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International Partnership for Dogs - Enhancing Dog Health, Well-Being, and Welfare - Join Us.

Brenda Bonnett

Administrators
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About Brenda Bonnett

  • Rank
    Administrator

Profile Information

  • Region
    North America
  • Location
    Georgian Bluffs, Ontario, Canada
  • Country
    Canada
  • Current Affiliation
    International Partnership for Dogs, CEO
  • Position / Title
    CEO
  • Interests
    Dog Breeding
    Dog Health
    Education
    Research
    Legal/Regulatory Issues
    Kennel Clubs
    Human-Dog Interactions
  • Academic Credentials
    PhD
    Bachelors degree
    Veterinary degree (e.g. DVM)
  • Expertise/Proficiencies
    Dog Health/Veterinary Medicine
    Dog Breeding
    Welfare
    Education
    Research
    Human-Animal Interactions
    Statistics/Epidemiology
    Writing/Communication
  • Specific Breed(s) of Interest
    Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Breed Club Rep; Board Member or Breeding/ Health Committee member
    No
  • Attended an International Dog Health Workshop
    Yes
  • Theme attended at 3rd IDHW in Paris
    IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs

Recent Profile Visitors

11,776 profile views
  1. This week is the anniversary of the First International Conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare that took place in the UK 2016. All the talks are on their YouTube channel. See our article following the Conference. I was honoured to give a presentation - and in that process to learn about the knowledge, methodology, and tools available from human behaviour change theory and practice to help us. My talk is posted on the HBC's YouTube channel under the title: How Beliefs and Attitudes about Dog Health and Welfare Limit Behaviour Change. In fact, the entire title was: Don't Know or Don't Care? How Beliefs and Attitudes about Dog Health and Welfare Limit Behaviour Change. ( See the Video Presentation HERE ) I am in general not a fan of watching videos of myself. But this is a good talk - helped by the fact it was prescribed to be only 15 minutes long! However, reviewing this talk I was struck by something that was equally positive and extremely disappointing. The material in this talk is as relevant today as it was 4 years ago. Perhaps even more so. We are coming out with more material this week on challenges around brachycephalic dogs that will highlight the pros and cons of legislative actions, the diversity in opinions, even from those within the world of pedigree dogs, from total denial to intense concern. There will be more talk about complexity, and the role of various stakeholders , e.g. veterinarians -- are they really doing all they can? I know that 4 years is not very long in terms of change for people or dogs. But we have also recently completed a chapter for an upcoming textbook and that work highlighted that problems in flat-faced dogs have been discussed at least since the late 1960's. So that is not 4 years, it is over 50 years. There has been a phenomenal increase in evidence for the prevalence and high risk of health issues, many of which incur welfare concerns, in the worst affected breeds. This has intensified in the last 10 years as the popularity of these breeds has increased, and then skyrocketed (see our Get a GRIHP! article on French Bulldogs). There have been many creative attempts to educate the public, and research to understand attachment to these dogs. Given all that.. I am sadly concerned that: There may still be some 'Don't Know' people out there... and we can continue trying to reach them. But, unfortunately there are some people, some very loud on social media, some in positions of influence in the dog world, who are displaying behaviour that comes across as 'Don't Care'. At least it seems that they don't care ENOUGH about the dogs to be willing to undertake the human behaviour change needed to sustain a healthy future for the breeds they 'love'. We have to find a way to help people understand that admitting there are problems is the first step towards resolving them.
  2. Come for the looks, stay for the personality? A mixed methods investigation of reacquisition and owner recommendation of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs ...is the latest analysis of data collected and reported on in a 2019 study - see - Great expectations, inconvenient truths, and the paradoxes of the dog-owner relationship for owners of brachycephalic dogs. As we said in that blog: "Popularity of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds is increasing internationally despite well-documented intrinsic health and welfare problems associated with their conformation." The previous study looked at aspects of the dogs and people that lead to such an intense bond. This 2020 article, based on the need for further understanding of the complexity of health and welfare of these flat-faced breeds, uses excellent scientific methods to explore data that explores emotions, beliefs, and feelings - i.e. human factors. They say: "Physical appearance is as a dominant factor attracting owners to brachycephalic breeds; however, whether these owners will choose their current breed for future ownership and develop ‘breed-loyalty’ in the face of health problems is not yet known." It is well-known that these breeds suffer with numerous conditions that result in ongoing, costly veterinary interventions. They may die young, and the whole situation is often heart-breaking for owners. And yet... do they want to get another one? Do they recommend the breed to friends and family members? Investigating these questions was the aim of this study. Study in a nutshell: included 2168 owners: (Pugs: n = 789; French Bulldog: n = 741; Bulldogs: n = 638) 93% of owners were highly likely to own their breed again in the future and 65.5% would recommend their breed to others there analysis showed that there was a tendency for increased attachment in first time owners, and that increased the likelihood