The Biggest Show of Hypocrisy & Betrayal
‘The biggest dog show on earth’ is how the Kennel Club describe Crufts. The biggest show of hypocrisy is what I call it. Now, while I know there are some fun things that go on there, and educational work from numerous good charities, and dogs do great things like agility etc, and I have friends who love going, it has never appealed to me. In fact, the reasons I dislike Crufts increase every year, and I’m bombarded today by reasons to loathe it – this for one, yes, this high volume breeder who some might describe as a puppy farmer, will even deliver puppies, yesterday won the Toy Group. The hypocrisy of the KC mounts the whole time as they talk about buying from their breeders in order to avoid supporting puppy farmers. Yeah, right. And then there’s yesterday’s best of breed Cavalier title winner; honestly I despair of the Kennel Club ever living up to their claim to be “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs.”
Today, it emerged that the Crufts best of breed title winner fathered a litter of puppies at nine months old. This flies in the face of breeding protocols for Cavaliers, a breed beset by inherited health issues as I wrote about here a few days ago. Long-time campaigner Margaret Carter, whose online petition asking the Kennel Club to make testing for MVD and SM mandatory has amassed over 25,000 signatures today said:
Because there is no simple DNA test for Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Syringomyelia (SM), the two most serious inherited conditions suffered by Cavaliers, it is absolutely crucial that dogs are not bred before 2.5 years and that they continue to be tested throughout their life.
You’re My Sunshine Vom Kaninchengarten, a Blenheim Cavalier, is less than two years old and has heart and eye tests recorded after he fathered a litter. Margaret Carter continues:
“For years the majority of Cavalier breeders have ignored MVD and SM breeding protocols even though these were established nearly two decades ago. This Crufts win not only exemplifies why the Kennel Club needs to get tough but it also makes a mockery of its claim that Crufts is ‘Celebrating healthy, happy dogs’”
Donna Farrand’s Cavalier, Freddie, underwent decompression surgery last year to help improve his SM symptoms. Freddie’s father sired a litter at just over a year old and continues to be used for breeding. She told me:
I was furious to see the owner of Freddie’s father judging one of the Cavalier rings yesterday. What kind of message does this send out and what kind of example does this set to other breeders?
On some online forums, breeding at a young age has been defended, but Lena Gillstedt, a Cavalier breeder and biologist from Sweden where testing for Cavaliers is compulsory, says this is nonsense:
If males needed to be proven at nine months to know what to do, the breed would be extinct in Sweden because here no Cavalier can be bred until it is at least 24 months. But here the breed is actually thriving.
Canine health campaigner Carol Fowler, a member of the Dog Breeding Reform Group, says:
A Cavalier Breed Clubs’ heart scheme was agreed almost 20 years ago. If only all breeders had followed its recommendations, including that no dog under 2.5 years should be bred, we would have seen a marked improvement in early onset MVD by now. However, success in the show ring, glory for the owner and the resulting stud fees are seemingly more important.