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12th of November 2020
In May 2020, the Dutch Kennel Club (RvB) decided not to issue any more pedigrees to brachycephalic dogs that do not meet the enforcement criteria drawn up by Veterinary Medicine at the University of Utrecht. Enforcement criteria that use the CFR (ratio muzzle length skull length) as the breeding criterion. As a result, in the first instance 12 (CFR < 0.3) and in the second instance (CFR < 0.5) approximately 30 breeds are affected by a breeding ban. And this while the borders for the import of a short-muzzled puppies by the EU rules should remain wide open.
Considering that it has been scientifically stated loud and clear by Jane Ladlow and the BOAS group at Cambridge that the CFR only has a subordinate meaning in one breed while in the other two breeds, which have been examined, it no longer has any meaning, we can cautiously conclude that the length of the muzzle itself does not really matter. This is as the author of the Enforcement Criteria of the University of Utrecht declared herself to the enforcers in answering questions of the enforcers of the Enforcementcriteria.
So why the CFR as the breeding criterion?
Considering the above it could be possible that the only reason to introduce the CFR as a criterion is that it is an external characteristic of the Brachycephalic pedigree dog. Because in a number of brachycephalic breeds hereditary problems have been found, the Minister has made breeding all, yes all short-muzzled breeds very difficult but actually impossible. And following in the footsteps of the activists of ‘Dier&Recht’ , the authors of the enforcement criteria decided to exchange the pedigree dog for the crossbreed. This is also evident from the remark in a letter from the Minister to the RvB that for the time being an exception will be made for breeding with short-muzzled dogs if one of the two parent dogs has a CFR > 0.3. In order to improve the health of the pedigree dog, does she allow crossbreeding? However, she does not name breeds but forces all breeds, healthy or not, with good genetic diversity within the breed or not, to crossbreed. A reckless action of which it is unclear what the consequences are.
The questionable role of the Management Board
The Dutch Kennel Club is playing a questionable role in this tragedy. After all, they are going along with the Minister’s crossbreeding and stopped issuing pedigrees to puppies from these breeds. They see this as their task and assume this their responsibility despite the fact that they claim that the ban on issuing pedigrees comes from the Ministry. Is this to fool the FCI? And this despite the fact that the Minister has no say in this, as the author of the Enforcement Criteria informs the enforcers of the NVWA.
After a fierce objection from the short-muzzled breed associations at the end of June, the RvB entered into discussions with the relevant breed associations to ‘exchange’ the CFR for Jane Ladlow’s BOAS test. After a tumultuous time, this discussion ended in a debacle. After all, the bureau of the RvB with its CEO, lawyer and veterinarian again tried to get the muzzle extension and with that the crossbreeds into the breeding program and this alongside all kinds of other tests that made breeding with short muzzle breeds almost impossible. This in contrast to what the RvB publishes to the outside world and by signing the intention declarations for the BOAS test (clearly no agreement and therefore not binding) it looks like. After all, the Kenne; Club is in fact working towards crossbreeding and has at the same time adapted the regulations so that the approval of look-a-likes can be approved and after a few generations pedigrees can be obtained again. We also look back on an unsuccessful attempt to have the judges to judge longer snout lengths better than short muzzles. Everything points in the same direction. In short, an imposed road in which the power over the judges and breeders is pulled towards the management office of the Kennel Club in ‘Trumps’ way, under threat of the disciplinary college, which seems to have become an extension of the CEO’s office.
It is sad to see that a Kennel Club that stood at the cradle of the FCI, as they so proudly remember every time, is now stabbing a dagger in the back of the pedigree dog – as the first Kennel Club in the world – by wanting to exchange the pedigree dog for crossbreeds. For the time being only for 30 short-muzzled breeds, but soon of course for every breed with problems that the activists of ‘Dier&Recht’ presents. The crossbreeding solution is the cheap Dutch solution where the Kennel Club and the University of Utrecht don’t have to lift a finger. Wild crossbreds aren’t checked in any way. After all, there is no convincing, solid and/or well thought-out programme set up by the Kennel Club. So what future do these two institutes have in mind for the (breed?) dogs?
This attitude of the Dutch Kennel Club raises many questions internationally as shown by the reactions of Breed Clubs and Kennel Clubs from all over the world as a reaction on the letter from the president of the FCI to all Kennel and Breed Clubs worldwide. The FCI president reacted to the refusal of pedigree issuing at the short muzzled breeds in The Netherlands. 78 Breed Clubs and 15 Kennel Clubs reacted. After a short analysis and inventory we see arising the following picture:
1- Also in the rest of the world the CFR as a health criterion is questioned and the Dutch are advised to look at the publications of the BOAS team of Cambridge. After all, BOAS is a complex disease.
2- Many clubs are very angry about the ‘crossbreeds’ direction that the RvB has dicided for. After all, they are supposed to be the guardians of the pedigree dog, whereas now it turns out to be the opposite. This attitude of the RvB is considered incomprehensible. Some countries are very angry, so angry that they say they can no longer accept the pedigrees of shortmuzzled Dutch puppies. We found countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, Lithuania, Slovenia, Australia and, above all, very resolutely Russia. At the moment one of the countries with the largest and fastest growing pedigree dog population.
3- Many pedigree clubs and kennel clubs are of the opinion that the FCI rules concerning pedigree registration of pedigree dogs are being violated by the Board of Directors.
Edwin Meyer Viol
Stichting Ras en Recht / Foundation Pedigree Dogs and Justice