The International Partnership for Dogs
Who are IPFD’s founding members?
By Sharon Pflaumer
he International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) is a new organization dedicated to the enhancement of canine health, well-being and welfare through a collaborative partnership between all of the major international players in the dog world: national kennel clubs and health registries, veterinary researchers, pet health insurance companies, non-profit organizations, dog industries, etc. In the following interview, IPFD’s CEO and developer, Brenda Bonnett, BSc, DVM, PhD, provides an overview of the factors that led to the organization’s founding as well information about its mission and scope, short- and long-term goals, and the role played by its new website.
When was the new organization founded?
Bonnett: Officially, IPFD came into being on August 28, 2014 at our first board meeting, which was held in London. The concept for the development of the organization has been a long time coming, however, but didn’t begin to come together until Fall 2011 unofficially.
What factors led to IPFD’s founding?
Bonnett: During the preceding years, there was a lot of media attention focused on issues in purebred dogs and dogs in general. Many national kennel clubs have been extremely active in the last decade building resources to address health and breeding and developing collaborations. There also was activity at the international level when the Fédération Cynologique Internationale [FCI] created a task force to look at broad issues related to canine health. 64 Dog News
Personally, I had a long history of working with the Swedish Kennel Club and a Swedish animal insurance company called Agria International. We published numerous research papers based on insurance data concerning various aspects of canine health that included breed specific articles. In addition to the scientific publications, we also developed breed specific statistics in conjunction with the Swedish breed clubs. Given all of this, it became clear there was a need for an Internet platform on which to post all of the information collectively and thus make it available to the general public on an international level. This is important because many of the same issues in dogs are of concern around the world. At the same time, many kennel clubs were saying we need to work more with breeders in other parts of the world. So, movement toward the establishment of IPFD just sort of started happening.
What were you personally trying to achieve by establishing the organization?
Bonnett: It was my hope to bring together all of the international stakeholders in the dog world and not just kennel clubs and breeders. So, we presented the concept at the Strategies for International Collaboration session at the Dog Health Workshop held in Stockholm in 2012. All agreed that what was needed was not just a web platform upon which to post information collectively but an organization that would bring together a broad range of stakeholders into one independent, non-political body.
Bonnett: The founding partners are the national kennel clubs in the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, France, Germany and Sweden. [An invitation was sent to the American Kennel Club as well as many other national kennel clubs around the world.] The founding partners also include The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals in the United States and the Agria Animal Insurance-Swedish Kennel Club Research Fund in Sweden. Together, the founding partners volunteered to provide the seed money needed to create the organization and launch and expand the website. In 2012 and 2013, FCI also provided seed money for the organization and thus became an initiating patron.
What is the new organization’s mission?
Bonnett: It is a nonprofit organization registered in Sweden tasked with facilitating the collaboration and sharing of resources with the goal of enhancing the health, well-being and welfare of pedigreed and all dogs. In that role, we hope to bring together all of the main stakeholders in the dog world: the kennel clubs of the world, veterinary authorities, corporate sponsors, nonprofit organizations, researchers, and breeders.
Will the IPFD website, DogWellNet.com, be like Google® for dogs?
Bonnett: Although our vision is to create an enduring global collaboration dedicated to sharing the collective knowledge, information and resources among all the stakeholder groups, it’s not going to just be Google for dogs. We intend to add expert evaluation and commentary. The experts might be breeders or geneticists for example, who help people find the best information. The goal is not just to provide information but also to interpret it in order to provide guidance and facilitate action.