of re-acquisition and/or recommendation however, those actions were decrease when the dog experienced an increased number of health problems, and dog behaviour being worse than expected people who thought their dog had better health than the average for the breed were less likely to get another or recommend so, when people have a dog with a lot of health issues, AND they perceive that this could be even worse in other dogs of the breed... they are less likely to reacquire or recommend of great concern was that owners say a great benefit of these breeds is their low requirement for exercise... that they have a sedentary nature Unfortunately, previous work by Dr. Packer, from years ago, and other studies since, show us that owners of flat-faced dogs tend not to recognize or admit that breed-typical characteristics like snorting, snoring, poor exercise and heat tolerance are truly indications of ill health, or of suffering. And as evidenced in the results of this study, they do not understand that reluctance to move and exercise might stem from clinical problems, e.g. inability to breath, rather than having a 'lazy' personality. Allowing dogs to become obese and not keeping them fit will only aggravate underlying problems. Do owners accidentally love them to death? The point of research like this it to learn about the people behind the breeds, so that we can develop educational resources and programs to help people understand the issues in the these incredibly population breeds. Their incredible surge in popularity, combined with the welfare challenges in individual dogs, are leading to heightened legislative regulations in Europe that may impact entire breeds, and, of course owners. Other relevant material: For more information on the Big Picture in French Bulldogs, see our Get a GRIHP! article. Owners' perception of 'responsible dog ownership' - blog by Dr. Brenda Bonnett DogWellNet section on Extremes of Conformation/Brachycephalics
  3. Finnish Investigation: Improving the implementation of animal welfare legislation in animal breeding Part II: Preliminary analysis of problems and means of intervention in the breeding of dogs Officially published in Finnish; unofficially translated to English. This investigation underpins the Finnish report: An investigation would curb problems with dog breeding through monitoring criteria and ethical delegation. (That link contains a translated Summary of the report written by the Finnish Food Authority as well as link to Kirsi Saino's Commentary, IT MUST BE POSSIBLE TO PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF DOGS EFFECTIVELY IN THE WHOLE OF FINLAND which was recently posted on the FKC's website.) The report outlines monitoring criteria with the aim is to eliminate dog breeding that causes the animal suffering and hereditary diseases. It is encouraging that the recommendations from the Finnish authorities are based on the excellent investigation described below and that they included authors and experts with a background in and understanding of pedigree dog breeding as well as veterinary science. For example, Katariina Mäki, PhD (animal breeding) and researcher, participated as an independent expert, and with the permission of Kennellliitto (the Finnish Kennel Club, FKK), where she is employed as a Breeding Expert. Through her role with the FKK, Katariina is a great collaborator with IPFD and has provided excellent content to DogWellNet.com (see below) and participated in the International Dog Health Workshops. Legislative and monitoring efforts for pedigree dogs and all dogs are more likely to be effective when efforts proceed collectively rather than unilaterally.
  4. At first blush, it may be easier to do this under the proposed system in Finland, than in, say, the Netherlands. There the restrictions are such that, for some breeds, seemingly no dogs will qualify.
  5. Our collaborators at Four Paws have been developing their 'Model Solution for full traceability across the EU online puppy trade' for some years and are actively enacting this work throughout Europe. This work was also presented as part of the Supply and Demand Theme at the IPFD 4th International Dog Health workshop. Four Paws about traceability: "The illegal puppy trade is rife with animal cruelty and deception. Every year, countless puppies are bred in deplorable conditions, taken from their mothers too early and transported across Europe to be sold online via classified ad sites. To help combat this exploitative trade, FOUR PAWS has developed a 'Model Solution for full traceability across the EU online puppy trade', which requires all puppies to be microchipped and registered, and the seller’s details verified, before they can be advertised online." This material will be of interest to consumers, veterinarians, welfare groups, regulators, and all those concerned with aspects of supply and demand - sourcing of animals - that negatively impacts pet health and welfare.
  6. Finnish report: An investigation would curb problems with dog breeding through monitoring criteria and ethical delegation As we have been reporting, there is a surge of regulatory efforts to address concerns about the health and welfare of pedigreed dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds, in several countries. The potential impact on not only dog breeders and pedigreed dog organizations, but also on dog owners and even veterinarians may be considerable, as well as on many stakeholders in the pet industry. It is apparent that some of these efforts are proceeding unilaterally rather than collaboratively, however, discussions about these issues have been ongoing for many years, without the change that many think is necessary. See, for example: Challenges for Pedigree Dogs: Regulatory Enforcement of Brachycephalic Dogs in the Netherlands; which includes links to responses from various other stakeholders and kennel clubs. The regulatory body (Finnish Food Authority) in Finland has published the Summary (below) on 02 Sep 2020. These are apparently recommendations based on an investigation (separately reported in an 89 page report in Finnish ). This report follows numerous other investigations and regulatory decisions being undertaken in numerous countries, prompted by concerns for dog health and welfare, especially, but not necessarily limited to, brachycephalic breeds. IPFD has been following and reporting on such developments, and where possible, adding links to actions being taken by national kennel clubs. The Finnish KC is an IPFD partner. Please see The Finnish KC's website for commentary on the Report at: KOIRIEN TERVEYTTÄ PITÄÄ PYSTYÄ EDISTÄMÄÄN TEHOKKAASTI KOKO SUOMEN KOIRAKANNASSA. (Finnish) Article Title, English Translation: IT MUST BE POSSIBLE TO PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF DOGS EFFECTIVELY IN THE WHOLE OF FINLAND. In her commentary, Kirsi Saino focuses on cooperation and "... emphasizes that health problems must be addressed in the entire dog population if sustainable results are to be achieved."
  7. IPFD is creating a series of articles on the BIg Picture of health and welfare within breeds as resources for veterinarians, owners, caretakers, breeders and others who want to understand the key issues for individual dogs and breed populations, internationally; under the 'Get a GRIHP!' initiative, i.e. Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles.
  8. In Windsor (UK) in June 2019, the IPFD 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) took place (Pegram et al., 2020) a key recommendation was to initiate a multi-stakeholder International working group on extreme conformation, with an initial focus on brachycephalics . Premise: The International Working Group on Extreme Conformation in Dogs (IWGECD) will be a platform in which national and international working groups, experts and stakeholders join forces to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of all dogs by limiting the negative welfare impacts from extreme conformations in dogs. Mission The IWGECD will: Identify different approaches Collect, when needed review, and share scientific papers and other material Identify different opinions – agree that sometimes we disagree but that we can all grow in knowledge from these disagreements Share experiences and/or data Share new ideas Build on successes See how we can move forward together The international working group is not intended to forcefully harmonize national working groups but, as we learn together, it is likely that successful strategies will be adopted more widely. Members will also contribute to shared international strategy. IWGECD will offer a forum of information sharing and support that aims to enhance the work of each of the national and international members. Members Multistakeholder national working groups involved in breed-associated health problems due to their extreme conformation. In countries where there is a need, but no such group has yet been established, the IWGECD will promote and/or facilitate setting up national working groups National and International stakeholder organizations with the same aim including veterinary and charity bodies Individual experts Industry is also considered to be a stakeholder Academia Breed clubs and kennel clubs Government and legislative bodies The IWGECD founding board includes: Monique Megens DVM (chairperson)1, Dr. Dan O'Neill2 and Dr. Åke Hedhammar3. 1 Monique Megens DVM, Chief Operating Officer IPFD; Member WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee; past-president FECAVA; Member Health Committee Dutch Kennel Club; https://dogwellnet.com/ipfd/who-we-are/leadership/ 2 Dr. Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer - Companion Animal Epidemiology; VetCompass Animal Surveillance; Veterinary Epidemiology Economics and Public Health, Royal Veterinary College; Chairperson UK brachycephalic Working Group; https://www.rvc.ac.uk/about/our-people/dan-o-neill 3 Dr. Åke Hedhammar Dipl. ECVIM - Companion Animals, Senior Professor Internal Medicine Small Animals, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Sweden; scientific advisor to the Swedish Kennel Club. Initiator of the First Dog Health Workshop held in Stockholm 2012, Member WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee; https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7048-3851/print PEGRAM, C. L., BONNETT, B. N., SKARP, H., ARNOTT, G., JAMES, H., HEDHAMMAR, Å., LEROY, G., LLEWELLYN-ZAIDI, A., SEATH, I. J. & O'NEILL, D. G. 2020. Moving from information and collaboration to action: report from the 4th international dog health workshop, Windsor in May 2019. Canine Medicine and Genetics, 7, 4 https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-020-00083-x
  9. Get a GRIHP! on Welsh Corgis This article on Welsh Corgis is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative.
  10. Ian Seath has again stimulated our 'little grey cells' and maybe even touched on some emotions, attitudes, and even deep-seated beliefs in his DOG-ED: SOCIAL ENTERPRISE post (23 June 2020): CULTURE EATS STRATEGY FOR BREAKFAST! Catchy title - firstly - where does that come from, and what does it mean? "Management Guru Peter Drucker famously stated that culture eats strategy for breakfast. So, What does "culture eats strategy" mean for you and your organization? In a very practical sense: No matter what business strategy or strategic plan you try to implement with your team, its success and efficacy are going to be held back by the people implementing the plan if the culture does not support it. " from: SME Strategy Management Consulting Ian's article draws on his extensive knowledge and background in business, strategy, and change management - as well as his fantastic dog expertise - to examine topical international information on COVID-19 and to draw comparisons with challenges in the dog world. He wants to encourage us to think about various aspects of health and welfare in dogs. Further moving his title discussion into the dog world: it means that if those needed to implement and drive change (in attitudes or practices) aren't passionate about the change or