The recent and ongoing Lockdowns mandated both regionally and nationally have undoubtedly created uncertainty and difficulties regarding what owners/breeders can do, and this is especially relevant to Health Testing. The Committee of the SFLS feel it is necessary for us to provide you with guidance especially in respect of the Code of Ethics of the SFLS.
In the current lockdown, and at the time of writing,
The BVA have issued the following statements:
CHS Eye Panellists are able to offer eye screenings as long as government guidance on working safely, practice policies, and any local restrictions are adhered to.
Hip & Elbow Scheme
Due to the Coronavirus national lockdowns we have a backlog of submissions. We are processing submissions in date received order.
Please see https://www.bva.co.uk/canine-health-schemes/ for updates
The SFLS have previously advised that the Code of Ethics does allow owners to arrange scoring through other health schemes if required.
The Kennel Club have issued the following FAQs in respect of Assured Breeders:
In light of the developments relating to Covid-19, our Assured Breeders scheme recognises that, in some cases, health testing may be impacted. If this is likely to affect you and your breeding plans, you will be required to email the ABS team prior to the date of mating.
With regard to DNA testing, only some DNA testing will be impacted and so you should check with the DNA test provider and wherever possible this should be in place at point of registration as per requirements and recommendations.
As detailed at https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dog-breeding/breeders-and-covid-19-faqs/
There is no waiver of health testing requirements for the Assured Breeder scheme provided above, and eye testing and X-raying is permitted subject to local Covid secure practices. Plus, irrespective of Assured Breeder Scheme requirements, the Society’s Code of Ethics remains in force.
DNA schemes are unaffected.
The SFLS and its members consider Health Testing to be essential to safeguarding the future health of the breed in the UK, especially being mindful of our small gene pool and whilst we accept that the Covid lockdowns (whether National or local) may cause delays in obtaining the required health results mandated under the Code of Ethics, it is certainly not appropriate to jeopardise the future health of the breed by waiving these requirements.
All members, have agreed to follow the Society’s Rules and that includes the Code of Ethics (see https://southernfinnishlapphundsociety.co.uk/the-society/rule-code-of-ethics/) and whilst we appreciate the difficulties that may be posed by the current COVID situation, we do expect the Society Rules to be followed. (A breach of Society Rules could result in expulsion from the Society). If member/breeders believe there are extenuating circumstances affecting a planned mating, which they feel may result in a breach of the Society’s Rules then they are advised to contact the committee (in confidence) before undertaking the mating, with their reasons/justification for consideration by the committee. (This would be for all Breeders whether ABS members or not).
We would advise members to always keep the health and wellbeing of the breed to the forefront when planning a litter. The potential changes over time in health especially for young dogs is significant, and mindful that there is rarely a need to breed a dog or bitch as a matter of urgency, breeders should always consider if the option to delay is not the best option.
To summarise, we would wish to draw Member’s attention to the Code of Ethics (CoE) and advise that we believe that health testing under the guidelines detailed in the CoE is essential to protect the health of the breed in the UK. If Members have any queries about planned matings then they should contact the Society in confidence, before the mating takes place to firstname.lastname@example.org . Additionally, the Code of Ethics does state that copies of relevant heath testing results must be made available to the Committee for the Club Archives, if the result is NOT published on the KC Health Result finder at the time of mating.