Two people ran onto the stage at Crufts, an international dog show, last week to protest extreme dog breeding. The disruption, which was organized by PETA U.K., took place at the end of the show right after a whippet was awarded Best in Show. The demonstrators’ goal was to draw attention to the suffering caused when breeders try to create dogs who meet The Kennel Club’s ridiculous breed standards.

Crufts

BREAKING FOOTAGE: Animal activists storm arena at #Crufts "Best in Show" to protest against extreme breeding ??

Posted by PETA UK on Sunday, March 11, 2018

In keeping with their obsession with “purity of breed,” Crufts, Westminster, and other dog shows reward breeders for producing dogs who have specific physical traits—with little to no regard for their welfare. This extreme breeding puts animals at high risk of suffering from various painful diseases, birth defects, and congenital health conditions.

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Dachshunds, for example, are specifically bred to have long, “stretched-out” spines, which often causes them to develop disc disease or other back problems.

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Cavalier King Charles spaniels are genetically manipulated to have skulls that are nearly flat on top, and more than a third of them suffer from an agonizing condition called syringomyelia because their skulls are too small for their brains. Afflicted dogs often scream in agony, scratch themselves raw, and become progressively weaker until they can barely walk. Some become paralyzed.

The “pushed-in” faces of English bulldogs and pugs make it so difficult for them to breathe that many have trouble enjoying activities that dogs normally love, such as chasing a ball or going for walks, without struggling for air.

The idea of “breed standards” doesn’t just hurt the dogs suffering from conditions like these—it hurts all dogs. Breeders are continuously churning out litters of “pedigree” puppies, and dog shows are celebrating them. Meanwhile, millions of healthy “mutts” are euthanized in animal shelters every year, mostly for lack of enough good homes. We’re in the midst of an animal-overpopulation crisis, so it’s not OK for dog shows to promote breeding.

Together, We Can Help Dogs

Learn the difference between adopting and buying an animal, and never purchase one from a breeder or pet store. If you’re ready to bring an animal companion into your family, adopt one from an open-admission shelter. Don’t support breeders or the dog shows that glorify them.