Disappointment as Norwegian Kennel Club partly loses court appeal

The Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) is disappointed by the judgement delivered by Borgarting Court of Appeal, and believes that it seriously intervenes in an area that is the jurisdiction of the public administration.
Tom Martinsen, chairman of the Norwegian Kennel Club. Photo by NKK.
Tom Martinsen, chairman of the Norwegian Kennel Club. Photo by NKK.

The appeal court ruled in favour of the Norwegian Kennel Club concerning the breed English Bulldog, but not for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Even if the Norwegian Kennel Club is pleased with the outcome for the English Bulldog and the breeders, the judgement still creates mote questions than answers.

The NKK believes that dog breeding must be regulated in relation to individual dogs, not breeds. A ban on breeding from healthy and unhealthy dogs alike, purely because they are said to belong to one particular breed, is no “victory for animal welfare”.

“This creates a lot of uncertainty and confusion. Who can decide if a dog is of one particular breed? Dogs registered with the Norwegian Kennel Club are microchipped and can be identified, but what about all the other ones? Which dogs does this apply to, specifically? Is it just the three breeders who were found liable that are banned from breeding, or does this apply to everyone that owns such a dog? And can dogs from this breed be used in crossbreeding? If not, I assume that the popular hybrid designer breed Cavapoo, which is a cross between a Cavalier and a Poodle, will also be forbidden,” says chairman of the NKK, Tom Øystein Martinsen.

“This can also mean that the ongoing positive work that has been done to improve the health of these dogs will have all been in vain. There’s no reason to believe that the breed club will see the point of continuing this work if they can’t breed these dogs in the future. Then it’s all a waste of time, and the international population won’t be able to benefit from it either,” he says.

However, according to the NKK, the most serious problem with the judgement is that the administration of the Animal Welfare Act has now been transferred from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to the courts. This means that any interest organisation and action group will be able to sue both private individuals and organisations and achieve a ban on an activity that they themselves are against, without professional bodies or the public administration being heard.

“In this case, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals has sued dog breeders that haven’t done anything wrong at all – they haven’t broken any rules, and their animals haven’t been checked and found to be sick. Even so, the breeders have been publicly denounced as animal abusers. It’s a disgrace, and it has been hugely stressful for the people involved.”

“The NKK has never denied that health challenges exist for these two breeds and other breeds – for dogs in general, for that matter. That’s why we have worked systematically and scientifically with documentation, health checks and guidelines in order to produce as many healthy dogs as possible, and to avoid the anatomical traits that lead to health issues. We’ve received international recognition for our work, and can document progress in many breeds. But we’ll never reach a point where all dogs are born healthy and live long lives without diseases. That’s impossible – dogs are living creatures,” Tom Martinsen points out.

“We have collaborated very well with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for a number of years, and have been looking forward to the publication of a new regulation on dog breeding. Transferring the administration of the Animal Welfare Act to the courts should create uncertainty in all sectors involved with the breeding of animals, not just dogs. That’s why we will probably appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. We must of course read the judgement carefully first, but the principle itself is very important, and it requires a clarification at the highest level,” Tom Martinsen concludes.

Further comments can be obtained from:

Tom Martinsen, +4791665840, tom.martinsen@nkk.no

Head of communication Cecilie Holgersen, +47 41541143, Cecilie.holgersen@nkk.no

Communication advicer/spokesperson Anne L. Buvik, +47 95966151, anne.buvik@nkk.no


Cecilie HolgersenAvdelingsleder marked og kommunikasjonNKK/avdeling marked og kommunikasjon



Tom Martinsen, chairman of the Norwegian Kennel Club. Photo by NKK.
Tom Martinsen, chairman of the Norwegian Kennel Club. Photo by NKK.

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