Thursday, 10 February 2011

New campaign targets Crufts - Parody or Peta?

First up, let me say that I have no time for the People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (Peta) and am on the record calling them a bunch of crackpots.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed and this blog is all about animal welfare, not animal rights; about campaigning to ensure that pedigree dogs enjoy a healthier future not, as Peta wants, no future at all.

While PETA in the US is an undeniably powerful force, it hasn't amounted to much here in the UK - last year a group of earnest men and women dressed up in dog costumes and waving the odd poster outside Crufts.

The KC did get upset when Peta UK paid for an advertising site on a bus shelter in Birmingham close to the National Exhibition Centre to display this poster - but lost a bid to have it taken down. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the ad was not offensive.

Of course many dog breeders would disagree. And so they're really not going to like this attempt to make the point that people should adopt a rescue dog than buy a pedigree pup.

I won't reproduce any images from the spoof website here as I suspect the KC has a strong legal case as regards the adulteration of their logo.

Although it does look like Peta UK might be behind it (they're using the same image that was used on the bus shelter), they claim they are not. So who is? Satirists or animal rights nut-jobs?

Pedigree Dogs Exposed is often accused of fueling the animal rights agenda and of course we were concerned that our message would be hijacked by animals rights extremists. But we never felt - and still don't - that this was a good enough reason to not make the points as strongly as we did in the film.  After all, no one thinks that because the RSPCA has highlighted the misery of battery-farmed hens that it endorses the bombing of the farms where caged birds are raised.

I'm sure I'll get a bit of stick for publicising this new website. But if it is animal rights activists behind it, it's good to know what your enemy is up to. This presents a strong case for rehoming a dog rather than buying one, something many ordinary people will think is perfectly reasonable. Don't be fooled though -many animal rights extremists like Peta want the eradication of the dog as a pet. They think it's enslavement.

Must tell that to the ones that are currently on my sofa, having dragged me out for a two-hour walk in the driving rain on Salisbury Plain this afternoon.


  1. There is an equally bad animal rights group in the USA: the Humane Society of the US (H$U$). PETA and H$U$ are a pair. H$U$ uses its massive contributions to fund anti-pet and anti-breeder legislation in states, counties, and municipalities throughout the USA. It does not operate any animal shelters or pet adoption centers, and less than 1% of its monies are used to support shelters for homeless dogs and cats. See for more info. -- Rod Russell, USA

  2. You don't think that the animal rights people have much clout in the UK?

    What about the Huntingdon Laboratories case and who do you think was instrumental in passing the "Hunting with Dogs" law??

  3. Not what I said, DP... I said that Peta doesn't have any clout in the UK. There are, indeed, other more powerful groups in the UK - although none calling for the abolition of pets as far as I'm aware. That is not a message that would get support here.


  4. Most people who support PeTA don't know that PeTA wants "total animal liberation." I think many of the celebrities who show up at the big PeTA fundraisers have no clue.

    Here's a quote from PeTA president and founder Ingrid Newkirk (who is British, right?):

    “I don’t use the word 'pet.' I think it’s speciesist language. I prefer 'companion animal.' For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding. People could not create different breeds. There would be no pet shops. If people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets. You would have a protective relationship with them just as you would with an orphaned child. But as the surplus of cats and dogs (artificially engineered by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship – enjoyment at a distance.”

  5. Hi Jemima - Wasn't there a sequence in Pedigree Dogs Exposed that compared pedigree dog breeding with Nazi eugenics? What did you mean?

    You also say above that this website "makes the point that people should adopt a rescue dog than buy a pedigree pup". Many support that sentiment, however the website you refer to says that people are not adopting rescue dogs as they are "filthy half breeds". I dont have accurate data but I think that many dogs in rescues are in fact pedigrees. It is actually very hard to find a "heinz 57" mongrel nowadays - they just dont seem to exist.

    I support your efforts in highlighting some of the health issues in pedigree dogs and the resistance of certain breed clubs to accept change.

    But I believe that as a pedigree dog lover you are providing succor and support to an animal rights agenda that you know full well is totally opposed to all companion animals. Where's the logic in that?

