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Animal Protection: Stop inbreeding, open registries, ban unhealthy breeds, curtail shows

Ban unhealthy breeds, attack inbreeding by opening up of registries permanently, stop breed standard exaggeration, curtail shows.

That is the advice of the Animal Protection the Netherlands (Dierenbescherming). With more than 40% of purebred dogs something is wrong, states the organization. Main source of that according to Animal Protection: dogshows.

Most Dutch media were focusing on this these days, after broadcasting of the British documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed on television.

How is that in your culture and what is your opinion?

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Henk,

thank you for starting this topic. Tonight I have been watching this programme on the internet: http://www.hetgesprek.nl/archief/3420/ The first part is in Dutch and it is a discussion between the Frank Dales of the Dierenbescherming, John Wauben who represented the Raad van beheer, a specialist in genetics, Ed Gubbels and my girls doctor Paul Mandigers. The second part of the programme is Pedigree dogs exposed.
In my opinion breeders have a lot to think about.
The documentary aired recently in Australia. Of course, the public saw exactly what was intended - a one-sided story, deliberately constructed to present the negative side, with any positive attempts by breeders to health-test etc swept under the carpet.

The truth in Australia is that the majority of dogs bred and sold here are by "backyard breeders," pet shops and puppy farms - not by registered breeders. Cross-bred dogs far outway the pure-breds in numbers. The general public has no idea of the difference between someone who breeds a "pure-bred" dog in their backyard, and one who does so as a member of the ANKC. ANKC members are required to adhere to a code of ethics, requiring them to health test both parents, and to raise the puppies in good conditions. Backyard breeders can do as they please, and are beholden to no one. The overwhelming majority of unhealthy "pure-bred" dogs come from these such people.

To date here, there have been few studies completed which show the difference in health issues between pure-bred dogs and their cross-bred counterparts. A few of us are currently working to remedy that fact, and have set up a survey to gather that exact information.

Vets are little help in providing accurate health statistics, because they have no idea whether the "pure-breed" in front of them was bred by a registered ANKC breeder, or just another BYB out to make a quick buck by banging together their dog with the one down the road... The documentary (and media...because it's easier to jump on a bandwagon than to do actually do their own research *snort*) lump everyone in together - and their ridiculous conclusion is that ALL REGISTERED breeders are bad (because we must be the only ones breeding pure-breeds, right??). The documentary focussed on the show world in the UK, and thus it is automatically assumed by the viewing public (who know no better than what they are told) that ALL show breeders are bad. That ALL show breeders are breeding deformed, unhealthy dogs. That ALL show breeders are obsessed with looks over health.

To be honest, yes, IMHO some breed standards (and more correctly their INTERPRETATION) have led to some breeds becoming over-exaggarated to the point of ill-health. I do not think this is the case with any of the Setter standards. I noticed the documentary neglected to mention the very good work being done by the Irish Setter Club UK in developing genetic health tests for the breed...or any health tests being developed, for that matter. Any moves towards the positive were immediately followed up by a "...but..." and then images of deformed dogs hobbling around. Sensationalist drama.

Our another forum I belong to, we had a very good, long and interesting debate with Jemima Harrison, the maker of the documentary. While she didn't admit to open bias (and I suppose we were never going to get that out of her LOL), she did say that another documentary, showing both points of view, would possibly be made in the future. I doubt that, personally, as it won't make nearly as good viewing...

As for inbreeding, there wouldn't be a species alive on the planet that didn't get there by inbreeding, humans included. The co-efficients might be wider in some species, and in some a lot closer than in pedigree dogs, but it doesn't change the fact that line-breeding can be a useful tool to IMPROVE on the original. I think there is certainly a risk when humans decide to push inbreeding too far, particularly in a closed or small gene pool. Do I think stud books need to be opened up for Irish Setters to counter this? No. Irish Setters are still a sound and healthy breed, with few genetic issues - of which there exist tests on known genes. It is up to breeders to health test all their breeding stock for hips, elbows (it might not be an issue in the breed YET...but how do you know if you don't test?? PRA wasn't an issue until it was, either...), PRA and CLAD.

Curtail showing? I don't see why. What I do think there needs to be, however, is a tightening up of the trainee judging systems. I also think the purpose of showing should be clearly defined. Is it a beauty pagent? Or is it intended to identify sound breeding stock? There is definitely room for it to be both...but judges must be trained to look beyond flashy coats and huge movement. Huge movement might look astounding, but what about the structure beneath that has created it? Canine anatomy should be a mandatory course of study in all trainee judging programmes.

Breeds become exaggarated when the showiest dogs are continually rewarded in the ring. Those dogs are then used to breed with, and their exaggarated traits are passed on and on and on. If the traits are particularly exaggarated, the appearance of a breed can change very quickly. Just look how fast the Bulldog become the dog we recognise today.

