From Lee Steeves, CKC Director Zone 1
As you all know, there has been on-going discussion among provincial Veterinary Associations surrounding the procedures of cropping ears and docking tails. In New Brunswick, a ban on these procedures was effected by the NBVMA and has come into effect this year. In Newfoundland, cropping ears has been legislated out of existence ten years ago. PEI and Nova Scotia as well as Saskatchewan have considered provincial bans and I was advised at a meeting with CVMA on Sunday that PEI did put into effect a ban on cropping and docking at their November meeting.
In October, I was alerted that the discussion of cropping and docking would be on the annual meeting agenda of the NSVMA. Immediately, I contacted the President to request the opportunity to speak to the assembly and to present the CKC position. That request was refused by the NSVMA executive stating that this is a closed meeting and that presentations are not accepted. I did write a letter to the NSVMA and requested that it be read at the AGM, outlining the CKC position, the work we are doing with breed clubs and the progress being made by CKC on many initiatives aimed at making Canada one of the most progressive countries in the world in which to own a dog. Again, unfortunately this letter was not read. As in New Brunswick, there were spirited discussions at the AGM. No decision was taken immediately and the Executive Council determined that further dialogue needed to take place with more of the membership - most of whom were not in attendance (the AGM is held on a Saturday afternoon in Halifax so attendance is not a possibility for many veterinarians in the province). After the meeting, understanding that the CKC position had not been put forward, I sent a letter to every Veterinarian in the province of Nova Scotia outlining the points made in the letter sent to NSVMA and asking for their consideration of our position in responding to the Executive Council's request for their input. I have also met with as many practices as possible to personally put forward our position and to hear the views of the vets.
On Sunday, I flew to Ottawa and with the CEO of the CKC presented the CKC
position to the CVMA. In attendance were the CVMA representatives from NS, PEI, NB, Quebec, Ontario and the President from Saskatchewan as well as CVMA staff members. To say we were met with less than a welcoming audience is to understate the day. It was a challenging couple of hours, with no movement on the part of the vets who advised that anything we do short of a full rewrite of our standards to immediately take away cropping and docking is
too little too late. There was some softening of that position from Ontario, a comment that this is not yet on the radar in Quebec as yet and input that Nova Scotia is considering legislating these procedures out of existence.
We all have work to do. These vets are not only speaking of cropping and docking. Several, led by New Brunswick, are openly critical of the CKC's breed standards, feel that breeders are poorly educated with respect to health, genetics and breeding practices to support an animal's welfare and are censorious of breeders - in particular those breeders who breed conformation dogs for show. They are criticizing our standards for individual breeds and are of the opinion that we are not supporting the puppy purchasers with healthy dogs.
I would urge each one of you to have a conversation with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ask his/her views on purebred dogs and dog breeding, on your own breeding practices from his/her perspective and develop an understanding of where your veterinarian is positioned with respect to your hobby of dog breeding. It is important to all of us that we understand where our vets are positioned with respect to our breeding of dogs, of our particular breeds and our future in dogs.
Many of you know me personally and know that I am not an alarmist nor am I a
believer in escalating an issue. At this time, I am deeply concerned for our relationship with the veterinary community. There are changes that we will need to make and we at the Board table are aware of that. Nothing stays constant in any part of our lives. We will over the next year be offering opportunities for breeder education and accreditation through a program that we have been working on at the Board table for a decade. We will be offering a medical registry and have already provided to you an outreach program that you and your kennel club are able to present in your community. We will support responsible dog ownership week and will continue to work at forming partnerships with those organizations with similar views, values and positions. But it is now important that you as a breeder, owner or pet enthusiast move forward as well, taking advantage of these tools we are providing and developing a better sense of those that we are working with - the dog owning public, puppy purchasers and our vets.
I look forward to hearing from many of you letting me know how these conversations go, which vets are supportive of you as a breeder and where you think we might go form here.
CKC Director Zone 1