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Do You Watch Westminster?
PETA wants to end TV coverage for Westminster

The BBC decided not to broadcast the famous Crufts dog show in 2009, which stunned the international dog fancy and delighted its critics. A recent BBC documentary, "Pedigree Dogs Exposed," demonstrated the serious health problems in some breeds due to breeding for subjective looks in the conformation ring instead of sound structure, temperament and long-term health. In response, the Kennel Club released "Healthy New Years Resolutions" for purebred dogs. Changes include revisions to breed standards, banning inbreeding, and requiring identification such as tattoos or microchips in order to participate in KC-sponsored health clearances.

PETA is now actively campaigning to cancel coverage of Westminster, the American version of Crufts. Will this encourage the AKC to follow in the pawprints of the KC? Should changes be made?

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Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by Melissa | January 21 2009 |

I am tired of seeing breeders and owners of pure-bred dogs demonized in
blogs and certain dog magazines where rescuing is put above all. I agree
that rescuing is fantastic, I even want to rescue my next dog - but it's not always an option or suitable for every person and the criteria they are looking for in a dog. I'm so utterly happy with doing proper research and finding the dog breed I wanted and a wonderful breeder is always around when I have questions and concerns.

I recently received an email from a Vet who is speaking out against PETA and their attack on Westminster. She had this to say:

"Adorable mixed breeds get cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart
disease, and orthopedic problems just like purebreds. I see it every
day in my veterinary practice but mixed breed dogs aren't tracked like
the purebreds so they have a reputation as "healthier" that is actually
undeserved in many cases.

All animals have a certain amount of genetic load, which is to say
there is absolutely no animal without some genetic problem of some sort
of another. Know anyone who wears glasses? Has allergies? Thyroid
problems? Weak knees? Flat feet? A skin condition? Arthritis? A gap
between their front teeth? These are all genetic imperfections.

No human is genetically "clean." Neither is any individual of any
species on earth. So this idea that dogs should not be bred because
they might have a genetic problem, and that breeders are somehow "evil"
for breeding them, is ridiculous. Every single individual of every
single species has at least a few genetic conditions."

When people are choosing a breeder - they need to be smart about their research and check into references - people who have bought puppies from them in the past - check into the general health of the breed and problems that might be common, etc. I think if everyone advocated for quality and responsible breeders vs. buying from pet stores and commercial breeders we would all be better served.

It always comes down to freedom of choice - and PETA's agenda seems to be trying to eliminate that.

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