The onus is very much also on breeders to ensure they never breed unhealthy stock, no matter how good they look.

As far as "Animal protection authorities" go...I do not believe any of them have anything like the understanding required to comment on some of the issues upon which they choose to make public comment. The RSPCA here in Australia, for example, is little more than a power-hungry organisation intent on changing government policy to protect their own interests. A shocking case of the abuse of that power has just occurred here, and a breeder of more than 40 years excellent standing became the victim (scapegoat). As for PETA, their policy of "returning all domesticated dogs to the wild" is little more than a joke...or it would be, if they weren't serious.

It is difficult to counter the weight of public opinion. When organisations like the RSPCA start making comments, people will automatically side with them. Why? Because these organisation are seen to be protecting animals. No one would dare disagree, because to do so paints you as someone who does not care about animals. Whether you actually know anything about the topic is irrelevent. You are socially compelled to jump on the bandwagon. And who would ever believe that the RSPCA would lie, deceive or manipulate the truth? Any canine controlling council which attempts to stand up for itself looks like the bad guy - because everyone saw that damned documentary...and so now they know all those pure-bred people are evil...right?!

I think we are our own worst enemies, sometimes. We do very little to promote ourselves, our dogs or our sport outside our own circles. That goes for both field and show. Field people are just as under fire, because of course they are using their dogs for hunting...which is socially unacceptable, at least in Australia, and certainly in other countries. Anyone who argues otherwise is deluding themselves. And anyone who thinks their sport, or their breed is above the next attack could be waking up to a personal nightmare very soon...just like the breeder here, who had 13 of her well-cared-for, well-groomed, beloved house dogs seized by the RSPCA, despite the fact that their own vet declared them to be in PERFECT HEALTH at the time they were seized.

No wonder the public don't understand the real issues the way we do. Any positive publicity here regarding the showing of dogs is always portrayed by the media as a kind of light-hearted fluff piece showing our "pampered pooches" being hair-sprayed and primped up before trotting neatly around a ring on a little string. How quaint. How whimsical. They're not portrayed as real dogs, as healthy dogs, as family dogs, as life-loving, fun-loving HAPPY dogs. They're showns as jokes and cariacatures. And we do nothing to teach anyone otherwise.

Anyway, I've probably waffled on here long enough! I'll open up the floor to someone else now.
I feel we have had this discussion before...when the programme was first shown. Part of the problem is that this is focused on the brittish scene only, yet shown in all other countries as being the truth there as well.
Or at least being seen by the viewers as being so.

I am not knocking show-dogs in Britain, but a lot of other countries have far strikter breeding-rules regarding both inbreeding and health of the animals used and the decision is not left up to the individual breeder.
Loss of personal freedom?
Perhaps, but for the purpose of (hopefully) breeding healthier animals.
I remember the swedish kennelclub is mentioned as a "good" example in the film, but that particular sentance was easily missed by the viewer.

And yes, this is a very one-sided film and would never have become such a huge "success" in all countries if it had shown both sides of the coin.

Having said that, I still think there is a lesson to be learned there.
Even if setter-breeders are far from the examples shown in the film.

I still maintain that the setter is a healthy breed generally speaking.
I think this type of thing is going on all over the world now.
They are joust going at in different ways with breed bans and high taxes on the breeding of dogs and other opression of our personal rights reguarding dogs. Some of it has been going on for many years in the US with PETA being the orrigional pushers and then some other groups have gotten into it.
Here they have gone as far as killing dogs and turning them lose at shows and a lot more. It is all heading in the same dirrection though they do not want us to raise dogs and show them It is sad. I have been watching this go on for almost fourty years if you knew where to look and what to look at.

I am new to the group and hope I have answered this properly.
What is the definition of inbreeding? Breeding Regulation and Standards seem to vary from country to country even within the EU! This so called "Line Breeding" is considered more than acceptable within the UK.

With the huge increase of risk to "breed health" I think it should be stopped.

Have a look at Fergus' predigree at http://www.irishsetter.uk.com. He has a COI of nearly 29% and two dogs have a 37% blood input! But neither COI or Blood Input are recognised as a relevant stats in the UK.

