PETA Wants Westminster Dog Show to Follow Miss America’s Lead and Nix Beauty Segment

Dogs Are Forced to Wear Curlers, Booties, and Powder and Are Inbred for Physical Beauty Traits That Harm Their Health

For Immediate Release:
June 7, 2018

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Now that the Miss America pageant has scrapped its swimsuit and evening gown segments—in which contestants were judged on their physical appearance—PETA fired off a letter this morning calling on the Westminster Kennel Club to end the “beauty” portion of its annual dog show, which promotes breeding animals for certain aesthetic standards, such as slanted hindquarters, flattened faces, and other characteristics that come at the expense of dogs’ health.

“The Miss America pageant reflected changed public opinion in its decision to end its emphasis on extreme and arbitrary standards of physical beauty,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Westminster to follow suit and stop treating dogs like moldable toys and encouraging people to breed dogs with physical features that can cause chronic pain, shorten their lives, and have people see them as less than the interesting and intelligent beings they are.”

PETA has also written a letter (available upon request) to the American Kennel Club asking President and CEO Dennis Sprung to use the group’s influence to help end the “beauty” evaluation in all dog shows that it promotes or sponsors. Dogs used in these shows frequently spend most of their lives in crates, they’re often forced to have their fur in curlers and to wear booties that restrict the movement of their toes, the powder used to whiten their coats often bothers their sensitive noses, and they’re otherwise manipulated for human amusement and prizes.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Westminster Kennel Club President Charlton Reynders III follows.

June 7, 2018

Charlton Reynders III
Westminster Kennel Club

Dear Mr. Reynders,

In light of the welcome news that the Miss America pageant has scrapped its swimsuit and evening gown competitions, we urge the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) to drop the “beauty” aspect of the Westminster Dog Show.

Beauty may be subjective, but Westminster is an ugly business. Every year, thousands of dogs are paraded around, required to hold their heads and trot just so, and made to stand in the “correct” position so that judges can scrutinize every inch of their bodies—from their purposely inbred squashed-in noses, bug eyes, and dropped hips and their surgically sculpted ears to their amputated tails. Their heads are often held in a table noose for hours so that they can be preened: Curlers are put in their fur, powder is applied to make their fur whiter, and even eyeliner is put on them to make their eyes look bigger. They are also made to wear booties that keep their feet clean at the expense of the movement of their toes. Instead of celebrating these complex, intelligent animals for who they are, the show currently devalues them by imposing artificial “beauty” regimes on them, placing the emphasis on some perverse human notions of canine beauty.

We hope to hear that the WKC will follow the Miss America pageant’s lead and judge dogs by their talents, abilities, and personalities, rather than by their looks. Dogs are wonderful as they are and deserve better than this outdated beauty pageant.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind