Friday, November 15, 2013

The Shame and Stain of the American Kennel Club

The good news is that the AKC continues to auger into the ground.  A few statistics from the AKC concerning 2011, the last year for which any data has been provided:

  • Number of AKC breeders declined 10% in 2011 for a total decline of 34% in prior 3 yrs.
  • Number of Commercial breeders dropped 36% from prior year
  • Number of puppies sold at retail stores declined 20%

Back in March of 2010, I predicted that the AKC would go out of business by 2025.   

I may have been optimistic -- the decline is speeding up, and at some point there will be a tipping effect. 

Registration numbers are so low that the AKC no longer publishes them -- a very bad sign, and one reason corporate sponsors might want to think twice before they plop money down for what is probably less than imagined. 

So what is the AKC doing about it?  Well, they have hired a public relations firm, of course!  Time to paper over the holes!  Who are you going to believe, your lying eyes or Edelman public relations, the same honest and trustworthy firm who told us smoking does not cause cancer?

And what does the Chairman of the AKC say is the new mission of the AKC and its public relations liar-for-hire factory?  Why:
  • We will de-stigmatize responsible breeders.
  • We will change the conversation.
 Right.  They will "destigmatize" responsible breeders.  A nice goal. 

Job One there might be kicking the English Bulldog (a top-10 breed in the AKC) to the curb.

There is no such thing as an ethical or responsible breeder of English Bulldogs.

Job Two might be to stop floating the cost of dog shows on the backs of puppy mill registrations. 

Yes, that's right, every dog show ribbon is paid for with the misery and disease inherent to the puppy mill business.  And guess what?  Puppy mill breeders are so valued by the AKC that they get special discounts in order to subsidize them. 

Are all those "good" AKC breeders feeling very special and well treated now?

Are all of you "responsible" breeders happy and ecstatic to be tossed into the same bin as the AKC puppy miller and the AKC breeders intentionally raising dogs that are deformed, diseased and dysfunctional?  Ever hear of the proverb, "Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas?"  Bingo.

As for changing the conversation, good luck with that until the AKC CHANGES THE WAY THEY DO BUSINESS.

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To say that the AKC has financial troubles is not to say they are on the verge of insolvency.  The organization has about $62 million a year in income.

That said it also has about a $62 million worth of unfunded retirement plans looming on the horizon, and no good way to fill that hole.  Prior to 2012, the AKC had been running operating deficits for two years, and it is now just barely running in the black (largely due to cost-cutting measures and a turn around in the stock market thanks to the war-ending efforts of the Obama Administration).

Americans, of course, continue to acquire dogs. As I have noted in the past, however, more than half of all American dogs are now cross-breeds or mongrels and today AKC-registered dogs represent less than 10% of all dogs. 

Of the approximately 500,000 dogs registered by the AKC last year, more than half were members of just 10 breeds, while the rarest 50 breeds combined represented less than 2 percent of all AKC-registered dogs.

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