Kennel Club officials were left with their tails between their legs at the weekend when animal rights activists ran onto the field at Crufts, England’s largest annual dog show.
The protests took place during the ceremony on the 10th March.
After thousands of dogs competed in agility, obedience, fly ball and heel to work music, two-year-old whippet Tease was announced ‘Best in Show’.
But not long after the whippet’s owner, Yvette Short, accepted the trophy, two protesters ran onto the field holding signs discrediting the Kennel Club.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have claimed responsibility for the protestors, saying that the owners, breeders and judges have “little or no regard for [the dogs’] welfare”. They went on to describe Crufts as a “cruel beauty pageant”.
Animal rights activists have reacted strongly to Crufts, which has been running for 167 years, because they believe show dogs to be negatively affected by numerous conditions.
Due to the selective breeding of pedigree dogs, different breeds often suffer conditions with their lungs, hearts, backs and legs, such as cancers and heart failure.
Selective breeding is carried to exaggerate the desired characteristics of a certain breed of dog and so increase the chances of winning dog shows.
Breeds affected include pugs. Their narrowed nostrils cause traumatic breathing problems. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can also suffer, with their skulls becoming too small to accommodate the brain.
PETA and other organizations believe that Crufts promotes these discomforts by awarding dogs with evident health problems.
In 2016, for example, the Crufts ‘Best of Breed’ winner, Tori the German Shepard, was believed by many to have serious back problems. Some viewers claimed she was struggling to walk around the arena.
When asked to comment, Tori’s owner said: “At Crufts 2016, the vet examined my bitch before she was presented with her ‘Best of Breed’ certificate and deemed her to have no visible condition which adversely affects her health and welfare.”
CCHSG students were asked their opinion about the Crufts controversy and an overwhelming majority believe that dog shows are morally unacceptable.
Diagram of Tori (Left) compared to a normal German Shepherd (Right)