Sunday, February 8, 2009
The prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is going to be boycotted this year, by a group of extremists who liken the 'pure bloodlines' of the purebred dogs competing, to the Klu Klux Klan's promotion of 'pure bloodlines.' According to PETA's media center, they are protesting under the tagline, "KKK and AKC Support Pure Bloodlines."
This group of extremists, who appear in my mind, less interested in animal welfare and more interested in attention grabbing, headline seeking antics, will actually be dressing up in full Klu Klux Klan garb for their protest. The overly simplistic claims this organization is making are that dog breeders sometimes kill dogs who are born the 'wrong' color, for the sake of promoting 'purity,' that purebred fanciers are directly responsible for the pet overpopulation issue and responsible for the euthanization of healthy shelter pups.
Supposedly, promoting "purebreds" means that more dogs will be brought into the world to sell at pet shops and breeder outlets, but more dogs at animal shelters will be killed because there aren't enough good homes.
"The AKC's fetish for body image causes dogs health problems that mutts don't usually have," says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. "The AKC is directly responsible for the promotion of purebreds, which means money for breeders but creates sick dogs and vet bills for their guardians--and leaves pound pups homeless."
Hmmm. Well, as I discussed in my article, The Myth of the Mutt, purebreds are not simply less healthy then mixed breeds, it is just easier to track their genetic vulnerabilities due to the clarity in their genetics. Mixed breeds have allergies, hip dysplasia, develop cancer, heart issues and bone structure issues at about the same rate as any breed - its simply not tracked as clearly as with purebreds.
As for the notion that promoting purebreds leads to the production of more dogs, to be sold to buyers, leaving mutts to die at shelters, I would not argue that the attention directed on the winning breeds increases the public's demand for such puppies. This is the same as the demand generated by dog movies, i.e. 101 Dalmatians or Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Responsible breeders however, do not step up the amount of litters to 'cash in' on a trend. Those who breed dogs for profit are the same unscrupulous individuals who should be closely monitored and in many cases, shut down, anyway!
The real fanciers of purebreed dogs, the ones you will see showing their dogs next week at Westminster, work extremely hard to limit serious genetic issues from being passed down to future generations Breeding stock is very carefully screened, the latest technology is utilized to assist in testing. These are the breeders who contribute funding and samples to scientists, who are then able to learn more about genetic problems. This work is often beneficial to the health of humans as well as dogs.
So, in light of the irrelevance of PETA's claims, it appears a group of individuals will be parading around in the KKK robes, the robes that have threatened generations of Americans, which symbolize hate and murder...I know who I am boycotting - and its NOT Westminster!