Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity has announced it will be withdrawing from Crufts and Discover Dogs. Dogs Trust will also not be involved in this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year Show. This follows consultation with the charity’s Trustees and requests from its supporters.
Dogs Trust believes that this removal of support is the strongest signal it can give to the Kennel Club and breeders to achieve immediate action to ensure that the health and wellbeing of pedigree dogs is ranked over appearance and artificial breed standards.
Dogs Trust hopes that this will lead to rapid changes in the manner in which dogs are bred and is in talks with Defra and The Kennel Club to help bring about the following much needed changes:
1. The review of breed standards to ensure they are firmly focused on the health and wellbeing of the dog, not the supposed aesthetics of the breed. Breeders and show judges must be required to adhere to these revised breed standards.
2. The introduction of secondary legislation, so as to prevent inappropriate breeding practices, especially the intentional inbreeding of closely related dogs or dogs with known debilitating genetic illnesses.
3. The introduction of genetic screening of all breeding stock and the assured integrity of such a process.
4. Purchasers of dogs should first consider a rescue dog. If it is a pedigree, they must understand the importance of determining and questioning its genetic heritage.
Dogs Trust has had a long history of working with The Kennel Club in order to promote rescue dogs at pedigree shows and we hope to be able to continue this relationship as soon as these vital animal welfare points have been put in place.