Uncomfortable Westminster Kennel Club Facts From PETA

For Immediate Release:
February 7, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

As the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show approaches, PETA is sharing the following information about the dark side of dog shows, including their contribution to the homeless-animal crisis and the overpopulation of companion animals:

  • The show encourages the breeding of “purebred” (genetically manipulated for long noses, big chests, hunting abilities, etc.) dogs, even though more than 6 million homeless animals end up in shelters every year and half them must be euthanized for lack of good homes.
  • A Salon report exposed the cruelty of the multibillion-dollar industry behind events such as the Westminster dog show, including large-scale breeding farms, puppy-mill brokers, auctioneers, and pet store owners. They all cash in on the demand for purebred puppies who are produced en masse after a Best in Show win.
  • Purebred dogs are at a higher risk of suffering from a variety of congenital ailments than mixed breeds are:
    • Last year’s winning breed, the bichon frise, is prone to hyperadrenocorticism (aka “Cushing’s disease”), allergies, patellar luxation, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, and liver disease.
    • 2017’s winning breed, the German shepherd, commonly suffers from crippling hip dysplasia.
    • The list goes on: Labrador retrievers—America’s most popular dog breed—are prone to bone disease, hemophilia, and retinal degeneration; great Danes are bred to have such huge bodies that their hearts give out prematurely; and cocker spaniels’ long ears frequently become infected.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—will protest outside the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 12 at 5:30 p.m.

“At a time when overrun animal shelters are prompting forward-thinking cities such as Los Angeles to ban the retail sale of dogs, the Westminster Kennel Club is still encouraging breeders to churn out litter after litter of purebred puppies,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges everyone who cares about animals to skip the dog show, support their local animal shelter, and never buy an animal from a pet store or breeder.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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