Monday, December 15, 2008

Bailout the Kennel Clubs!

Yeah. Why the heck not? Everyone else gets a bailout. And by everyone else, I mean of course businesses that are too big to fail. Businesses that lost their customer base, that found their income and profit margins were vanishing.

Whoa dude! Sounds familiar!

Today, we are losing market share at an alarming rate, especially in the retail sector. We are being challenged competitively and financially. - Ron Menaker, AKC Chairman, September 2008

Well, in September of course, bailouts weren't yet in fashion. Buuuuutttt, now it's December. Now, AKC's sister-across-the-pond, The Kennel Club of Britain, is falling into a dark abyss. Their annual glitzy soiree, the Crufts Dog Show, has been dropped, DROPPED from the BBC broadcast lineup.

Well do tell.

Yes, it was because of this MUST SEE TV! In case you missed these fine broadcasts, the series details many of the clear and present health and well being risks to purebred dogs.

While Ms. X cheered the series, she must issue her comrades a balancing perspective to consider - BBC is basically state-run television in Britain, funded by taxpayers. It is NOT a free market force.

How do you think this public censure of purebred dogs will effect registrations of the Kennel Club in Britain? Will it have spillover effects into the US?

Kennel Club chairman Ronnie Irving said he "was very sorry" that BBC audiences would miss out on the "remarkable diversity" of the show.

"However, we have been forced to reject the insupportable conditions imposed by the BBC, who have told us they will only televise the show in 2009 if certain breeds are excluded from participating.

Those breeds include

Basset hound
Clumber spaniel
Dogue de Bordeaux
Neopolitan mastiff
Blood hound
Shar pei
St Bernard
Chow chow
German shepherd
Rhodesian ridgeback
Cavalier spaniel

The british Kennel Club, of course, has a plan that should counter any falling revenue.

The club has announced it plans to issue new rules about how pedigree dogs should be bred and, in partnership with The Dogs Trust charity, has commissioned an independent review - the results of which are due to revealed in early 2009.

And then, part B.

The club is also calling on the government to give it statutory powers to make its Accredited Breeder Scheme compulsory throughout the country - a system that would make it illegal for non-members to produce or sell puppies.

Hot Dog! They've just been knocked around for promoting genetic defects and they want the government to give them real power to make every dog breeder in the country conform to their standards!

I wonder if our beloved "Kennel Club" might have something similar in mind.

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Man up', Fido!

I guess it's an old story that environmental contaminants are finding their way into our water supplies, food chain, and ultimately our bodies. And, our furry friends bodies'.

It wasn't too long ago, a certain dog discussion list held a heated debate about the temperament of their breed of choice. Some contended the breed's edge, or hardness, was being bred out. Others countered "hardness" was not in the AKC standard and inappropriate.

At the time it seemed like the typical argument. One side claims today's barbie breeders are pandering to a soft, lawsuit happy society at the expense of a defensive breed, every dog was becoming a golden retriever. The other side claimed the show breeders were actively preserving all of the breeds original guarding and protecting traits and the dissenters just didn't know what the dog was supposed to be like.

Yaddi yadda.

What nobody thought to interject, was that the temperaments might indeed be feminizing, but it wasn't necessarily through selective breeding pressures.

Maybe the softness (like osteosarcomas?) is sneaking in through the water pipe.

Two stories today highlight new concerns about gender-bending chemicals in the environment.

From The Independent:

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

This quote was great:

Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them

99% Not adequately regulated? Did you hear that FDA? (Don't you love it when the truth slips out? I'll bet that's not what the EU said either when they approved those chemicals for general use.)

Now for some humor:

But Britain has long sought to water down EU attempts to control gender-bender chemicals and has been leading opposition to a new regulation that would ban pesticides shown to have endocrine-disrupting effects. Almost all the other European countries back it, but ministers – backed by their counterparts from Ireland and Romania – are intent on continuing their resistance at a crucial meeting on Wednesday. They say the regulation would cause a collapse of agriculture in the UK, but environmentalists retort that this is nonsense because the regulation has get-out clauses that could be used by British farmers.

Let's break it down. The control of gender-bender chemicals would mean farmers would have to stop using certain pesticides because that's how a lot of this stuff ends up in the water supply. But, farmers shouldn't worry, because they can get an exemption to keep using the pesticides.

So what is the point of the law? Oh yeah. It shows they care. And they can seriously inconvenience the middle class home owners who might use a little bit of pesticide on their gardens.

Please understand Ms. X is not in favor of gender bender chemicals in pesticides. After all, I have (had) babies, and my beloved fur creatures occasionally have (had) babies. And I like my girls girls and my boys boys.

But I don't like government trying to solve our problems. I'm not going to do it in this post, but I would bet - or no, as it is pretty certain - that the widespread use of gender-bender pesticides could be traced back to government in the first place. Soybeans and corn come to mind.

But not to worry. If pesticides are banned, the farmers will just turn to genetically modified plants that are resistant to the creepy-crawlies. (Unfortunately not the Monsanto human kind.)