This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
Seems obvious that something went wrong in the Netherlands, the breeders world, the breed clubs and the Dutch Kennel club (RVB). We wouldn’t have a breeding ban for short muzzle dogs. We will try to explain.
First, the ignored warning from 2012
Remarkable is that the breeding ban was already predicted in 2012 by the PR agency “Press strategies”; “press strategy and crisis communication” in its publication ‘ Image and Reputation pedigree dog 30t of June 2012″. This company was invited by the Dutch Kennel club to investigate how to improve the image of the pedigree dog. The conclusion was simple, if no action was taken to improve the health and image of the pedigree dog, the following would happen.
“journalism exposes, society explodes and politics reacts”.
It was clearly predicted in the above publication, the government would come up with rules to solve the problem. The Dutch Kennel club, after the presentation, puts an adapted version of the study on his website and filed it, never to be looked at.
‘Fairfok’ program 2014-2019
‘Fairfok’ program started in 2014. This program had 14 action points regarding health, welfare and image of the pedigree dog, 14 action points were to be taken. This program had no, zero measurement, no hard goals and no clearly defined methods. The final evaluation, in January 2019, resulted in vague statements lacking any hard results.
We clarify some points from the evaluation in 2019. Remarkable is that the original 2014 version has been changed in 2019 for a number of points.
‘1 – In 2018 dog breeding is an animal friendly and responsible sector and is also known as such.
We all see regularly, the dreadful result in the media.
‘2 – 40% of the pedigree dogs are sick according to unverified figures of E Gubbels. The Kennel Club has the ambition to reduce these figures to 25% in 2019′.
In 2019 the Kennelclub RVB comes to the conclusion that these figures are unfounded and not measurable (losing 5 years on something that was immediately visible). Now they are looking at the ECGG of the University of Utrecht with ‘Petscan 2.0’. This ‘Petscan” program follows 38 different breeds (including look-a-likes). Unfortunately only the French and English Bulldogs of the 12 short muzzle breeds are included in the “Petscan 2.0” program.
‘3 – Health, Welfare and Social Behaviour’
The ‘breeding guidance plan’ of the English Bulldog is mentioned as an example. Nevertheless, results of tests were not mentioned. An evaluation did not take place either.
In other breeds that do not have a ‘breeding guidance plan’, breed clubs require the necessary health tests. The Dutch Kennel club does not show any support. After all, it is possible to ask a breeding permit at the Dutch Kennel club and receive a FCI pedigree and registration without any submission of the health tests required by the breed club. Also health measurements, organised by several breed clubs, have been done and results been send to the Kennel Club. Nothing is mentioned about this in “Fairfok” evaluation either.
This attitude of Dutch Kennel Club raises questions.
‘ 5 -In the future, the new owner of a pedigree dog will ensure that his dog fits in his new environment etc. etc.’.
The Dutch Kennel Club chippers/controllers, visits the breeders house but not to the pet buyer.
It is unclear to us how this is guaranteed?
‘6 – From 2015, breed standards that may give welfare problems will be adjusted. This will be discussed in an international context’.
All breed standards of the 12 breeds concerned breeds are abroad. All of these countries don’t see the need to change the breeding standard.
Question arises how did the Dutch Kennel Club think it could achieve these changes?
‘14- As of 2016, DNA diagnostics will almost completely reduce the clinical diseases caused by hereditary diseases in purebred dogs in a few generations.’
Turned out to be too ambitious. Result, crossbreeds are now proposed.
The conclusion in our opinion is that the ‘Fairfok’ program cannot be seen as a success, which will also have been noticed by the Ministry. An opportunity missed.
Reconstruction of missed opportunities
Using the Government Information (Public Access Act ) (WOB), the following has been reconstructed.
31 May 2018: Short-term test and panel participation Brussels.
This mail discusses the test for short muzzle dogs and indicates that the Ministry is working on the development of the criteria. The breeder must comply to the effort to breed a healthy dog. However, it is also possible that the breeder demonstrates this with another, equally good, test.
The Ministry advises the Dutch Kennel Club to contact the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Utrecht to talk about the enforcement criteria.
This consultation has never taken place. The Dutch Kennelclub (RVB) has missed this opportunity to change the criteria.
Another missed opportunity.
Wednesday 30 January 2019 Dutch Kennel Club to the Ministry with the subject letter to parliament
‘….talked to the French Bulldogs Kennel Club (CBF) in France, promised to change the breed standard.’
The Breed Club of the French Bulldogs in the Netherlands (HBC) is informed by the Dutch Kennel Club that the breed standard will be adapted with a longer nose’.
On 24 June 2019 the breed club of the French Bulldogs in France (CBF) replied that they would not adjust the nose length.
15 October 2019 in the club magazine of the French Bulldog (CBF) in France
The French club reacted very clearly to the letter from the Dutch Kennel Club with the request to adapt the breed standard. The French Bulldog is French and the FCI breed standard will remain. The president of this club indicates agitatedly that if the Dutch think that a long nose is the solution they just have to create a new breed.
We are very curious on which the basis the Dutch Kennel Club could expect that the French Bulldog club (CBF) intended to change the breed standard.
12 December 2018- 22 March 2019 Mail Ministry to the Dutch Kennel Club.
Through the Kennel Club, the Ministry invites, the representatives of the breed clubs of Pugs, French and English Bulldogs, to now discuss the details of the ‘enforcement criteria’ on 14 January 2019. Veterinary Medicine from the University of Utrecht and the NVWA were also invited. The agenda will be forwarded on 8 January 2019.
The Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) and breed clubs were not present at this planned meeting.
