Two brave PETA members stood up at the Westminster Dog Show and held signs in favor of mutts and shelter dogs.
One sign said, “Mutts Rule” and the other “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs’ Chances.”
From the Associated Press:
Two members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals walked into the center ring at Madison Square Garden and held up signs that said “Mutts Rule” and “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs’ Chances,” the latter a slogan popularized by PETA.
The crowd of 15,000 gasped at the protest, then booed the well-dressed women and cheered as security ushered them away without incident. The women, who acted on their own but were supported by PETA, were charged with criminal trespass, police said. [...]
There have been previous protests at Westminster, but none nearly so dramatic. As a matter of course, the public-address announcer at the Garden reads an announcement urging people to visit shelters and adopt their dogs.
PETA contends the focus on purebreds leaves many mutts homeless. In a statement, PETA vice president Daphna Nachminovitch said “euthanasia becomes a sad necessity.”
There are obvious animal rights reasons for objecting to kennel club dog shows:
- animals should not be treated as commodities, and
- those who do treat animals as commodities should not be encouraged to do so through prizes and profit.
But there are also plenty of animal welfare reasons, too. Anyone who cares about dogs at all – even if they think dog breeding is OK – should think twice about supporting the Westminster Dog Show. To better understand some of the complaints against kennel clubs and breeders, please watch this documentary:
Documentary – BBC – Pedigree Dogs Exposed
bordercollie19 | MySpace Video
And for an animal welfarist perspective that allows pet ownership, breeding, and dog shows, but eliminates puppy mills and puppy stores, please read the article in Bark Magazine titled, “Breeding for Beauty.” Here is a quote from the article:
It took filmmaker and dog lover Jemima Harrison two years to make PDE, but in just one hour, the scientific eye she cast over the dog-show world and the images she captured burned into people’s retinas as well as their minds. We saw a poor, beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel screaming in pain because her skull was the wrong size for her brain, a Boxer having seizures, a German Shepherd hobbling around the show ring on strangely exaggerated limbs, a sweet show-winning Pug with a long line of Crufts winners in his pedigree and an equally long list of deformities. [...]
researchers studied 10 breeds and found that these breeds had lost more than 90 percent of the genetic variation they had had 35 years ago. Decades of overuse of popular sires and linebreeding (breeding of dogs who share a common ancestor) had led to the sort of genetic erosion that made the giant panda look like a much safer bet for avoiding extinction than the Pug.[...]
Long ago, the Swedish KC decided to make health testing mandatory. For example, back in 1992, 80 particularly afflicted breeds had to have both parents hip-tested if the breeder wanted to use the KC registration system [...] It was the organization’s first step toward making its registration a mark of quality rather than a mere record of parentage. As more and more health tests became available, they were slotted into the existing system and again made conditional for breeders using the system. [...]
Apart from having what I consider the best kennel club in the world, Sweden also seems to have cracked many other significant welfare problems that continue to plague other nations. By being strong, forward-thinking and logical, they’ve made dog breeding a respectable and professional thing to do, and made dog shows less like beauty pageants and more relevant to today’s society. In Sweden, they don’t have puppy mills. In Sweden, they don’t have pups for sale in pet shops. The few rescue shelters there are almost empty. No puppy is sold or labeled as “pet quality,” since the supposition is that they are all “pet quality”—family dogs or companion dogs first and anything else second.
And to adopt a shelter dog, please visit petfinder.com >>