FEEDBACK FROM SINGLE BREED/BREED SPECIALIST JUDGES
The past week has been both challenging and emotional. Never in my 56 years involvement with pedigree dogs have I known such unrest amongst so many genuine and committed dog enthusiasts. Never have I known the Kennel Club to be under such pressure from so many factions.
The board of the K.C. must start to listen to the concerns of judges, breeders and exhibitors, and more importantly they must act upon these concerns.
The response to my posts of February 3 and February 5 re- the importance of the breed specialist /single breed judges has been overwhelming. Over 500 individuals have contacted me expressing their concern. I have analysed this small sample of 500 to the best of my ability, and I now share with you the feedback. I will try to keep it as simple as possible to avoid confusion.
1) 55% of the respondents confirmed that they would NOT sign up to the judges academy. Others are seriously considering their positions.
2) There appears to be no factual information about the actual number of active judges. Consequently, crucially important decisions are being made without being in a position to quantify the size of the problem. Candidly, the K.C. should have prepared better before embarking upon such an important project which is a defining moment in the world of pedigree dogs.
3) It is estimated that there are approximately 6,000 to 15,000 active judges. Using this statistic, and based upon the feedback received, we could be in danger of losing between 3,000 and 8,250 judges.4) Does the K.C. understand the ramifications of losing so many judges, or are they simply not bothered? For our valued breed specialists to be catastrophically affected in the way that has occurred is just wrong.
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5) A high ranking K.C. official said that “the J. C. F. is all about raising standards of judging”. It is my opinion that if we lose between 3,000 and 8,250 breed specialist judges the standards of judging will fall dramatically.
6) 77% of judges who intend to retire from judging are prepared to act as mentors in a voluntary capacity.
7) Arguments implying that breed specialists may be seeking “financial gain” are fruitless and inflammatory. The breed specialists simply want their reasonable arguments against the new system to be heard and taken into account before decisions are made that will irrevocably affect the canine world to the detriment of all concerned.
8) The “broken-record technique” of simply reiterating arguments in favour of the new system to forestall further discussion is not having the intended effect. I think it is unwise, unnecessary and foolish to continue reiterating these arguments until there has been a period of full consultation.
9) There are other ways of funding the J. C. F. programme, and these need to be researched. None of the financial burden should not be put upon the shoulders of the judges.
10) Please acknowledge and be respectful of our more senior breed specialists. They have given so much to so many breeds. Many of them are now “feeling useless and unwanted", and that the J. C. F. “is just a culling exercise”. Remember, the grey vote is a powerful vote.
What is happening to world of pedigree dogs concerns me greatly. You just need to read this week’s canine press and the sensible comments that are being made on social media about many subjects to understand my concern, particularly about the J. C. F. AND THE K.C. Code of Ethics.
The K.C. board of directors is the decision making body that makes the strategy, and the directors are the controllers of policy. It is the responsibility of these elected officers to clearly understand the depth of concern and the feelings of so many sensible and caring people. By modest amendment to policy they could create immeasurable goodwill. The responsibility of the K.C. is not just about caring for the dog, it is also about caring for the judges.