    Maurice Melzak

  6. Thanks for the comment, Maurice. When this website refers to "filthy half breeds" in rescues it is having a poke at the Kennel Club and breeders for their attitude towards purity.

    Yes, we mentioned the parallels between Kennel Club breeding practices and eugenics. Not the first and won't be the last.

    Have a look at Pat Burns' take on this (inc the Comments). Sharply worded as ever, but his references are sound:

    Re the claim that many dogs in rescues are pedigrees - just checked Battersea and they currently have 42 mongrels and a lot of crossbreeds available. The dogs listed under Labrador and GSD are all crosses, not purebred. Only one springer, one cocker, one greyhound. Lots of staffies, of course (although a lot of those are crosses too) and a fair few Rotties. But it is not true to say that rescues are overflowing only with pedigree dogs.


  7. Hi Jemima - I spoke to Battersea and though they know a pure bred dog when they see one, as most of their dogs are strays they have no paperwork to prove they are pedigree - so they cant always call them that. But an experienced dog person can usually tell by looking whether a dog is likely to be pedigree or not and they have, or have had, many GSD's, Jack Russell, Labs and Rotties that they are happy to describe as pure bred.

    As for the Heinz 57 mongrels I referred to, the 42 mongrels you mentioned are bullie/staffie crosses - not the mish-mash of breeds of the mongrel of old. Battersea recognises this distinction.

    Battersea's Customer Service Manager Carlton Spears told me “Years ago a Battersea Mongrel would be a medium to large sized dog with a bit of everything in it. Today our Mongrels often have some Staffordshire Bull Terrier . . ."

    To me these are Staffy crosses, not "old fashioned" mongrels.

  8. Yes, take the point made about a Battersea mongrel being a real mix in the past.

    The reason this no longer happens is because dogs do not stray like they did.

    But I still want to contend re the purebreds. Here's a link to the GSDs currently listed at Battersea. Not one of them is purebred:

    And here are the labradors: all crosses

    I realise this is just a snapshot of the current situation; perhaps it is different at other times.

    Am very surprised to hear that Battersea won't call a purebred dog a pedigree just because they don't have papers. As they say, it's easy enough to tell. Have to say I've never heard of a rescue organisation taking this stance. (And I do work in rescue myself.)

  9. Jemima what is the solution to the Cavaliers problems? What would you do with them if it were entirely down to you?

  10. "Am very surprised to hear that Battersea won't call a purebred dog a pedigree just because they don't have papers" the Dalmatians you keep on harping on about arnt pure bred but do have papers, would you call them non pedigrees then?!? you say one thing to suit your self but twist it when it doesnt.

  11. If it was really up to me, I'd say "stop". I think the little dogs have suffered enough.

    I think the only way that the continuation of the breed is justified would be if it was possible to establish a Cavalier Breeding Council made up of respected,health-focused breeders, geneticists and epidemiologists. The CBC would approve every breeding and only pups from those breedings are KC-registered. It goes without saying that the matings have to meet or exceed all current breeding guidelines and tackle the tricky issue of genetic diversity too. Every pup is monitored for life, fully screened etc. Every result is published. This sounds horribly big-brother but the situation is serious enough to warrant it.

    I think a properly thought-out outcross project should be established as well, perhaps trying a variety of options.

  12. Anon wrote: "Am very surprised to hear that Battersea won't call a purebred dog a pedigree just because they don't have papers" the Dalmatians you keep on harping on about arnt pure bred but do have papers, would you call them non pedigrees then?!? you say one thing to suit your self but twist it when it doesn't"

    That doesn't make a blind bit of sense, Anon... Want to have another go?

  13. I know what I would do with the Cavalier problem and I will probably get shot for saying this, but here goes:-

    I would be looking to outcross with another similar breed but without the S.M. problem or the heart problem and I would try to re-create the breed but in a much healthier form, with very selective and careful breeding and plenty of health testing.

    Cavaliers are such wonderful little dogs and it would be such a shame to lose the breed as they make fantastic pets for children, elderly and basically anyone. My first dog was a Cavalier, a Ruby one, and I competed in Obedience with her and she did great. Sadly she dies at 11 from a heart attack, but was pretty much a healthy, sound little dog.

  14. Manda, your idea makes perfect sense to me and may be the breed's only hope for survival.