Dear Hannah,

I have watched the presentation video of the new Health Standard, and studied your FAQs 
On the positive side I believe that the rationale of “one clear standard for all breeders” is an excellent idea.
For Salukis I also agree that your increased emphasis on genetic diversity is appropriate and important.
However, the demotion of DNA testing for NCL from “advisable” to “other”, whilst it fits with your new scientific and evidence based criteria, exposes the lowering of standards of the “Health Standard” :
The NCL test was introduced several years ago after considerable work between myself and Dr Tom Lewis. At that time, cases of NCL were being recorded abroad, but none had been reported in the UK. The DNA test was seen as a proactive way of preventing the disease from affecting our country. As a result of the test, a few carriers have been identified in the UK ( but no affected cases). The breed clubs set the standard that a carrier could be bred to a clear, but that the progeny should all be tested, with any carriers born being declared not for breeding. This policy ensured that the testing regime had zero impact on genetic diversity in the UK. 
The new Standard, reducing the priority of the NCL test , therefore has no benefit  to genetic diversity but increases the risk of two carriers being mated with the inevitable result of affected cases. Your FAQs recognise that the severity of diseases has not yet been taken into account. This is a fundamental flaw in the new scheme, as the severity of this disease is the ultimate price : guaranteed DEATH before 18 months of age. Your new policy “opens the barn door”  to this disease entering the UK. Should this occur , the RKC would be seen as fully accountable for the situation. 
The main flaw with the new Health Standard is that it is purely reactive with no proactive element. You can see with the NHS how important that proactive medical schemes have become. Even worse, the new Health Standard actually permits new diseases to flourish until they reach an evidence based predominance that triggers action! In the case of NCL in salukis this new approach is absolutely unacceptable, and I firmly request that the standard of “advisable” is maintained for the NCL DNA test. 
I further note that your FAQs state that “these [corrections] will not be made at this time” but can be reintroduced over the next 5 years. This too is absolutely  unacceptable. Such important corrections need to be made before the Scheme is officially launched.
Kind Regards
John Davies 
Saluki Breed Health Coordinator