Crufts 2009 Goes On Without the BBC

12th December 2008

Today the Kennel Club confirmed that it and the BBC will be unable to continue working together in 2009 for the broadcast of the world’s greatest celebration of dogs, Crufts, which in previous years has attracted over 14 million viewers in the UK and additional audiences worldwide. This position was reached after the Kennel Club regrettably had to refuse to comply with the unreasonable demands insisted on by the BBC, to exclude certain breeds of dog from the group competition at the show. These demands took no account of the measures the Kennel Club has in place to improve the health of pedigree dogs, or of the fact that judges will be trained to help ensure that all dogs being awarded prizes at Crufts will be healthy representatives of their breed.

More than ever, Crufts 2009 will set the standard for all future Kennel Club licensed dog shows and the Kennel Club will be running a comprehensive education programme for judges to ensure that only the healthiest dogs are rewarded in the show ring at Crufts 2009 and beyond.

Ronnie Irving, Kennel Club Chairman, said ”I am very sorry that BBC audiences around the world will not be able to join us in celebrating all dogs in 2009 and to see the remarkable diversity of dogs and activities on show at Crufts; ranging from the show classes to agility displays, the Friends for Life competition and the unsung heroes who take part in breed rescue.

”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. We are unable to agree to these demands, as it would compromise both contractual obligations and our general responsibility to dog exhibitors and our audience and we believe it would be inappropriate and counterproductive to exclude any recognised breed from Crufts.

“We are obviously disappointed and confused with this outcome as we hoped the broadcast would have supported our focus on health and welfare issues, given advice about caring for and training dogs and showcased the charitable work that we support. This TV exposure would have benefited all dogs and given viewers a well-rounded picture of what the new Crufts in 2009 is all about.”

In October 2008 the Kennel Club announced a clear strategy to show how it is further focusing its activities on the health and welfare of all dogs. It announced mandatory compliance with its strict code of ethics for all breed clubs registered with the Kennel Club.

Earlier this month, it completed its review for each of the 209 pedigree dog breeds in the UK and announced revised standards that will have far-reaching benefits for the health and welfare of dogs. These new breed standards and health plans will benefit from the extensive research that has been funded by the Kennel Club in conjunction with renowned veterinary research centres over a number of years. The overall aim is that all pedigree dogs should be fit for function and that breeders and judges should not reward dogs with obvious conditions or exaggerations, which would be detrimental in any way to their health.

Ronnie Irving added, “Crufts is the world’s best platform to talk to dog owners about how we can work together to ensure their dogs’ health and well being and veterinary and scientific experts will be on hand to explain how research has developed over the last 10 years which can help us to resolve genetic issues generally.

“Dogs and their owners world wide, look forward to Crufts every year and I can promise all dog lovers, anywhere in the world, that the show will go on. I ask all those that care about dogs and animal welfare to support us and to flock to the show to make it the biggest and best ever.

“Crufts 2009 in particular, will focus on thanking the unsung heroes of the dog world, such as breed rescue volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that unwanted and abandoned dogs find a good home.”