The EFRA Report on Dog Control and Welfare recommended that the local authority licensing requirements should be reduced to no more than two litters per year. It also stated that ‘too many dogs continue to suffer ill-health due to inbreeding and breeding for exaggerated characteristics. The Kennel Club must do far more to use its influence with the pedigree dog community, including refusing to register puppies from breeders not compliant with its Assured Breeders Scheme. The Kennel Club should also commission an independent annual review of breed standards led by vets. ‘…..Defra has been insufficiently proactive in tackling dog welfare issues related to breeding practices………..Defra should give the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding a regulatory role in enforcing standards………breed specific strategies are needed to improve the health of breeds.’
The Cavalier Club AGM will be followed by two presentations which will effectively undermine the BVA/KC CMSM scheme and AHT EBV Project.
Arnold Jacques, President of the Belgian Toy and Cavalier Club, Member of the Scientific Committee of the Belgian Kennel Club and President of ‘Cavaliers for Life’ will speak on ‘Sustainable dog breeding and update on the project Cavaliers for Life’
Dr Paul Mandigers, European Veterinary Neurologist, University of Utrecht, will speak on ‘Chiari and Syringomyelia in Toy dogs, latest developments and proposals.’
The European scheme is laudable and will help to involve all European countries in tackling the health problems of Cavaliers. However such an ambitious scheme will take many years to produce real benefits for the breed. For UK breeders to switch to this scheme, however, will only serve to delay real benefits to the UK population of dogs.
The other worrying aspect is that the results of screening will only be known to the researchers and individual breeders who submit results to the scheme. This goes against the drive for true openness and transparency which is essential if the UK is to seriously tackle the genetic welfare problems of its purebred dogs.
One has to ask why UK breeders would opt for a scheme which will keep health results confidential and will take so much longer to produce a breedwide health and welfare improvement?