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"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing". Edmund Burke

"It is important in order to go forward and preserve the breed that breeders/breed clubs take more responsibility for discovering what is going on in their breed". Unknown

"Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes". Confucius

"People...they break your spirit. Dogs only break your heart". C. Anderson-Smith

"Failure to disclose is as unethical as lying about it.." C.A. Sharp

"It takes breeders with a true love of the breed and the determination to see it become stronger and better to disclose problems within their lines". S. Milton

"Traits will not disappear by themselves. Nature will not save us because natural selection has nothing to do with dog breeding. Dog breeders in general need to face genetic defects as a realistic part of the problems encountered in the process of producing good sound animals". Dr George A. Padgett DVM

"If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people". Virginia Woolf

Determination of Endangered Species Sec 4-General a) the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range b)overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes c) disease or predation d)the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms e) other natural or man made factors affecting its continued existence

"Conspiracy of silence promotes the spread of hereditary disease while attempting to hide it" C.A. Sharp

"I truly believe knowledge is a battle well on its way to being won". C. Byington

"Study the past if you would define the future". Confucius

"You can shove it under the carpet and not have to look at it, but it still doesn't go away". Unknown

"The elegance of honesty needs no adornment". Merry Browne

"It is a blessed thing that in every age someone has had the individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions". Robert Green Ingersoll

"If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand". Confucius

"Honesty is the first chapter of the books of wisdom". Thomas Jefferson

ARTICLES WRITTEN ON ETHICS

Article- Seven Foundations For A Successful Dog Breeder by Jonathan Jeffrey Kimes

Article -Omerta: The Breeders Code of Silence by Sierra Milton

Article -Ethics and the Responsible Breeder on Ingle & Meads Vizsla Site

Article- Ethical Breeding Principles by Roy F. Dverak

Article- Sleeping Dragons: Hereditary Diseases and Breeder Ethics by C.A. Sharp

Article- Breeders Ethics: Myth and Legends -About Ibizian Hounds Site

OTHER INTERESTING LINKS

Article-Breeding For Genetic Health by Carole
Adley

Article-Eliminating Genetic Disease in Dogs-A Buyers Perspective by Gary F Mason

Site- IMPRESSIVE-Top winning, top producing Quarter Horse of all time. Read what happened to the horse community

Site- The Canine Diversity Project Dr John Armstrong

Site- Canine Inherited Disorders Database Canadian

 

SILENCE.gif (681 bytes)

By Debbie Fulkerson
March 1, 2005

*WARNING*
If editorials with writing styles that shoot from the hip,
that are tinged with anger and passion tend to
cause you uneasiness, you may want to click
on the X on the right side of this screen now!

Unfortunately it is this writers belief that some are firmly
embracing a "code of silence" in this writers chosen breed,
and in doing such they are flirting dangerously with disaster.

Some breeders, owners, caretakers, and organized clubs
proclaim a true love for the breed, yet the question surfaces
constantly in my mind, as to why we are selectively sharing,
if at all, genetic health information on these beautiful animals
in any given venue.

The American Kennel Club which registered
my chosen breed back in 1926, states under
Responsible Breeding Steps - Know Your Genetics:
You must be well-versed in the genetic problems
that affect your breed. Now isn't that a novel idea in
terms of responsible breeding? Next question
that comes to mind is just how does one get
to be well-versed in genetic problems that
affect our breed?

One might expect to utilize the source of their National
or Parent club in obtaining information on genetic
problems that affect their breed. For instance the
Golden Retriever Club of America website posts
under Health Issues: The following, while not all-inclusive,
are some of the more common hereditary problems that may
be encountered in Goldens and address the issues.
The West Highland White Terrier Club of America posts
under Health Issues: A series of informative papers on
the major diseases affecting Westies is provided
on the website, in the Health area and also available
through Regional counselors and the TEAM Westie program.

The website for the parent club of my chosen breed reflects
under Animal Health... that if you want to learn more about
my chosen breeds health you can purchase their 45
page booklet - Introduction To My Chosen Breed. Which
is temporarily out of stock? The only other reference found
pertaining to health issues on the site were under
Recommended Practices found in the Appendix of The
General Recommendations of the Biological Defects
Committee of the My Chosen Breed Club of America, Inc.
#8. Finally, when defects do occur, every attempt should
be made to get as complete a diagnosis as possible and
a detailed case history and the facts should be
reported fully and in confidence to this committee or its
medical designate. As of this date no contact information for
the Biological Defects Committee or its medical designate
to report any "defects" could be found, nor any reference to
any human being to contact concerning health issues.

Years ago while attending a National Specialty, the
caretakers of this breed club were handing out a
health survey pertaining to my chosen breed, which was
announced, that one could fill out even though one was
not a member. I completed two of them and the subject
since that time has been mute, until recently when it
was posted via a Internet list there was yet another survey
that had surfaced. Where are the results from the first survey,
and if it was not successful and as much out of the
Parent clubs control, what has changed to make this
second survey and its results any different?

