Tibetan breeds enthusiasts hit back at origin decision
The FCI has announced that the country of origin of the Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu will change to China. A proposal has also been made to alter the country of patronage/development from the UK to China of the Chow-Chow, Shih-Tzu, Tibetan Terrier, Lhasa Apso and Tibetan Spaniel. President of the FCI Rafael De Santiago said, ‘we find it important to clarify that our Chinese member, CKU (China Kennel Union), is an FCI full member.
As such, CKU has the right to ask to be the country of origin of the breeds indicated. ‘It is important to know that any change in a breed standard can be implemented worldwide if and only if the FCI General Committee, following recommendations of the FCI Standards and Scientific Commissions, approves it.’ It was at the an FCI meeting on the 18th and 19th March in Belgium that the FCI's General Committee voted unanimously to make the change. The relationship between China and Tibet has been controversial for ever since the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950.
Since then there have been uprisings and international disquiet about the Chinese presence in Tibet but it must be noted that according to international law the nation of Tibet does not exist and not one foreign government recognises the Tibetan government in exile. It is recognised by most governments that China has sovereignty over Tibet. Despite the political status of Tibet breeders, owners and judges have expressed anger about the FCI's decision to change the county of origin of these breeds.
Top all-round judge Frank Kane said, “The Kennel Club is concerned to hear of the changes made to the country of origin of the Tibetan breeds. Without knowing the full background to the changes we would assume that this is perhaps a matter simply of geographical status and therefore should not present any issues, however we remain cautious of the situation. “What is obviously of great concern is the suggestion that the country of development for these breeds may be reconsidered.
The Kennel Club would strongly resist such a change since the facts are clear – these breeds were developed in the UK by UK breeders and this should not be altered.” Mike Tempest the Tibetan Terrier breed note writer for OUR DOGS said, ‘In my view this is a total betrayal of Tibet by the FCI. The political interference with the correct country of origin of our breed, and other breeds, when these breeds have an enormous cultural heritage, just stinks. ‘The next target of China is apparently for it to be described as the Country of Patronage/Development of the Tibetan breeds.
History tells us that China had nothing to do with the patronage or development of our breed – that was down to Dr Greig bringing them from Tibet to the UK, and their patronage and development is entirely British. So what has the FCI got to do with this? Surely it’s beyond its remit to grant this when these breeds are of British patronage. FCI should have said to China “We can’t do this, it’s not one of our breeds, and you will have to talk to the UK”. It’s like the FCI giving one of our breeds away when it has no right to do so.
We should be asking our KC to intervene and do something to protect our breed from this stealth.’ A petition has been set up by Tibetan breeders called We Belong to Tibet, Not China https://www.change.org/p/fci-fédération-cynologique-internationale-we-belong-to-tibet-not-china which at the time of going to press had already passed the 1,400 mark. The creators of the petition say, ‘We, owners of the breeds above, DO NOT AGREE with this decision! Our Tibetan breeds have a history from Tibet, they are developed in Tibet and just because China took Tibet our breeds are NOT changing their origin country to China!’ One breeder wrote on Facebook, ‘Tibetan breeds owners and breeders do not agree with the decision to change the Tibetan dogs' country of origin to China.
Regardless of politics, history cannot be changed. We are proud of our dogs' history and we protest against this decision.’ The website tibettruth.com states it opposition with great force, ‘In agreeing to these name changes the FCI is essentially endorsing territorial, cultural and animal identities are defined and categorized through military invasion and subsequent occupation.’ The FCI is aware that their decision has caused considerable uproar but they feel that the decision is ‘to the betterment and safeguard of the dog and to promoting its welfare, love and respect in the four corners of the world.’