PREMIER’S OFFICE–Premier Urges Support For N.S.-P.E.I. FerryService Premier John Hamm is calling on Prime Minister Paul Martin tostep in to prevent reductions in the vital ferry service betweenCaribou, Pictou Co., and Wood Islands, P.E.I. In a letter sent today, March 10, Premier Hamm told the primeminister any reduction would have “a serious, negative impact ontourism and commerce in eastern Nova Scotia.” Recent reports have suggested that Transport Canada may cuthundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support from theservice. In addition, annual drydock funding would be eliminatedfor one of the two vessels in 2008. The premier called on Ottawa to maintain its current annualsubsidy (about $4.8 million), commit to continued annual drydockfunding, and agree to a multi-year contract with NorthumberlandFerries to provide stability. “The result of these combined cuts will likely be the removal ofone ferry from the service and the shortening of the season ofoperation,” said Premier Hamm. “My fear, and that of many NovaScotians and Islanders, is that weakening the link, through alessening of funds and perhaps the loss of one of two ferries,will eventually lead to an uncompetitive schedule and then thecomplete abandonment of this historic ferry service by both usersand our federal government.” Premier Hamm said Caribou is the second busiest road-entry pointto the province and stressed that the Nova Scotia-P.E.I. ferryservice remains a popular alternative to the fixed link forbusinesses and tourists. He said the Confederation Bridge wasbuilt to replace the former service between Prince Edward Islandand New Brunswick, not the Nova Scotia to P.E.I. link. “This is an historic link,” Premier Hamm said in his letter.”Even the Northumberland Ferries website notes that it is anexperience whereby you can ‘sail across like the Fathers ofConfederation did in 1864.’ “As this is a vital transportation link from one of Canada’sprovinces to another, on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia, Iask for a commitment from your government to maintain the currentlevel of subsidies to support the ferry’s existing standard ofservice, as well as a multi-year contract to provide stability,”wrote the premier.
Campaigners are demanding mandatory DNA testing of puppies in an effort to catch unscrupulous dog breeders passing mongrels off as pedigree breeds.They say families looking to buy a pedigree dog increasingly run the risk of fooled by rogue breeders using fake pedigree documentation.Now they have called for the Kennel Club, which oversees the registration of pedigree breeds in the UK, to introduce DNA testing of puppies.The Canine Alliance says this is the only way of protecting pet buyers who are spending large sums on what they think are pedigree puppies from being ripped off.“The only way to tackle the problem is to ensure that pedigree dogs are DNA tested for proof of parentage, as part of the microchipping and registration process, to ensure that pedigrees are correct,” said Jo Amsel, of the Canine Alliance.Their call comes at the climax of Crufts, the most prestigious dog show for pedigree breeds in the country, which took place in Birmingham this weekend.Dog lovers and conscientious breeders shell out hundreds, even thousands of pounds, on buying a ‘pure-bred’ pedigree dog, assuming that their puppy’s Kennel Club papers and certified pedigree are legitimate.However, the Canine Alliance claims unscrupulous breeders are beating the system by using underhand practices, such as registering two litters by two different dams – or mothers – to just one dam, hoodwinking new owners of the puppy’s true lineage. They cite the high-profile case of Mallowdale Diamond, a field trial champion owned by the Queen was thought to be a pure-bred Cocker Spaniel until tests of its relatives showed Springer Spaniel DNA, making them ‘Sprocker’ cross-breeds and not pedigree. Further tests are being carried out.In another case an Italian Greyhound called Lady Blue, who was registered as a pedigree Italian Greyhound, although DNA analysis of puppies from Lady Blue and her sister showed that one of the grandparents was a totally different breed – a full Chinese Crested Dog.Despite that, the descendants of Lady Blue and Lady Andretti were sold as pure bred Italian Greyhounds at pedigree prices, and their descendants went on to have puppies registered with the Kennel Club as pedigree Italian Greyhounds.In one Ms Amsel said: “The current registration system is open to abuse by puppy farmers and other unscrupulous breeders, who use the KC registration system to profit from fake pedigrees, just as in the case of the Lady Blue and her sister.”There are no official figures for how many of the 235,000 puppies registered with the Kennel Club each year turn out to be mongrels rather than pedigrees, but dozens of people are understood to complain to the club every year about the legitimacy of their dog’s pedigree.The Canine Alliance estimates that between five and ten percent of dogs registered each year – or as many as 23,500 – have suspect pedigrees or incorrect parentage. It also points out that the Dutch Kennel Club requires mandatory DNA testing. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. However, the Kennel Club says DNA testing would not provide a foolproof guarantee of establishing if a dog’s pedigree is legitimate.A spokesman for the club said: “Whilst DNA techniques are able to accurately determine correct parentage of a dog, the tests currently available are not yet able to define if an individual dog fits a specific breed standard, which is how a breed is defined.”It said anyone looking to buy a dog should go to a responsible breeder, such as the Kennel Club Assured Breeders, who are monitored and inspected by the club. Campaigners says that even just one dog registered by the Kennel Club with an incorrect pedigree can have a huge impact on the breed register. A pedigree Chow Chow being exhibited during the second day of the 2017 Crufts show in BirminghamCredit:Darren Staples/Reuters