Or use this link to take you directly to his pedigree. http://www.irishsetter.uk.com/pedigree.html
We all saw the programme Pdigree Dogs Exposed. It was heavily edited and constructed, as Melinda says, to provide a biased, negative, one-sided picture. Irish Setters were mentioned, albeit briefly, as having DNA tests for genetic conditions but that was a statement and wasn't expanded further. There are other conditions in our breed which are assumed to be of genetic predisposition or congenital which are yet to be proved by establishing further DNA tests and breeders, in conjunction with the various Animal Health Trusts, are working towards this. (HD in German Shepherds in Germany as an instance). The shame of it is that this programme, and subsequent public opinion, is not highlighting this and, you are right, we as breeders do not promote it. If it wasn't for the Irish Setter Breeders offering their dogs for blood testing and contributing funding for the research there would not be a DNA test for PRA RCD1 or CLAD. It is the UK IS Breeders who forced the KC to stop registering litters from CLAD carriers, not the other way around so I think there is much we can be proud of. More IS Breeders are hip scoring their dogs in the UK even though the KC does not require them to do so and maybe the KC should fall into line with the other european countries and insist. There is much work to be done in this matter but to assume that line-breeding is responsible for everything bad in pedigree dogs is to show ignorance of genetics because it can also provide a lot of good.
It is a shame that the likes of Jemima Harrison don't concentrate their resources on puppy farmers who keep dogs in appaling conditions, pass them of as pedigree dogs, even though the pedigrees are very dubious, sell puppies who die within weeks of going to their new homes yet who are licenced by the local authorities, vetted and passed by the RSPCA and registered by the KC.
May I answer Garrech and Canagan here. In their particular case their young dog was originally diagnosed with an unaturally high Helicobacter infection and plasmatic lymphatetic gastroentiritis as being the cause of his condition. This diagnosis has susequently been removed from their profile and dismissed in favour of the genetic or "in-breeding" argument. I know that they have been in contact with the Breed Clubs and the KC but all have been satisfied, on the evidence presented, that the original diagnosis was the correct one. It seems unfair to bring attention to this here when the cause was not genetic and this is a forum on that subject.
Eva. Thank you for your input. Please accept my apologies for my delay in posting a reply. Unfortunately work commitments and the weather have rather taken over!

I think we need to get back to facts rather than rumour, conjecture or “third hand speak”.

First of all I’m not airing any grievances and totally agree with you that this forum shouldn’t be the place to do so. The pup’s website was started after I learnt that Canagan’s mother had been mated again (eighteen months after I purchased Canagan) despite the breeder’s assurance that they were stopping breeding. His website is, in the main, merely a factual account of what has happened. Nothing more and nothing less!

I agree that the program “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” produced by Jemima Harrison was heavily sensationalised. But it is only this “type” of production that ascends to “watchable TV”. So one needs to pick out the facts and digest rather than being wowed by the “whole”. But I’m of the opinion that the saying “no smoke without fire” might not be too far from some of the truth.

As stated on the home page Canagan started to bloat in September before the enteritis flared up. I spoke to the selling breeder on at least two occasions during this period and consequently they were aware Canagan was bloating before his mother was re-used. When I spoke to the second breeder (after I saw their advert for puppies for sale) whose name was used to market the second litter they indicated they also were already aware of Canagan’s problem. I am happy to provide you with the extract from his clinical notes confirming the dates the consulting vet made to the clinical record.

The website has always made reference to cause and effect. The original statement regarding the reason for his first operation was, as you stated due to the Enteritis, but this Enteritis was initiated by the damage done to the stomach tissue by the bloating and the 90 degree torsion. As I said in the previously the clinical record of the consulting vet clearly states that they had been consulted regarding bloat prior to the enteritis. Please note that both veterinary specialists in the UK and France are of the opinion that Canagan’s problems are genetically influenced.

I am very confused as you speak with authorative assurance. We have never spoken or communicated and I do not know who you are other than you live in the same county as the selling breeder.

Fact: I cannot understand how the KC has been able to comment as, to date, they have not yet had sight of any of the pup’s clinical history. However you are correct that communication has been made with both the ISAE and ISBC. But the ISAE have not been supplied with any clinical history so again I am unable to understand your comment that "all have been satisfied".

Fact: Neither breeder involved to date have requested sight of any clinical history or veterinary history or for that matter shown any ongoing interest in the pup's wellbeing. Especially of note as professionalism and responsibility should have dictated this request prior to the mother’s re-use.

Fact: The KC have confirmed by letter (11th December which I’m happy to provide you a copy) that provided I provide veterinary observations they would be happy to put said matters to the breeder. Yet again I cannot equate this to “all have been satisfied”

Okay now to the facts that do count in this forum:

Fact: There are animals in Canagan’s pedigree that have either produced or are 1st degree relatives to those within the pedigree who have suffered bloat. Research at the Perdue University (USA) clearly stated that an animal that had a 1st degree relation suffering from bloat were 63% more at risk of suffering from the same problem.

Fact: COI and blood input are as stated.

So I would ask you to read the facts on Canagan’s website with an open mind. I’m not a person with any ulterior motive and I’m not a breeder. All I want to do is put the suffering and distress that bloat or any other chronic illness causes the animal and the owner into the public domain.
I’m treating this “discussion” as a debate about possible “genetic influences” as well as the differences in attitude to “line breeding” between those in the UK and elsewhere. On this forum all I asked was the question about the differences between line breeding and inbreeding and using my pup’s pedigree as an example to question these differences.

