BBC documentarian comments on Kennel Club reforms
Earlier today, we reported that the Kennel Club (the British equivalent of the AKC) has announced its plans for reforms to the breed standards of more than 200 of the dog breeds it recognizes. The announcement comes on the heels of the BBC's announcement last month that it wouldn't air Britain's Crufts dog show, based on health concerns for purebred dogs raised by the documentary "Pedigree Dogs Exposed."
Filmmaker Jemima Harrison, who produced and directed the documentary, talked with us about the KC's announcement.
"I am pleased that the Kennel Club has responded to the findings in our film, which uncovered extremely serious health and welfare concerns in some pedigree dogs," says Harrison. "The reforms announced yesterday by the KC include changes to breed standards in an effort to tackle some of the extreme physical shapes that have caused some breeds to suffer unacceptably – such as the very flat faces in pugs and Boston terriers, too much excess skin in breeds like the Shar-Pei and Neapolitan mastiff; too much coat as can happen in the Pekingese and too much bulk in breeds like the Clumber Spaniel and the show Labrador."
"The Kennel Club has also banned incest matings – those between mothers and sons, fathers and daughters and brothers and sisters," she continues. "We don't approve of such close matings in humans, and it should not be acceptable in our dogs, either – for very well-documented genetic reasons. There's a long way to go, but it's a start. And let's hope we see similar reforms in the U.S., too. I've read some comments stating that it's a UK problem, but that's utter nonsense. Many breeds in the U.S. are in as bad, if not worse, shape than the British ones."
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Photo: Harrison with her dog Jake, a rescued foxhound/Irish setter mix. Courtesy Jemima Harrison.