This is a particularly delicate situation, for it is the NKK which this year is due to host the FCI’s own European Winners Show in Oslo from 4th to 6th September. Three weeks ago the Norwegian Kennel Club was one of the most vociferous to criticise the FCI General Assembly decision to allow China to host the 2019 FCI World Dog Show because of the poor canine welfare record in China, exacerbated by the recent publicity given to the Yulin Festival which gives rise to eating dog meat. At that stage the NKK said that it disapproved of the allocation of the show to China.
It also called for a reversal of the decision and encouraged Norwegian exhibitors and judges and other kennel clubs, to boycott the event. This action in turn led to a strongly worded reply from Mr Dinky Santos, head of the FCI Asia Pacific Section which in turn elicited a further reply from the NKK. OUR DOGS has already reported in full on this situation but this has now taken another twist as last week the FCI’s legal representative wrote directly to the NKK on July 2nd; they issued a warning to the NKK that the FCI would consider sanctions, such as a warning or suspension, should the NKK decide not to withdraw its encouragement to other kennel clubs not attend the FCI World Dog Show 2019. The FCI said that the NKK had failed to comply with FCI statues, regulations, circulars and decisions and had acted against the spirit of the FCI which should be united and stronger for the betterment of dogs worldwide. In its response to the FCI on July 7th, the NKK was resolute in sticking to its guns. It confirmed that it would not change its standpoint and continued to give the dispute maximum publicity on the NKK website, publishing its full replies to the FCI.
NKK Chief Executive Officer Mrs Trine Hage said: ‘We hereby inform you that the NKK will not withdraw our standpoint in this matter. It is our opinion that it cannot be beneficial for dogdom and dog welfare worldwide if sanctions are made against the NKK. ‘Standing by our statement is what the NKK consider as being loyal to the FCI Statutes: ‘to promote and support dogdom and dog welfare worldwide.’ We are committed to our members, our statutes, FCI Statutes and last, but not least, dog welfare. ‘The NKK would like to remind the canine world once again that the World Dog Show is to be a celebration of dogs. The Norwegian Kennel Klub therefore cannot accept that the WDS is given to a country where animal abuse takes place. We therefore reiterate our encouragement to not attend WDS 2019 in China to all kennel clubs and exhibitors.’ The FCI had said in justifying the choice of the CKU as the WDS 2019 hosts, that the vote by its members in favour of Shanghai had received a substantial majority of its members. In its letter of response to the FCI, the NKK reveals that in that vote, China in fact received 33 of the 68 votes cast in connection with the location of the 2019 show. The other votes for various European countries had been split thus allowing the Chinese bid to succeed.
The NKK also said that it would always respect cultural differences, but could not accept the serious lack of respect and welfare for dogs in general in China. It added: ‘This is also in sharp contrast to FCI’s statutes article 2 which clearly states that: ‘The aims of the FCI are: 3) to promote and support dogdom and dog welfare worldwide. According to the FCI statutes article 9c, members and contract partners are obligated to: “comply fully with these statutes … provided that they are not contrary to the laws enacted by the governments of the countries concerned’. We hereby declare that the treatment of dogs in China violates all Norwegian laws regarding dog welfare.’ As the Norwegians have not withdrawn their standpoint, it is now to be seen whether the FCI will implement its article 10 and thus either warn or suspend the NKK from all FCI activities. The China Kennel Union has not commented and the Asia Pacific group told OUR DOGS that this is now a matter in the hands of the FCI General Committee. It all seems somewhat bizarre with just a few weeks to go before the flagship FCI European Dog Show to be held in Oslo.
As OUR DOGS goes to press we are aware of yet another letter from the NKK this time referring to the availability of ‘Gold Cards’ at the General Assembly. Their web site states: ‘Following the announcement of China as host nation for WDS 2019 at the FCI General Assembly in June, the China Kennel Union handed out gold cards to the FCI delegates. The gold cards/VIP cards cover the cost for a three night stay at a Shanghai five-star hotel during WDS 2019. The Norwegian Kennel Club remains highly critical of the World Dog Show 2019 being held in China. The money being spent on the FCI’s 91 delegates would be much better used on implementing concrete measures to approve the appalling dog welfare in the country. ‘Today (July 13th) the NKC sent a letter to the FCI regarding the VIP-card confirming that the NKC declines using the card as intended. Instead, the NKC asks that the China Kennel Union donates the money assigned the NKC to an animal welfare organization that actively works to improve dog welfare in China.’
We understand from the Asia Pacific section that these cards were not revealed until after the vote had taken place and they were not handed out but simply made available to any Kennel Club that required them. They also confirmed that at previous General Assemblies other gifts had been made available from winning delegations. Clearly the NKK (like any dog lovers would) have a serious issue with canine welfare in any country and equally the organisers in China must have the same aim. Whether such a public spat between kennel clubs is the way to achieve a united front to improve welfare in China remains to be seen. The phrase ‘watch this space’ has never had such a true meaning before! (The full transcripts of the letters will be available on OUR DOGS website)