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NICK Blayney's call for vets to be ‘critical friends rather than just critics’ of The Kennel Club may be well intentioned (VR, March 18, 2017, vol 180, p 263), but it's important that vets act on evidence rather than just aspirations. Mr Blayney was interviewed by Jemima Harrison in her 2008 BBC documentary ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’, when he made similar statements in support of The Kennel Club; however, in the nine years since that documentary, while there have been improvements in some aspects of pedigree dog health, there are other areas that seem to be getting worse.
Mr Blayney said that ‘of the 700,000 new dogs acquired by pet owners in the UK every year, just 3 per cent are puppies bred according to The Kennel Club standards.’ This is disingenuous: what he really means is that 3 per cent of this total are bred by Kennel Club Assured Breeders. However, The Kennel Club continues to register around 40 per cent of pure bred pedigree puppies, and it's difficult to understand why the organisation feels that it does not have a …