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Pedigree Dogs Inquiry Released
Recommends more breeder oversight, stronger welfare regulations
Bulldogs are among several breeds that struggle to run, breathe, mate and give birth due to breeding for exaggerated features.

A year and a half after the BBC documentary “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” revealed high levels of disability, deformity and disease in pedigree dogs left the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club reeling, an independent review of breed standards has been released. (Complete downloadable report available here. Read Club's reaction.) Known as the Bateson inquiry, for its author, Cambridge University professor Sir Patrick Bateson, the report was commissioned by the Club and Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity. Among its recommendations:

•    Create an independent council to develop breeding strategies that address issues of inherited disease, extreme conformation and inbreeding.
•    Change the law to include requirements for the compulsory microchipping of all puppies and a duty of care on all breeders to have regard to the health and welfare of both the parents and the offspring of a mating. (It always boggles my mind that any breeder has to be required to "have regard" for the animals in his or her care.)
•    Pass new regulations to replace the outdated breeding and sales of dogs legislation, and much better enforcement of good welfare on licensed dog breeding premises.
•    Launch a publicity and education campaign, delivered by all key dog and welfare organizations working together, to encourage a major improvement in how the public go about buying dogs.

Not highlighted in the official press release is the recommendation that the Dangerous Dogs Act be amended to apply to all dogs shown to be dangerous, rather than to specified breeds, and to address the problem of dogs being bred and reared specifically as weapons for fighting. (I was surprised to see this in the mix.)

I'm still digesting the report. But my first reaction is what are we doing here? Where's our self-examination? What can we learn from England's example?

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com


CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Anonymous | January 17 2010 |

"What can we learn from England's example?"
I hope that we as Americans can learn to ask important questions before buying from a breeder. Questions like: "Why do want dog breed X?," "Are there breed rescues I can adopt from instead?."

Submitted by Carolyn | January 18 2010 |

So glad to see this first step. I found the description of the Swedish kennel club's protocols fascinating and immensely practical (coincidentally, I just reread "The Cost of Perfection," BARk Sep/Oct09). Would that we could emulate them.

Submitted by Anonymous | January 29 2010 |

Oh I can tell you what we can learn from the UK
1) Don't believe all you see on television
2) The media loves to lie if it gets them ratings
3) If you mix some dog pictures in people will swallow anything
4) You can cut the most sensible statement into something horrid if you roll enough film
5) The media is slow to retract or admit wrong doing but in this case they finally did
The BBC will be broadcasting an apology to the KC as demanded by
OFT on BBC1 on Monday Jan 11th at 9 pm.

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