THE GERMAN Shepherd Dog League of GB has vote No to sign
THE GERMAN Shepherd Dog League
of GB has voted not to sign the Kennel Club's controversial contract. Therefore,
from 2012 the League will no longer be allocated CCs.
In a letter to the KC's executive canine activities Kathryn Symns, acting chairman Nikki Farley said the League still intended to hold its championship show that year 'strictly adhering to KC rules', and possibly other events.
Breed clubs and societies were told in January they would have to agree to the undertaking before they would receive 2012 CCs.
Today (Thursday) the KC announced that 19 of the 30 GSD clubs and 'nearly all the general championship shows' had signed the contract by the deadline.
The British Association of German Shepherd Dogs has agreed to sign, but Mrs Farley wrote to the KC: “We had hoped that there would be some central ground upon which discussion could take place, but after all attempts by the GSD Partnership it failed to achieve another meeting with the KC, and all further negotiation appeared to take place only through the media and our letter to you dated December 2009.
“We received no reply other than an acknowledgement of receipt and it was decided that there was no other option but to take this stance.
“Our membership decided that the health of our breed should be paramount in everything that is required, both in showing and breeding, and that is an area which we appear to have difficulty reconciling with those requirements asked for by the KC. We have long advocated for our members that all animals should be identifiable through tattoo or microchip and that any health test has no relevance if the animal cannot be identified, an area which the British Veterinary Association has now covered. We also feel that DNA testing for parentage should be implemented at the earliest opportunity to ensure accuracy of pedigrees for future generations.
“We have also for a long time advocated that all animals should be health tested before breeding an area still to be covered by the KC even in its own flagship the Accredited Breeder Scheme.”
“One part of the undertaking our members found abhorrent was having asked what in our opinion are top specialist judges to judge our shows, we were then expected to tell them how to judge. This was highlighted most emphatically in the last few weeks where trial by television took place on not only our best of breed winner at Crufts but the judge – appointed by yourselves – who gave him this award. This should never have been allowed to happen and we hope that a full and unconditional apology will be sent to both the dog’s owner and breeder and judge Robert Kinsey.
“It should also be accompanied by an apology to one of our senior citizen members who was asked to remove herself and her puppy from not only the display team she was asked to work in, but the show itself. It was humiliation in the extreme.
“We will continue to hold events under the rules and regulations of the WUSV in order to promote healthy German Shepherds both in show and work, which we feel are of more importance and mean more than a CC which can be awarded to any animal whether or not it has had any health checks or even had them and received poor results. We also consider that the awarding of CCs to puppies can only have a detrimental influence on our late developing breed.
“We do however feel that there is still room for discussion on the way forward for our breed, the German Shepherd Dog, and would always be willing to talk to the KC in the future.”
Ms Symns wrote back to Mrs Farley saying that 19 GSD clubs and most of the general championship shows had agreed to sign the KC's undertaking – a few have not yet replied – and that the KC would be 'working with these clubs to go forward to protect the interests of the majority of the GSD breed in the UK'.
“We would not normally wish to engage in further protracted correspondence with you on this matter except to say that, in the interest of the GSD breed, we of course regret that you have made this decision,” Ms Symns wrote. “On this occasion, in view of some of the detailed comments in your letter, we feel that we must respond.”
She said the KC had noted that the League intended to adhere to KC rules at its KC championship show, and its complaint that the GSD Partnership had not had a meeting with the KC and there was no response to the League's letter.
“In fact, the reason for the former was the failure of the Partnership to accept issues previously agreed and recorded in the minutes of our previous meeting,” Ms Symns wrote. “On the second point we believe that the issuing of our undertaking letters obviated and stood in place of any need for us to respond to your December 2009 letter.
“The KC too is deeply committed to improving the health of all breeds and the difference between us on these issues is not large. We have consistently indicated how we wish to improve the uptake of health screening, identification etc. The major difference between us is that we believe that the poor hindquarters of many GSDs constitute a welfare hazard while you appear not to do so.
“The paragraph above indicates why we are at odds with you on your contention that judges at your shows should not be required to recognise that there are hindquarter problems in the breed when judging.
“We agree with your comment that the More4 TV programme highlighted this difference between us, but we believe that the lesson to be learned from that happening is the opposite one to that which you have chosen to accept. Our view is that More4’s independent decision to criticise the conformation of the winning GSD at Crufts was symptomatic of the problem that the world at large recognises, but that you do not. The KC will make no apology for something that happened on the More4 Crufts programme at the choice of More4 and its presenter. You must seek any apology for that from More4 and not from us.
“The other issue of a young GSD being asked to leave the display was an independent decision taken by the show vet acting in his capacity as a vet and we would not presume to interfere with that decision. Incidentally, the dog was only five months of age at the time and should not have been taking part in a display.
“Finally we reject your comments that there should be different rules on what should be required of show exhibits by way of pre-exhibition health tests and the banning of puppies from winning CCs. We believe that the show ring should be used to help promote the elimination of visible conditions by judges. We believe that it is within the area of the control of breeding practices that screening for non-visible conditions should be targeted.
“It is that fundamental difference between us that we believe is the main reason why the general public has become so disenchanted with the GSD breed in the show ring – by simply looking at its current appearance. We believe that is the reason why registrations of GSDs declined by over 40 per cent in the 15 years to 2008, while overall KC registrations increased in the same period by over 15 per cent.
“We are glad that you feel that there is 'still room for discussion on the way forward' for GSDs and we look forward to hearing your suggestions on the subjects where you think that there is likelihood of agreement between us.”
• DW has learnt that the German Shepherd Dog Club of Devon and the West Yorkshire German Shepherd Club have not signed the contract.
First Seen in the Dog World Press