Thoughts on Westminster and PETA …

image002-25There’s been a great deal of discussion making the rounds in the dog communities about a recent LA Times article wherein PETA is calling for the USA Network to discontinue airing the Westminster dog show. While I do believe in animal welfare — so much so that I’m deeply involved with rescue and have been for almost a decade — I do not buy into the animal rights extremist movement as it seeks to destroy the relationship between man and animal.

Libbye Miller, DVM, left the following in the comments section of the LA Times article and which content gives great pause for thought …

No one ever seems to mention the millions of dollars that AKC and the Canine Health foundation have invested in medical research that benefits ALL dogs as well as humans.

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.  … 

Another poster — Debz — goes on to state …

”  … 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.

To use PETA’s logic, all breeding of all kinds (including having human babies) should halt immediately. And to be honest, Ingrid Newkirk (the woman who founded PETA) does believe exactly that. She thinks that humans should become extinct, along with dogs, cats, etc. This ridiculous scenario is precisely what she would like to see happen.

So folks, if that is what you want … if you agree with Ingrid Newkirk’s whacky views, send your hard earned money to PETA. They will help to ensure you are not able to own a dog or cat or hamster or any other pet in the future. They will see to it that you can’t eat meat or fish or eggs or any type of animal-based nutrition. They will work to shut down places like Sea World, the zoos, etc. so you cannot observe the many wonderful animals on the Earth. Eventually, once they accomplish these things, they may turn their efforts to making it illegal for humans to procreate.

If you don’t agree with their extremist views, wise up and start supporting those who truly do love, care for and enjoy interaction with other species here on our little blue planet.

The fanciers of the breeds, those you see exhibiting their dogs at Westminster and other dog shows, work very hard to eliminate serious genetic conditions. They screen their breeding stock with every available test. They research pedigrees before breeding into other lines, to check for similar clearances in those animals. They contribute money to research organizations to further the work being done to track down genetic problems. They contribute blood, cell samples, etc. from their own animals to help with DNA and genome studies. They have made great progress so far, and they continue to work hard at it.   [Emphasis added]

Are there unethical breeders? Certainly, there are. Just as in any group of humans, you will find the good and the bad. United States VP Elect Joe Biden, for example, managed to find a not so good one when he got his new German Shepherd puppy. I don’t know who did his research for him, but they obviously didn’t do their homework if they were looking for a responsible breeder. Joe has the right to get his dog from whomever he wishes, but if he was trying to set an example of purchasing from a responsible hobby breeder he went off the track this time. That’s too bad, but it was his choice.

Unfortunately, breeders like that may be a lot easier to find because of their high volume and high profile. If you are looking for a nice family pet from a breeder who will be there for you forever, you need to do due diligence. You won’t get that from a pet store. You won’t get that from the guy selling dogs out of his pickup truck in the WalMart parking lot. You won’t get that support from a high-volume breeder, either. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to find someone who really cares and does all the work to breed the healthiest, happiest puppies possible and then stands behind those puppies.

This is a living being that will be part of your family, hopefully, for many years. Isn’t it worth a bit of effort to find a breeder who will be there for you and that puppy forever?

And guess what? Shows like Westminster are a very valuable resource for finding breeders who do care and who use the best possible practices, as well as for learning more about the various breeds.

Bravo to USA Network for broadcasting the Westminster Kennel Club show all these years. May they enjoy continued success through the ongoing inclusion of such programs. I will be eagerly watching this year’s show!”

You can bet I’ll be watching as well!!   As pointed out in the above, there are “Breeders” seeking to preserve who expend a great deal of time, effort, passion and personal funding in order to produce sound, healthy dogs.  There also those “breeders” who seek only to capitalize on what can be produced with no regard for dog or purchaser past net profit.  As diligent owners, it falls upon us to distinguish between the two.

Westminster:  NIGHT 1:
Monday, February 9
Hound, Terrier, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups
8-9 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network
9-11 p.m. (ET) live on CNBC
Tuesday, February 10
Sporting, Working and Toy Groups, Best In Show
8-11 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network

Breed judging highlight videos are available throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday on the Westminster Web site. These highlights will be available after the show.

7 Replies to “Thoughts on Westminster and PETA …”

  1. Thank you so much for accurately quoting and attributing these blog entries to their respective authors.

    Dr. Miller is being credited (or in some cases chastised) incorrectly for the entire post by Debz, which quoted her post and thanked her for making it. Debz’ post is being crossposted all over the place to the point that it has gone viral, I guess. Some places where it has been crossposted, they have even signed Dr. Miller’s name and city location to the bottom of the post that quoted her (the one by Debz). Since Dr. Miller didn’t include her location in the original comment she left, someone had to do a bit of research in order to find that info and append it to Debz’ post.

    Apparently, Dr. Miller is not happy about being given “credit” for what Debz wrote, and who can blame her?

    I believe the post by Debz made it pretty clear (in it’s original form) that it was thanking Dr. Miller for her comment, quoting a snippet of her post, and then going on to make additional comments. But others who have crossposted it have changed it.

    I don’t know how to fix this. I can’t even begin to imagine.

    I am Debz.

  2. >>> I don’t know how to fix this. I can’t even begin to imagine.

    The only thing I can suggest would be to correct it when you come across it, Debz. And, I’ll admit, my original post contained the incorrect entry as it came across in my email. Next time, perhaps quoting and adding “~~ author” before going into a personal entry would prevent a wildfire. Then again … it may not!

  3. Hi Debz! It’s Libbye. We seem to have much in common these days.

    I’m certainly not unhappy with you, I just don’t want to take credit for things I didn’t write. I’ve had other articles I’ve written posted places without permission or credit and I don’t want to do that to another author.

    I’ve had a ton of people who would like to reprint your letter, properly attributed. If you can let me know how to get in touch, I’ll send them along.

  4. Hi Libbye,

    Great to hear from you here and glad to hear you weren’t blaming me in this fiasco. 😉

    Just seeing this post now. Haven’t been ignoring you, but have been busy caring for a failing elderly dog. Just got to visit the board for the first time in a while.

    I will contact you privately for more.



  5. My grandaughter and I were at the westminster this yr. It was a long time dream of ours to go. It was wonderful. But I missed the lasos

    We have a wonderful little gierl that we rescued. she is sooooo sweet.

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