Crufts faces fury as 'wretched breeding standards' trigger 'long-term physical disabilities' in dogs

It’s "a celebration of everything that’s wrong with the dog-breeding industry," say animal rights group PETA

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Crufts dog show has come under fire for promoting “breeding standards” that leave the animals with “long-term physical disabilities".

Now on its second day of this year's event, the competition will showcase approximately 20,000 pedigree pets who will perform for prizes in agility, obedience, and dance to music.

But animal activist group PETA criticises the pageant-like competition saying it’s “a celebration of everything that’s wrong with the dog-breeding industry".

A dog owner competes with her Irish Wolfhound on the second day of the Crufts Dog Show
A dog owner competes with her Irish Wolfhound on the second day of the Crufts Dog Show

Mimi Bekhechi, Vice President of PETA said this includes “imposing wretched breeding 'standards' that leave them with long-term physical disabilities and health problems and by adding to the homeless-animal crisis by encouraging the breeding of dogs when shelters are already overflowing with them".

In previous years, animal activist groups have staged demonstrations and stormed the NEC Birmingham arena where the competition is held.

In 2018, intruders ran into the main ring during a live TV broadcast as the “Best in Show” winner was being announced.

Following last year’s protests, Crufts 2022 announced extra security measures.

"The security and safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority, and one we take very seriously,” said the Kennel Club, which oversees the dog show.

The spokesperson added: “We continually review our security measures to ensure that they remain effective. All bags are searched prior to entry to the arena for Best in Show."

Bags need to meet the following criteria:

  • No bigger than A4 in size (21cm x 30cm x 19cm)
  • Maximum of two compartments
  • Rucksacks are not permitted
Dog owners and their Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen attend the second day of the Crufts Dog Show
Dog owners and their Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen attend the second day of the Crufts Dog Show

Actor and activist Peter Egan, who famously stars in the hit show Downton Abbey, has also slammed the dog show for using pets "as circus animals".

PETA, who said they have not planned any protests at the event this year, also criticise Crufts for encouraging dogs to perform tricks that can incur serious injuries.

They argue: “Enticing dogs to run, swerve, and jump hurdles in flyball contests at Crufts – when all evidence points to the risk of torn knee ligaments and other serious injuries – is similarly cruel and unnecessary.

“The new research must put an end to these ghastly agility races, as dogs’ best interests should trump any human’s fun. Anyone with the time, love, and money required to take care of a dog should turn one – or more! – into a real winner by adopting from a shelter.”

A spokesperson for Crufts, said: “Dog sports such as flyball, at Crufts, bring huge physical and mental health benefits for dogs and their owners and whilst dogs, like humans, can sometimes be injured the recent small study shows it has similar odds ratios for cranial cruciate ligament rupture to short walks or runs over hilly or flat terrain on a weekly basis, which many dogs and their owners will enjoy.

"We always encourage those involved in dog sports to ensure their dogs are fit and healthy, reducing the likelihood of injury.

“Furthermore, pedigree dogs - which are judged at dog shows – are loved by millions and breed standards, which are a description of the overall characteristics and temperament of a breed, actually help people to buy a dog that is truly suitable for their lifestyle in terms of their grooming, care and exercise needs.

"Every breed standard, which the very small percentage of dogs that show are judged to in the show ring, makes it clear that exaggerations that are detrimental in any way to health, are unacceptable - but people are also far more influenced by fashion and celebrity when buying dogs that they perceive to look cute.

"That is why we are part of groups such as the Brachycephalic Working Group, to raise awareness of the importance of avoiding dogs with exaggerated physical features that can be detrimental to health.

“We have also developed hundreds of health tests – including the ground-breaking Respiratory Function Grading Scheme that assesses brachycephalic dogs for potential breathing issues - to enable breeders and puppy buyers to buy the healthiest puppies possible – and the results of these tests are clearly displayed for all Kennel Club registered puppies and should be demanded and used by the buyers and breeders of all dogs, whether purebreed or crossbreed."