>Westminster Dog Show is a Sham


While Winners Celebrate, Dogs Are Dying by the Millions
By Carole Raphaelle Davis
Not everyone jumped for joy on Valentine’s Day whenMalachy, the Pekingese, was named Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show.Real dog lovers raged. Why? Because a Peke won a beauty contest andconsequently tens of thousands of Pekes will suffer a horrible fate. Because itmeans rough years ahead for Pekinese breeding dogs who are abused in puppymills and backyard breeding operations. Because thousands of Pekinese will bedumped at the pound when the novelty wears off. The Westminster Dog Show andits parent, the American Kennel Club, the most established of the breedregistries, has blood on its hands.
I wasn’t always this angry about dog shows. As a teenagerI was a total dog geek. I would run every year to Madison Square Garden, thedog lover’s Mecca, to buy the three-day, all-access pass to The Westminster DogShow. Since then, during twenty plus years in the animal protection movement, Ihave learned the truth. The Westminster Dog Show is a sham. Behind the flashinglights and the trophies are the American Kennel Club’s dirty little secrets:
1. Annually, the AKC, a “non-profit” animal enterprise,profits over 40 million tax-exempt dollars promoting the business of dealingdogs; many of them inbred with genetic malformations that are painful for the dogsand expensive for the owners. See the BBC’s special, Pedigree Dogs Exposed: 
2. They routinely register puppies from inhumane dogfactories (puppy mills).
3. AKC reps are a constant presence at dog auctions,making deals not to promote the wellbeing of dogs, but to ensure registrationfees from unscrupulous breeders. At these auctions, commercial breeders buy andsell breeding dogs,  their“product,” for as low as a dollar. The “product,” which should be a family petin a loving home is instead sold to live out her sad life reproducing in acage.
4. The AKC denies and covers up its responsibility forcontributing to the millions of dogs housed in our nation’s shelter system at our expense until they aretragically killed.
5. The AKC spends millions of dollars fighting animalprotection legislation in every state in order to continue to profit from thedog dealing business.
And here are the dots it took me twenty years to connect:The Best-In-Show trophy awarded every year at the Westminster Dog Show fuelsintense desire for purebred dogs. It promulgates the purebred fetish—theelitist idea that some dogs are better than others because of absurd criterialike the length of their hocks, the shortness of their snout, the texture oftheir fur or the protrusion of their eyeballs.  Many of the genetic traits that garner prizes at dog showsare congenital malformations that cause suffering to dogs and can eventuallykill them. And by the way, none of those standards are the qualities that makeus love our dogs and that make our dogs love us.
This year, because of the Westminster Dog Show, millionsof people will covet the latest fashion accessory, a Pekinese dog, andcommercial breeders will happily cash in on the bonanza. Pet stores will orderthem by the truck-load from brokers, who will buy them in bulk from commercialbreeders. The word on the puppy pipe line will be: “Churn out those Pekinesepuppies, they’re selling like hotcakes!”
You can order your Peke on-line at nextdaypets.com. Allyou need is a credit card and your Peke will come in the mail in twenty-fourhours, just like a pair of shoes—if he survives the trip; many don’t. And whenPeke fashion passes its peak, you can unload your used Peke at any shelter,where unless a socially conscious person shows up to adopts him, he will bekilled.
While dogs are bought on a whim by selfish people whowant what they want when they want it, over five million companion animals arekilled in our nation’s shelter system for lack of adopters. It’s a nationalscandal that we are paying over $2.5 billion a year to house and kill theseinnocent animals. Twenty-five percent of those dogs are purebred dogs.
The Westminster Dog Show is a televised convention topromote the multi-billion dollar business of dealing purebred dogs. Behind thescenes is a sinister web of handshakes and deal-making with the long term planof fighting any legislative measures the animal protection movement attempts topass. Any talk of regulation that hinders the bottom line of commercialbreeders in order to alleviate the suffering of breeding dogs is met withfierce opposition and deep pockets.
The commercial breeders and the clubs that enable them,like the AKC,  are stubborn intheir insistence that animal rights activists back off . The breeders sticktogether, lobby Washington and take out ads in national newspapers to portraythe animal protection activists as “fringe,” “extremist,”  “anti-business” and “fanatics.”
The animal protection movement is not going to back off.We will continue to expose the truth about the dog dealing industry and theshows that promote them. The Westminster Dog Show and the American Kennel Clubneed to come clean about their shameless disregard for the welfare of dogs.Instead, they congratulate themselves with trophies while we go broke cleaningup their mess, rescuing broken dogs, nursing them back to health, soothingtheir fear and finding them loving homes.
While the Westminster Dog Show winners celebrate, we cryover our dead—the millions and millions of dead dogs, our supposed bestfriends.
Carole Raphaelle Davis is the author of “The Diary of Jinky, Dog of a Hollywood Wife” and the West Coast Director of The Companion Animal Protection Society

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