Minutes - 09.05.2010


Members present.


David Taylor (NBTC, Chairman), Norman Ames (BTA), Sharon Ames (MBTC),Frank Bebbington (NBTC), Dr Hefin Jones, OBE (MBTC), Derek Owen (NBTC), Dorothy Owen (MBTC) and Stuart Yearley (BTA).


At the start of the meeting the Chairman, David Taylor, welcomed Mrs Sharon Ames to the Health Committee, as the “reserve” representative of the MBTC.



Apologies for Absence.


Apologies were received from Garry Hurley (BTA)



Minutes of the Last Meeting.


The Minutes of the last meeting, held on Sunday 18th October 2009 had already been checked and agreed by the Health Group prior to being posted on the BTHG website and forwarding to the secretaries of the 3 breed clubs.



Matters arising from the Minutes.


At their last meeting the Health Group had spent considerable time discussing the eye testing protocol for TRD in relation to the KC Accredited Breeders Scheme.  In view of the nature of the condition it was felt that a single one-off test should suffice.


FYB reported that an email sent to Diana Brooks-Ward on the 29th October, 2009, expressing concern about this matter had, to date, remain unanswered.


Action - FYB to again contact Diana Brooks-Ward regarding this matter.


Since its inception the BTHG has maintained a database of all the results of CT (COMMD1) tests carried out at the Animal Health Trust and has sought a way whereby these results can be made available to the Bedlington fraternity without contravening the requirements of the Data Protection Act.


An email from Nigel Holmes (AHT) in response to a request from the Health Group for clarification on this matter indicated that the “COMMD1 Test Application Form” contained a clause whereby the test applicant agrees that the test result could be made available to breed club members.  He also stated that a copy of the results was sent to the Kennel Club who operate a scheme whereby Breed Clubs could apply to have the results made available via the KC website.


The meeting was informed that Dr Sampson (KC) had confirmed the availability of this scheme.


Action - FYB to find out whether or not application via the BTHG Group would equate with an application from the three breed clubs.



The BTHG Constitution.


At their meeting on 20th April 2008 the Health Group discussed amendments to the Constitution.  Subsequently, a draft constitution, incorporating the proposed amendments, was prepared and submitted to the secretaries of the 3 breed clubs for discussion and ratification at their 2009 AGMs.


Unfortunately, further modifications were suggested by the breed club members.  These were considered by the Health Group at their meeting which followed the 2009 AGMs and a re-draft of the constitution was prepared.


This re-draft was agreed and ratified by the breed clubs at their 2010 AGMs.


Action - FYB to arrange for the new constitution to be posted on the BTHG web-site.



The BTHG Website.


The Health Group has recently been informed that our webmaster (Yvonne Bannister) has transferred the web-site to a new provider.


Apparently, it was mentioned at the MBTC AGM that there was a lack of information about how to contact members of the Health Group on the web-site and Yvonne has suggested the need for a contact “facility”.


This was discussed and it was agreed that the telephone numbers of the BTHG members should be shown on the web-site.  During the discussion it was pointed out that it would be likely that many of the queries would relate to aspects of health and welfare and that it is essential to stress that it is the dog owner’s responsibility to consult their veterinary surgeon on any matters of this nature.


It was also agreed that a valuable addition to the web-site would be the establishment of a general advice page on the web-site, based on queries raised by club members.  This could be a means of pre-empting many potential queries.


Another useful addition to the web-site would be the publication a copy of the BTHG Annual Report.  This was agreed.  It was further agreed that, in accordance with the constitution, the chairman/secretary should prepare a report of the activities of the Health Group in November/December of each year.  This would be forwarded to all the group members for checking and suggested amendments/additions.  A finalised copy would then be placed on the BTHG web-site and copies sent to the 3 breed club secretaries for inclusion as an item on their AGM agenda.



The Breed Health Coordinator Report.


A brief verbal report of the activities of the Breed Health Coordinator was presented to the meeting.  It was agreed that a written report should be posted on the BTHG web-site.


Action - FYB to arrange for the posting of a report on the BTHG web-site.



The Bateson Report.


The Bateson Report was discussed at some length.  It was generally agreed that the report and its recommendations were an “over-the-top, knee-jerk reaction” to the “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” TV programme that had been shown on BBC 2 in 2008.  Whilst the report seemed to recognise the basic problems, its recommendations seemingly fail to offer nothing other than general solutions and there were no indications as to how these were to be implemented, monitored or, where necessary, enforced.


The report seemed to generate considerable confusion and make what appear to be contradictory statements, particularly in respect to whom in the “dog fraternity” it is directed.


It would seem that a considerable amount of work will be need to be done by whichever “body” takes the contents of this report on board if it is to find acceptance at the “grass roots” level.



Update on CT Research.


No update has been received since that issued by Dr Susan Haywood at the end of 2009 when samples had been sent to Dr Cathryn Mellersh at the Animal Health Trust for DNA analysis.


It is understood that there was some delay in starting the DNA analysis because of the unavailability of certain items for the new analytical equipment but that this has now been resolved.


However, the fact that there has been no further interim report is to be expected.  It was pointed out that the usual accepted practice in scientific research work of this nature is that no interim results are disclosed once the work is underway, and that these are usually made available via the publication of a “research paper” in an appropriate scientific journal once the work is completed



Hyperkeratosis.


The Chairman, David Taylor, drew the attention of the meeting to a report of the investigative work on Hyperkeratosis currently being undertaken on behalf of the Irish Terrier breed clubs and published in their breed notes in a recent edition of Dog World.


To date it would appear that 344 swabs, including 12 from “affected” dogs, have been submitted for analysis but no tissue biopsy samples have yet been received.


Work is also being undertaken on genetic mapping but, to date, no “marker gene” has been identified.



Any Other Business.


Two items for discussion were raised under Any Other Business:


A breed club member has reported that he had been given what seems to be conflicting information relating to the practice of “dew claw removal”


Action - FYB to ascertain the current position and report to the club member concerned.


It was brought to the attention of the meeting that someone had attempted to purchase a male puppy with the specific intention of using it as a stud dog.  In principle, there may be nothing wrong with this.  However, further discussion caused the breeder of the puppy to become suspicious of the intentions of the would-be purchaser and the sale did not proceed.

Further investigation confirmed these suspicions and elicited the information that this particular would-be purchaser could be engaged in puppy farming.


Action - FYB to ensure that this advice about the need for vigilance when selling a puppy is posted on the web-site (Home Page).



Date of Next Meeting.


The date of next meeting of the BTHG is to be confirmed.






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