The pup’s clinical diagnosis made by the UK veterinary specialist is at: http://www.irishsetter.uk.com/diagnosis.html. and again I’m happy to provide you a copy of that report to substantiate the fact from hearsay.
There was a debate here before entitled Conflict over COI. In it, I proposed not to use the term linebreeding anymore but only mention a coefficient of inbreeeding (coi) over ten generations, to prevend misunderstanding. The coi of an apparently not so close related dam and sire can and often is in showbred Irish setters in the UK much higher than a brother to sister mating of not close or unrelated parents. This still seems not widely known in dogbreeder circles. Percentages considered to be safe healthwise by experts over ten generations vary from maximum 5 -10.
I read recently in our State Body (Dogs Queensland) monthly members magazine that the UK Kennel Club has recently banned close matings from Jan 09. The statement says that "......the kennel club announced that it would crack down on the small number of breeders who continue to use the practice of mating close relatives, by refusing to register those puppies that are born from any mother/son, father/daughter or brother/sister mating. Departures from this principles will only be made in exceptional circumstances or for scientifically proven welfare reasons"

Our State body in Queensland is proposing to introduce the same ruling and have sought advice from a geneticist. They have checked the records and very few dogs are being registered in the category for which the ban will be imposed.

I believe the maximum of 10 COI over 10 generations is going to be very difficult for breeders to achieve in the short term.
Further to the COI of under 10. Can I please put an example up for discussion:

I have a young boy, COI of 8.5%. He has ancestors in 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations who have had confirmed or suspected GDV (not known at time of his conception).

If I breed with this boy to a not close or unrelated bitch and maintain a low COI of under 10, I still have significant risk to pass on GDV to his offspring. The dog in question (now in Gen 5) is still throwing a COI of 15.9 and a COR of 9.7.

Is this litter any healthier than a litter with a higher COI (above 10) but the ancestory is clear of genetic health problems. I can't see that it is? A highly close bred dog back generations can still impact a litter with a low COI?
But do you really know everything about all the dogs in the pedigree for at least four generations back? Would their breeders tell you if there is any GDV not only in the dogs in the direct pedigree, but also in their other offspring, siblings or offspring of their siblings.?
I dont know what might be in the pedigrees so I am not implying anything about anybody :)) Just asking if you are sure you know
The pedigree is mostly Australian bred lines - both local and interstate - all long standing kennels with good clean healthy dogs. One mating done by Clancy's breeder (4 generations ago) has put the line in a turmoil ie: the details listed above. There is speculation about the gg grandsire (1) (AI) bloating; there is advice that his son (2) died from bloat (people have discounted that as environmental) and the g daughter (3) offspring from (2) has bloated at 8 years - no speculation there - it happened and breeder very open about this. There is another g-daughter in another litter who has bloated (owner reluctant to speak on this-but advised that she blew, but didn't twist), but have heard since that she died from bloat the following year. Further, a double up of this pedigree was bred with a brother to (3) above with his neice and there is a young boy who has bloated (not twisted) at 15mths of age. It was found at the time of his bloat that he had stomach ulcers (was this the cause of the bloat or is it the genes doubled up creating the problem?? or is stomach problems as a pre-cursor or associated with the genetic effect of bloat/GDV?)

Yes, I believe the breeders that I know would tell me if there is anything else in the lines. The 3 australian breeders are long standing in IS. The imported stock for the mating is where we have some speculation, but the dogs on Australian soil who have suspectedly bloated, the information is there, but the discussion on environmental or genetics is in play! 4 dogs living in different homes most probably on different diets and lifestyles and all suffered the consequences of Bloat/GDV.

As far as any potential mating with my boy, I don't even have a bitch for breeding with at the moment, but I want a girl who will not have the same dogs that are under suspicion in Clancy's pedigree. Not because I want to use Clancy, but the thought of having a dog bloat scares the hell out of me and I worry about my young boy everyday and I certainly don't want to breed it on. I have owned IS for 20 years and never had to experience this and those I speak to in Australia who have bred Australian English type lines over the past 30 years haven't experienced bloat previously. But we NOW have a problem in our Country.

I don't know everything about the lines and I trust the breeders who provide the advice to me, but this is why I am so passionate about us all being honest and speaking freely about problems - not to blame anyone/owners/breeders, etc but to try to move forward to try to breed out the health problems that are looming over us all. I have no hesitation of putting Clancy's 5 generation pedigree up on for anyone to see. I did have a 7 generation in my photos, but I believe it was a bit hard to read so I took it off.

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