BSAVA president Andrew Ash has criticised the Kennel Club for actively promoting health schemes while allowing the registration and showing of dogs with an excessively high inbreeding coefficient.

BSAVA president Andrew Ash has criticised the Kennel Club for actively promoting health schemes while allowing the registration and showing of dogs with an excessively high inbreeding coefficient.

A still from Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On.His comments were made in response to issues raised in the programme Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On, shown on BBC Four at 9pm on February 27.

The programme was the follow-up to the controversial documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, made by Jemima Harrison and first broadcast in 2008.

In the association’s official statement regarding …Three Years On, BSAVA president Andrew Ash said: “Jemima Harrison has highlighted an important issue. It is essential that veterinary surgeons, dog breeders and the general public no longer accept that breeding for extremes of conformation or knowingly from animals with inherited disease is an acceptable practice.

“The programme highlighted two main areas of concern, firstly the small genetic pool that exists in many breeds and secondly continued breeding for extremes of body shape.

BSAVA president Andrew Ash.“Both these areas must be addressed urgently. A civilised nation must agree that it is not acceptable to breed dogs that cannot function as dogs.”

Mr Ash said the association supported the health schemes that are now available to owners as steps in the right direction, but said it was difficult to believe that health schemes are going to be sufficient in themselves to tackle the problems rapidly and effectively.

He said: “It is particularly perverse to be promoting health schemes and yet continuing to allow the registration and showing of progeny with coefficients of inbreeding as high as 47.5% or where the animal concerned is known to have failed a screening test (significant in that breed).”

Vice president Mark Johnson said: “We are supportive of the changes that the Kennel Club has made so far, and applaud them in allowing the introduction of new genes into certain breeds as demonstrated by the registration of the LUA Dalmatian.
BBC iPlayer - Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On.
“I support the introduction of the Mate Select scheme, but believe that the Kennel Club should adopt the Advisory Council on Welfare in Dog Breeding recommendation and not register puppies with a coefficient of breeding (over 5 generations) greater than 12.5%.”

BSAVA supports the BVA in its call for a radical review of all breed standards to ensure that they actively protect the health and welfare of the dog.

However, the association says it is important to remember that inherited disease is not just a problem of purebred dogs, and BSAVA supports the introduction of legislation that seeks to improve the health and welfare of all dogs.

 

  • Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On is available to view on BBC iPlayer until March 5, 2012.
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