As many of you know we were 'fortunate' to go to Crufts on Saturday 7th March.
When are arrived we were excited by the 'Crufts buzz' and made a bee-line for our favourite breeds. The NEC in Birmingham is HUGE and we did find ourselves getting a little lost a times :)
Before we address our concerns about the even we wish to say that we met some amazing owners, breeders, handlers and long standing owners who show their dogs. Sadly some of the things we saw whilst there overshadowed this. We also must note that wandering around the stalls and getting advice from stall holders was fantastic.
We have made several attempts to contact the Kennel Club, since Saturday, to address our concerns (email / Facebook / Twitter) and have yet received a response. On the actual day we tried to find Kennel Club representatives to report our concerns to, however everybody we spoke to didn't know who to sign post us to.
In order to ensure we are not 'barking up the wrong tree' we've taken time to review Kennel Club policies and the below refers to their own 'A Dogs Life Manifesto'.
The manifesto sets out the Kennel Club's vision for legislative changes that can help to protect dogs and is divided into sections that reflect all aspects of a dog's life - from breeding and acquisition to dog training, responsible dog ownership and everyday living, and includes a section on preventing unnecessary animal testing and the development of alternative testing methods.
Key manifesto asks of the Kennel Club's 'Dog's Life' Manifesto are:
The areas we wish to highlight are:
Acquisition - whilst at Crufts we were approached by a man to buy his dog. He said he didn't want it and it was for sale.
Training - whilst at Crufts we witness, on more than one occasion, dogs being hit in the face in order for them to lift their head up and handling dogs by their necks and tails (as widely reported in the press).
We also saw owners hitting their dogs sharply on the nose as they struggled to cage them.
Responsible Ownership - If you've ever been to crufts you will know that the show dogs are in stalls. These can be accessed by members of the public. The dogs are mainly caged, however the openings are on the outside. At numerous stall we saw dogs left unattended in their cages. These can be opened by anybody. Whilst we understand that some dogs are being shown by an individual - perhaps support could be offered so that if they need a break (the toilet or fresh air) then owners can leave knowing their dog is being looked after.
The discover dogs section was brilliant for people wishing to meet new breeds, however it was extremely hot in the NEC and it felt almost cruel to watch some dogs be stroked and handled by strangers. We did meet a gorgeous 8 month old Neapolitan Mastiff who was sat outside cooling down, he was so hot he left a perfectly shaped silhouette of himself in water on the concrete car park.
Research around the effects of hitting a dog are widely published. Click here for Victoria Stilwell's 'The Science Says: Don't Hit Your Dog'.
Whilst we did have enjoyable moments at Crufts, it is not a dog show we would recommend attended unless the Kennel Club put in some more strict measure to protect the dogs. After all Crufts is "ultimately a celebration of all dogs."
We would like to remind everyone, that whilst we did see some worrying dog ownership, we did also witness lots of love and affection between some dogs and their owners.
Kennel Clubs response:
Since initiating this blog, we have received an email address to send our concerns to. This email is: email@example.com. We hope you didn't have the same experience as us, but if you did - please do report this to the Kennel Club.
If we receive a response from this blog, we will post this here:
Becca (Director) - news and updates from Big Walkies!