In effort to develop significant resources for basic and applied
health programs, the AKC Canine Health Foundation has
allocated 2 million dollars this year alone, (13 mil since1995)
in research funds to study various diseases in dogs.
Grants for this research on specific breeds
according to the site are based on scientific merit
and significance in a particular breed as identified
by the Parent Club. Since my chosen breed is one of the
very few breeds that were not allocated any of these funds,
this writer questions if it is the parent club's position that
my chosen breed is genetically sound and disease
free? If that is the case, I extend invitation to any
representative of this club to meet my Dysplastic bitch
from one line, my Hypothyroid bitch from another line, and
the littermate to the two that are/were afflicted with
a genetic Autoimmune disease, from yet another line.

While not a member of my chosen breeds parent club,
for numerous reasons which are another editorial
for another day, I would however like to extend
a challenge to those that are members.
Liberate yourselves from this silence, in effort to
justify your goals of protecting the future of this breed.
In the words of C.A. Sharp, "No single
entity will be more aware of what a breeds genetic
drawbacks are more than a breed club." If this entities
powers that be are actually not aware, or are reluctant to
acknowledge or deal with anything beyond the big show,
or show hesitation by tangling issues in red tape
that educate or provide leadership, then
may I suggest they step down, replacing them with
willing candidates that will address all the issues,
and hopefully while they are there they will revise the
membership criteria to read more in tune with
the year 2005 and without discrimination.

The silence extends beyond the breed club
(while generally overlapping each other) however
they hold no less importance to this issue. Some of the
breeders of my chosen breed also participate in this
disservice of silence. Sadly it has been observed through
the years that on any given health issue brought up
amongst breeders, that instead of awarding acclaim
to those that have shown the courage to bring
these issues to the forefront, we have heard the
term "hysterical fanatic's" used. They have been
questioned if they have scientific data to back up
their claims. They have been termed Doomsday Zealot's
and subtle suggestions have been made that they
share the same theories and beliefs of those groups
opposed to the breeding of Purebred dogs. Some of this
writers personal favorites include "Get over it," "Sh*t
happens," "Move on," and "You love her, right?". This writer
can only attribute these attitudes to denial, ego, or an effort
to keep the issues under wraps for future profit gain.
When information IS sometimes exchanged on genetic issues
my chosen breed are afflicted with, it is usually heard in the
form of "witch hunt" whispers among the select group.

Fortunately observed is that many breeders try to screen
honestly for genetic disease. Unfortunately... because
of a few.... that think they are outsmarting the system
and care nothing about actually preserving the breed,
painstakingly the results of the tests are now called into
question. How they were specifically tested, when they
were specifically tested, who specifically interpreted the
tests, and were the tests repeated? Which breeder
took the dog in? Did the vet actually scan the microchip?
Is there actually proof of the test results?
Some breeders take it a step further and proudly
announce their current positive test screening results however
they conveniently forget to disclose by omission their
skeleton's from generations past as if it does not matter.

There are those breeders that justify not screening at all.
They refuse the notion that their dogs are less than
genetically perfect or they use the excuse that the testing
and registry systems are flawed to justify their dangerous
irresponsible behavior. They do the breed no favors.

Many of these attitudes carry on down to some of the new
owners, as they are invested financially
and emotionally. Some are enamored, and mentored
by the breeders they purchase their dogs from
and are urged to adhere to a certain degree of
loyalty to them, and only them. Along with
that loyalty, they sometimes unknowingly inherit
or take on the same unethical behavior or attitudes
as the breeder, in effort to protect their financial
and emotional investment.

It has sadly been observed over the years that some of our
pet people as they are referred to, are unknowingly faced with using
their children's college funds or use up their life's savings
in effort to keep their animals healthy, alive or pain free. They not
only exhaust their accounts, they exhaust themselves
mentally, as some of the breeder's turn their backs, and
they too unfortunately remain silent with little or no recourse.

This silence reminds the writer of the ugly disease we
recently battled. The disease rampaged from one system
to another system to yet another. One can hope that this
vicious cycle of silence does not have the same end
result we faced with the disease. A good start in breaking
the cycle would be taking responsibility and admitting
the problem of silence truly exists in this breed. The next
step would entail courage and determination. Honest
disclosure without fear of humiliation or shame. It is no
crime to have honestly or ethically bred a litter with
health issues, however it is a crime to stick our heads
in the sand and ignore it. Check your ego's at the door.
With our ever shrinking gene pool ask yourself
if we can afford to avoid these issue's any
longer? Work on restoring the trust amongst ourselves
and commit once again to ensuring the goal of preserving
a healthy strong breed by sharing, communicating
and educating in a forthright honest manner.
Don't these elegant, beautiful and intelligent creatures
deserve that much?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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