at least willing to embrace change or - even worse - if they deny the need for change at all (i.e. deny the existence of 'a problem') or are apathetic to the issues, then you stand no chance implementing a plan. Ultimately it is all about the people. Denial or apathy or resistance to change may occur if there is great passion for and attachment to an existing culture. In terms of the complex problems of the dog world, IPFD exists because it is clear that these issues have many stakeholders who bear responsibilities for the challenges and the solutions. And each of the stakeholder communities has their own culture - and that influences their views and actions and even willingness to collaborate. Ian goes on to describe bench-marking, i.e., ways to define, measure and characterize issues and actions on 3 levels. Let's further describe this relative to the dog world, and with a few possible examples: Metrics (statistics, measures) - tell you “what the performance is” or define and quantify aspects of the issue. E.g., prevalence and increased breed-specific risks of disease in various populations based on quantitative analysis vs. anecdote from personal experience (e.g. MY dogs are healthy!) Challenges: differences across regions, types of dogs, etc.; lack of consensus on how much is too much; perspectives of those who see dogs from different populations - e.g. veterinarians in practice vs. show judges. Lack of comprehensive, clear evidence fosters a reliance on culture-based interpretations...spin! Process (how the situation came to be, or what has influenced those levels): E.g. the influences of breeding practices (how diligently have breeders prioritized health and longevity). It must be noted that these processes have certainly been driven by culture. E.g., breeding for performance vs. for the conformation show ring vs. for companion dogs vs. for the trendy puppy trade E.g. health programs implemented by breed and kennel clubs (Ian gives some good examples) Challenges - the perception of the need for and time frame of change; and the amount of change; the acceptance of any authority over practices and processes from within or outside a community or culture. There is a tendency to look for simple solutions to complex problems - and then to be surprised that the outcome wasn't ideal. Culture tells you the story behind the processes...and that includes attitudes, tradition, beliefs, and habits...of the people involved. Those within a community (e.g. show world, veterinarians, the wider public) may share one culture...or there may be various cultures within a wider community. Culture can change. There are many cultures and communities in the dog world! From those who believe pedigreed dogs are the most important and breed standards are essentially inviolable; to those who feel there is room for evolution and flexibility, even within existing registries; to those who feel pedigreed dogs are not necessary. From those whose culture defines dogs as commodities or chattels; to those who accept dogs as sentient beings with some rights; to those who think they should be essentially be accorded human-level treatment. Challenges - all those attitudes impact what that community, culture, or group accepts as reasonable levels of welfare or disease or longevity. In fact, when cultural influences are strong, they may impact the willingness of those inside the culture to objectively view metrics, or to embrace processes and programs. And let's face it - a group or individual's attachment to their culture may be so strong, that they tend to view it not as one view, but the only acceptable view. 'Cultural norms' may be very different across communities. Rigidity is a major barrier to collaboration. Keys to moving forward Firstly, reflecting sincerely on how YOUR culture influences you, and then, if you want others to respect your culture Being aware of the differences across stakeholders - in their culture (attitudes, attachments, basic beliefs, approaches, etc.) wouldn't if be great if we could respect all views? but at least we must be aware of whether our disagreements are arising from different interpretation of the metrics and evidence OR from a different approach and process OR from the cultural sphere Taking the brave step outside cultural influences - embrace collaboration and collective actions while never assuming there is a one-size-fits-all solution. Leadership from various cultures and communities is needed. The ultimate question is - do we have common ground on which to advance? For IPFD, that would mean that even if we have slightly different definitions on the specifics, everyone comes to the table with a desire to enhance the health and welfare of dogs. Human aspects are critical as well - but there must be a balance.
  11. Congratulations to the University of Sydney and OMIA - the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals database. 25 years old 25 May 2020. Check out the celebration webpage here. This amazing resource underpins research and education on genetics in many species and has been a key support for advancement in the world of dog genetics and genomics. The development and maintenance of this fantastic database is due to the input and support of many academics, researchers, and others, many of whom volunteer their expertise and time. But it would not have existed or been maintained without the commitment and passion of Frank Nicholas. We gratefully congratulate him on this milestone. OMIA is a collaborating partner of the IPFD, and we have been coordinating and linking with them to maintain the quality of the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs database and resources. The OMIA numbering system is vital for international collaboration and critical to harmonizing genetic phenes across research and industry. IPFD is very proud of and grateful for this association and will help celebrate this event with a donation via the OMIA site. Why not join us in recognizing this important and necessary achievement?
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