Another missed opportunity to talk about enforcement criteria.
Between 14 December 2018 and 22 March 2019, the Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) asked several times, in vain, to receive the draft of the enforcement criteria. However, the Dutch Kennel Club had enough opportunities.
On 18 March, the enforcement criteria are published and presented in parliament.
Friday 22 March 2019 Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) to Ministry
On March 22nd the Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) were dumfounded. The Dutch Kennel Club was astonished of the enormous consequences.
‘With interest but also surprised the Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) took note of the criteria in the report ‘breeding with short-muzzle dogs’. This report is seen by the Dutch Kennel Club as a disguised ban to breed with certain types of animals. The Dutch Kennel Club heard about the enforcement plan from the media.
The Minister has offered the Kennel club on several occasions, to take part of the decision making.
27 May 2019 letter from Ministry to RVB
In response to a request from the Dutch Kennel Club, to discuss the “enforcement criteria”, the Minister responded. She would like to talk for 30 minutes with the delegation ‘Fairfok’ about the state of affairs regarding the ambitions that have not yet been achieved and the next steps.
This answer clearly indicates the Minister’s attitude.
The Minister’s confidence in the Dutch Kennel Club is lost.
1 June 2019
At an international workshop in Windsor (GB), the CEO of the Dutch Kennel Club states the following on social media to the President of the FCI:
‘For everybody’s information: THERE ARE NO BREEDS BANNED IN HOLLAND. Cooperation has been started between the Kennel Club and government’.
The equivoque is easy to dismantle. It is true that the enforcement criteria do not talk about breeds. But because the CFR<0.3 is set, 12 breeds can no longer be bred within the FCI standard. One can only prolong the nose sufficiently by crossbreeding. The CFR>0.3 is only temporary, the goal is CFR>0.5. Breeding according to FCI breed standard will end entirely for the 12 breeds.
This equivoque is also easy to dismantle, at the request of 1 August 2019 to adapt the ‘enforcement criteria’ for 12 breeds these breeds were mentioned by name.
Playing with words are misleading.
1 August 2019
On 1 August, the Dutch Kennel Club ‘s ‘breeding guidance plan’ will be submitted to the Ministry to replace the ‘enforcement criteria’. The ‘Breeding Guidance Plan’ has only been discussed with a few members of the board of the breed clubs, under complete confidentiality and radio silence towards breeders.
The following text is taken from the Dutch Kennel Club ‘s proposed ‘breeding guidance’ plan.
‘Furthermore, crossbreeds and the approval of non-pedigree dogs will be used as instruments to structurally increase the length of the muzzle in these breeds’.
(note ‘Ras en Recht: this rule in the ‘breeding guidance’ plan will shock the international breeding world. Are crossbreeds sold as pedigree dogs now?)
In the same ‘breeding guidance’ plan, the Dutch Kennel Club also tries to satisfy the pedigree breed clubs with a request for exemption of the CFR<0.3 rule for the 12 affected breeds.
The Minister ignored the request to amend the ‘enforcement criteria’ of the Dutch Kennel Club with the ‘breeding guidance’ plan, without considering the content.
After this letter the Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) stated that no more pedigrees of these 12 FCI breeds will be registered after 18th of may 2020 , if the parentdogs do not have a longer nose.
The Dutch Kennel Club is now maneuvered into the’ FairDog’ program. A new program where the veterinarian association takes the lead and the Dutch Kennel Club (RVB) together with -among others- the animal right group ‘Dier&Recht’ will determine the new standard for dogs.
Too little, too late.
The mistake made by the breed associations and, above all, the Dutch Kennel Club, is to underestimate the seriousness of the situation and, on top of that, not even to accept the Minister’s invitation to discuss the enforcement criteria to be drawn up with the University of Utrecht. Being fully aware that the breeders of crossbreeds were already at the table with the authorities of the Minister and the University of Utrecht.
On several occasions, however, the ministry offered the opportunity to sit down and talk with the Kennel Club. These opportunities have been missed, with which, in our opinion, the Dutch Kennel Club has squandered the importance of the 24 short-muzzled breeds.
There has also been no adequate contact with the FCI about the problems in the Netherlands. The FCI was fooled with a equivoque on 1 June 2019 while the last contact with the FCI President was in August 2019. Again, the President of the FCI, was unfairly reassured by the Dutch Kennel Club that everything was under control.
However, the RVB’s (Dutch Kennel Club) proclaimed refusal to issue FCI pedigrees for 12 breeds, have shaken the breeding world, including the FCI. The Dutch Kennel Club, which had changed its name from ‘for the pedigree dogs’ into ‘keeping dogs’, will now commit itself to cross-breeding, as we can see from the proposed ‘breeding guidance’ plan of 1 August 2019.
In view of the many international reactions, from the FCI and the international breeding world, we may ask ourselves, what is left of the confidence in the Dutch Kennel club.
Now or Never
An embarrassing show in the breeding world for the Netherlands, which not only affects the 24 short-muzzle breeds but all pedigree dogs. After all, the animal activists ‘Dier & Recht’ are now encouraged by this drama to go even further. The new target are dogs under 10 kilos. Evidently the second tranche of short-muzzled dogs (0.3<CFR<0.5) will automatically take its turn. If the pedigree world in the Netherlands doesn’t come up with a powerful counter movement now, the virus can kill the Dutch pedigree world.
We are all very curious to see how much trust the Dutch breed associations and the breeders – who have to deal with all the blows – still have left in the board and the management of the Dutch Kennel Club. Trust, strength and unity is needed to turn the tide.
Ir. Edwin Meyer Viol
Ras en Recht Foundation
24 May 2020