that system assumes that the import is totally unrelated. So you can get a low COI by using an imported stud. Crapola! Better to move to genetic measures of inbreeding. I'm no expert, but from what I hear, homozygosity, particularly in certain regions of DNA (eg., DLA) might be a better measure for preventing health problems.