New York’s Madison Square Garden hosts the 135th Annual Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show today and tomorrow. The most prestigious canine competition in the world, it will receive live, prime time coverage in the U.S. and here in Canada.
Raising and exhibiting purebred dogs is an immensely popular pastime — and an extremely lucrative industry. But is it in the best interest of the animals? As we noted in an earlier post, the 2008 BBC documentary PEDIGREE DOGS EXPOSED (airing tonight on The Pet Network at 9 pm ET / 10 pm PT) blames competitive dog showing for an epidemic of disability, deformity and disease among many canine breeds.
According to filmmaker Jemima Harrison, who now blogs regularly on the topic, the inbreeding that is done to preserve and enhance the physical traits required by the Kennel Club’s exacting breed standards also perpetuates a wide variety of genetic diseases. By choosing to play God with these breeds, placing cosmetic features above quality of life, we have subjected many animals to unncessary suffering.
While PEDIGREE DOGS EXPOSED places its focus on purebreds in the UK (whose health problems cost their owners an estimated 10 million pounds in vet fees every week), animal welfare advocates in North America have raised similar concerns.
Catch tonight’s broadcast, and decide for yourself. PEDIGREE DOGS EXPOSED repeats on Thursday Feb. 17 at 9 pm ET / 10 pm PT.