Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Imports bring rabies

Three bitten by rabid dog in Britain

I could file this with my other Shelter Dog posts, because this story isn't about breeders or dogs imported for breeding or working. No, this shelter in Britain is importing strays from foreign countries to sell - oops *adopt* to Brits. This is not an uncommon practice in our own country. Unfortunately for the shelter workers in this story, it was a practice that, shall we say, came back to bite them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Support the Continental Kennel Club. Now.

Yeah, that's right. I'm goin' full blown public with this push.

I've defended the CKC in the past , defended their existence, tried to educate on their value. But now, I'm delivering the ultimatum.

Join or Die.

Ms. X has decided to throw herself into the giant chasm that separates open registries from closed registries in hopes she can build a bridge to support the exodus from the latter to the first.

A recent article in the Telegraph sounds the alarm: Pedigree dogs face extinction due to inbreeding

Many of Britain's most popular dog breeds could be extinct within 50 years because they are so inbred, vets have warned.

There is only one thing that will save dogs - much needed genetic diversity. For most of these breeds, that can only come from an open registry.

Ironically, the purveyors of the closed registries continue to assert that they are the only solution to the genepool crisis. Presumably, they will solve the problem by more intensive genetic testing and removing the problem genes from the genepool... in other words, they will solve the genepool crisis by further limiting the genepool.

What the dogs desperately need, is a dramatic shift away from the lab rat approach to breeding.

And no, I'm not the first to call a change to the closed registry / lab rat breeding philosophy.

Our worldwide purebred registries were developed on premises that do not
hold scientifically today, such as the idea that inbreeding is not problematic. This must change if we are to save the sport of dog breeding and showing.

The optimal program for breeders is to use assortative mating and avoid inbreeding as much as possible in order to minimize the coefficient of inbreeding. Open up the studbooks, and, if possible, use the original stock. - Susan Thorpe Vargas and John Cargill

ANY BREED that is taken seriously as a practical working breed, any breed whose breeders are seriously concerned with genetic health and species soundness, simply cannot remain part of a closed studbook system indefinitely - Jeffrey Bragg

The idea that there is something intrinsically desirable in the members
of a breed is false. It is the same faulty notion as thinking there is something superior about "royal" blood. It is not only false, but it is bad genetics. It is not only bad genetics, but it dooms any breed that gets caught in that physically isolating trap.
Closing the stud book on a population, in order to promote specific traits, inadvertently and dangerously starts a process of inbreeding. Inbreeding decreases the amount of genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is a source of genetic vitality. - Raymond Coppinger, Lorna Coppinger

What does a closed registry possibly have to gain by being closed?
Answer: Nothing.
What have closed registries lost?
Answer: Healthy animals.
- Michelle Henninger (Claybrook

I just might be the first to insist on making use of the tools immediately available.

Surprisingly enough, all of these authors, and other proponents are pretty popular on the net. All the breeders who like to think they are "solving" the problem, link to these articles. But very few, (any?), have taken that "actions-speak-louder-than-words" step and switched to CKC.

"Oh, I could never do that", says the feel-good breeder. "I don't want to be associated with those scoundrels".

Such a quick, easy step forward. The low hanging fruit is ripe and waiting. New owners want a healthy dog, and the great grandkids just want ... a dog.

"What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?" - Logan P. Smith

Look, if you don't act now, the fruit will shrivel on the branch, fall to the ground and rot away.

It wasn't too long ago that Ms. X herself said it would be a cold day before you saw her defending certain elements, but the winds are already starting to change.

Look again at the article from the Telegraph.
The Pets Parliament has been established to secure ratification of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which has already been signed by more than 20 countries.

The convention highlights a list of breed characteristics that need to be modified for the dogs' best interests and also bans breeding if the two animals share a grandparent.

Soon, it could be illegal for you to breed your two flat faced bulldogs anywhere in Europe. The reason they are getting such a foothold is because of all the health problems the inbreeding and closed registries have created.

The closed registries, of course, respond by saying they are best suited to "fix" the problems.

Now, Ms. X may find herself defending the right of these closed registries to exist as autonomous entities against the will of a government trying to legislate healthy dogs. AKC of course, seems to be planning its' own unique solution of becoming a branch of government itself.

There is a better way. Act now, embrace the solution that exists, join the open registry and breed healthy dogs.

Want to show? Start your own breed club that sponsors conformation shows. Shut the Pets Parliment up before it even gets started.

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels" - H. L. Mencken

Evidently this applies to the health of dogs too.

Carpe Diem and enjoy your plums.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?

My furry readers who soak up discussions about epigenetics, natural selection, and the broader picture of what makes our canine friends tick, will enjoy this article, wherein a group of scientists from around the world met in New Zealand to give new meaning to old ideas.

They were exploring the validity of the theory of evolution in the face of emerging science of epigentics.

And along the way, they affirm what Ms. X learned in high school (but what millions of others did not)

Yet through the years most biologists outside of evolutionary biology have mistakenly believed that evolution is natural selection.

I love it when someone else holds the truthlight for a while! (That thing gets HOT!)

Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?