Is this the reason?

We have all wondered why Pedigree Dogs Exposed took place with the seeming blessing and co-operation of the Kennel Club. Just maybe the answer was found in the weekend cupboard clear out.

Anybody remember “Passion for Pedigree?” It’s a television programme that has totally slipped from the memory. Back in the late 90s the BBC had an “educational and documentary” programme called Modern Times and under that banner Passion for Pedigree was commissioned. A tape of that programme was amongst all the others. Filming was allowed in Clarges Street itself and the camera was even present at a Committee meeting. Chairing was Miss Churchill and one of the committee members was a Mr R Irving. Miss Churchill was also responsible for “explaining” pedigree dogs and the job of the Kennel Club; it was glorious! At one point you can nearly hear the person she is speaking to attempt to ask a question. Miss Churchill pauses just a fraction and gives THAT look. Miss C isn’t interrupted again!

The entire programme shows pedigree dog people as gently eccentric and a bit odd but generally nice people. It even showed a Pekingese self-whelping a litter which wouldn’t have happened in last year’s BBC documentary on pedigree dogs! Ten years on from Passion for Pedigree did a certain committee member remember something we had all forgotten about and decide he would become Sybil?

You Tube or a dedicated website?

A day of rain and vague knowledge of “in there somewhere” caused a cupboard to be turned out. Four days later it still isn’t sorted as it takes a while to go through hours and hours of tape. Yes, they are still in existence; not particularly good quality some times; downright poor quality other times but that history, the Glen of Imaal Terrier in the 1980s, has re-emerged.

It was known the early video cameras had been present but how much was left after 20 plus years? A working video player (with instructions on how to use it) was the first requirement plus a cartridge for slotting an old fashioned video tape into so the machine could play it. They were sorted and there it was; waists, one chin, hair and youth. Where we really ever that young? Bwyan, Biggles, Gor, Billy, Tom, Bigguns so many names from the past and seeing them again is very emotional. Counting 8,9,10, 11 dogs in a class. Oh boy, we were numerous back then. Some of the video camera tapes are still to be played because the correct equipment for viewing can’t be found as yet but somebody must have it somewhere. Can you help? It has been suggested that such an important visual history of Glens should be digitalised (if possible) and made available for general viewing. It probably could be done if it is wanted.

It isn’t just the UK on those tapes. Europe and America in the 90s also feature. One is labelled ARBA Cherry Blossom but that is one that needs equipment not found yet. If any foreign Glen Club would like them for their archives they can have them (if they can be sorted).

One tape that is playing remarkably well is of an event often forgotten; the Terriers of Ireland Seminar. This took place at Uttoxeter Racecourse and was a four breed specific seminar hosted by the relevant breed clubs. Ro Whinn-Sladden did a still remarkably clear talk (after all this time) and Liz Gay took the hands on assessments. Oh, memories. If anybody needs a Glen Association Breed Seminar could this one count? If you were there , of course.

Also found was the possible, even probable, reason why the Kennel Club co-operated with Pedigree Dogs Exposed!

Just what do we have to do?

Alright this is going to be political (again) but just what do we have to do to get a fair say in the media? Tens of thousands of pounds have been raised by dog people for health projects. They spend large amounts of their own money on having their animals tested for varying problems and what do they get in return “oh dear, oh dear, people are standing up to the very one-sided view of PDE so they are all nasty”.

The Kennel Club should have stood up when asked for a comment but what did they give; “oh dear, oh dear nobody should be picked out individually”. What in tarnation did that programme do to dog people? It led to shouts of “Nazi” being hurled at Pedigree Dog people. People who had bred stock all their lives to well-known, established and accepted principles were suddenly bracketed with holocaust initiators. Actions taken within the law, and by the law, were suddenly questioned “because that programme said so”.

The stereotypical Independent reader was always supposed to be trendily left wing but lately it has leant the other way but obviously not where balancing SOME facts are concerned. It seems what Tony Blair said back in 2007 “Comment is a perfectly respectable part of journalism. But it is supposed to be separate. Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible. The truth is a large part of the media today not merely elides the two but does so now as a matter of course.

In other words, this is not exceptional. It is routine. The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is the Independent newspaper. Let me state at the outset it is a well-edited lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else.

But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views not news. That was why it was called the Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper not merely a newspaper.

still holds good today!

Will any of these reviews actually agree with each other?

Another review is announced:

The Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare is forming a working group on the welfare of pedigree dogs following the controversial BBC documentary shown in August ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed.’ The documentary highlighted the serious issues arising from genetic diseases owing to decades of inbreeding which has affected show dogs and domestic pets.

Eric Martlew MP, Chairman of APGAW stated;

“I’m delighted that the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare has decided to respond positively to the issues raised by the documentary and welfare organisations. It is extremely important that we establish what health and welfare implications there are on pedigree dogs bred to certain set standards and then have informed and considered recommendations in place to ensure their future welfare which can be presented in a report to the Secretary of State.

I’m really pleased that this working group is supported by all the APGAW officers, who are cross-party politicians and will have the opportunity to bring their views to the table. I hope that anyone with an interest in this issue will get in contact with the Working Group so that we can hear from as wide a cross-section of society as possible.”

Written submissions should be sent to: Pedigree Dogs Working Group, APGAW, C/o Eric Martlew MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. For further information please contact Marisa Heath, group co-ordinator on or 07736 899547