Julie Nelson

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About Julie Nelson

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  1. Integrity issues for stud registries. Since the beginning of time when humans began keeping records of any kind of birth, death, marriage [mating] any person or organisation which keeps a stud / birth registry will be reliant on the truthfulness and honesty of those who provide the information. With recent developments in the French Bulldog world where one dog so far has been found to have been entered which was not the dog it was recorded as on the ANKC registry this has demonstrated the potential for anybody or group keeping such records to be at risk of the information they are provided being intentionally or accidentally incorrect. Most people issuing certificates include a disclaimer explaining that the information is certified to be correct to the best of their knowledge based on the information they have been provided with. So this has raised many issues and lots of people are pretty mad and have suffered because of the consequences the ANKC took. For the MDBA, no matter what the circumstance, our focus and primary concern is always about what is best for the dogs, the breeds and the people who own them. We made our decision on how to deal with this problem based on these things in that order. Anything else such as the integrity of the registry, the impact on our brand etc were much further down on the list. We looked at alternatives of how this may be handled including historical information on how other canine registries had dealt with similar breaches in the past, how keepers of stud books for other mammals have and might deal with this and we also considered what the registrar of human birth’s deaths and marriages does when information comes to them which shows someone who was believed to be a parent is shown not to be via DNA etc. So when we look to the future we all begin to ask how we can stop this from happening again and an obvious suggestion which has been put to the MDBA is to introduce mandatory DNA Identification for all breeding dogs. We could easily do this but we are still left with the test question. Would our desire to ensure the best possible integrity in our registry by introducing mandatory DNA testing be what is best for the dogs? At this time MDBA members don’t only use dogs which are owned by MDBA members in their breeding programs. They use male dogs and semen which are registered with other registries and owned by other people which do not have mandatory requirements for DNA identity testing. In fact we don’t know of any registry which has mandatory DNA identity requirements – though one overseas registry does have a requirement that when a stud dog has sired a certain number of litters he must be identified by DNA. So we could make it a rule to have all of the girls DNA identified that must be owned by our member to register puppies but if we introduced a ruling that all dogs including those not owned by MDBA members must be DNA identified before we enter them into our stud book that counteracts one of the advantages our members have in being able to use a wider gene pool. If the stud dog owner refuses to provide a DNA identity number to the breeder that would take a very, very large chunk out of choices available to our breeders in their breeding programs. Would this be what is best for ensuring the integrity of our registry? Yes. Would this be what is best for the dogs? No. So until such time as more canine registries are using mandatory DNA identity, because our members need to use their stud dogs to keep the gene pool diverse and healthy, our best strategy is to recommend DNA profiling and ensure we have people who have as their priority what is best for the dogs. People who understand a pedigree isn’t just about telling a story of the names in a dogs ancestry to prove the dog is pure but it is also a method of being able to track health issues especially those of a polygenic nature which don’t yet have health testing available. People who really do have their dog’s and their breed’s best interests as their primary focus before money or ribbons and that we don’t have requirements in our rules for our registry which make the breeders feel they need to tell lies. A vast majority of our members who have dogs in our registry have already sent us their DNA health test results which we have on file and which are able to be used for a test of parentage if required so that at least is a start and something no other registry does. We have a new forum which we will drop this in via our website if anyone would like to have some input and chat about it all.