Thursday, February 16, 2012

Westminster, I've got news for you, my dogs are PUREBRED and they came from a shelter!

Westminster's decision to shield audience from misery of shelters

Mr. Scout's note: I heard momma say that she is gonna write to the folks at Westminster and tell them to stick their dog show 'where the sun don't shine'. Uhm, is that the Pacific Northwest☺☺☺?


Leslie Smith, Editor in Chief, Dogtime  The 2012 Westminster Dog Show came to a close yesterday, but the hubbub around the split with longtime sponsor of the show, Pedigree Dog Food, isn’t going away. Westminster announced earlier in the week it would be dropping Pedigree, contending that the images of shelter dogs featured in their ads are too depressing and a turn-off for their audience.
Westminster spokesperson David Frei explained the decision this way:
"Show me an ad with a dog with a smile. Don't try to shame me. We told [Pedigree] that and they ignored us."
Must feel terrible to be ignored and forgotten, Mr. Frei. Almost as if you don’t have a voice at all.
He goes on to say: "Our show is a celebration of dogs. We're not promotingpurebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs."
If by “celebrate all dogs,” you mean “let only purebreds enter the show,” I totally get it.
Frei clarifies: "When we're seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it's sad, but it's not our message."
Dude, yes! Euthanasia isn’t only a big-time buzz kill, it’s soooooo not what we want to think about as we endorse the breeding of more and more dogs in search of the perfect hind quarters and ideal withers while thousands die each day in shelters!!!!!!
Call me cynical, but I just don’t believe this is an argument over how to talk about dogs. It’s a question of whether we talk about dogs: shelter dogs. And scenes of unwanted innocent animals spliced between images of dogs with hundred dollarhaircuts and pristine pedicures — the contrast is stark. It might even make you feel like your priorities are a bit skewed. And no one wants that.
Even more surprising than the WKC’s “Let them eat cake” attitude are its various supporters. Pet columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle Christie Keith points out in her blog “Dogged” that Ad Council researchers found images of suffering animals don’t inspire people to adopt. They do something much more sinister: they inspire people to give money.
I have to admit, I’m not sure what the objection to giving money is. Few shelters I’ve worked with have been over-resourced or cash saturated. The majority need all the financial support they can get — and are fairly savvy about stretching their dollars. If Pedigree wants to give a chunk of change to my local shelter with the goal of making it shiny and inviting, by all means, I’m for it.
That’s not to say every ad needs to be doom and gloom. I love the spots of happy dogs in clean, modern shelters surrounded by enthusiastic volunteers. I know that approach is extremely successful with some audiences — it lets people see that a shelter can be a great, uplifting place to get a dog. But it's certainly not representative of the scene at most shelters. And that story needs esposure too.
Nor am I saying that dog shows are inherently bad or that we can’t enjoy showing off and admiring beautiful dogs. I peek at the show footage with the same guilty pleasure I do the Miss America contest. It’s fun to ooh and ahh over gorgeous physical specimens. And while contestants of the dog pageants probably come away with less emotional baggage than the beauty contest entrants, I have a hard time seeing much real value in either.
Bottom line, shows like these are entertainment for humans. Dogs couldn’t care less about their measurements falling into some pre-determined range. And when the AKC (of which Westminster is an affiliate) won’t even acknowledge the harm its standards impose, it’s not about love for a breed. It’s about prestige, bragging rights, and genetic engineering.
So, Mr. Frei, I would argue that Pedigree is not shaming you. Heck, the name of the brand is Pedigree. What it is doing is presenting an accurate portrayal of the fate of millions of companion animals. If you experience shame, those feelings originate with you, and the responsible thing to do is evaluate your actions rather than look away and pretend it doesn’t exist.
And if your audience chooses to turn the channel when those images are presented, and continue to support widespread breeding, that choice will not have been made in ignorance.
National Canine Cancer Foundation


Agnes B Bullock said...

SPOT ON!!!!! Won't be watching Westminster next year!

Jake of Florida said...

Thank you!!!

ra husky said...

Well pawed mates,

RA, Isis & Nanuk(3 shelter dogs)

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

HEAR, HEAR! Very well said and I hope you do send this to Frei and the AKC. Just WHO is all about money when multiple puppy mills puppies are registered every year with that blood money dripping into the AKC coffers? Oh, I know this was Westminster but same diff. THANK YOU.

Sheila and Bob said...

Thank You for this wonderful post.
You have said exactly what we feel.

Sheila & Bob
Hamish & Rescue Sophie

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Say it LOUD! Three of the members of the White Dog Army are purebred American Eskimos who are rescues! My brothers and sister far and away exhibit the best of our breed...loyal, forgiving, loving, and joyful spirits despite the hardships they have traveled.

Mr. Fei, ultimately, it is not about the shine of the coat but the glow of the soul.

kissa-bull said...

**toot** **toot**

pibble sugars
the pittie pack

An English Shepherd said...

Agree :-)

KT and Easton said...

could not of said it better!!
I quit watching Westminster a long time ago - the snooty hypocracy was difficult to digest - as usual, the dogs are the only ones involved that are pure of heart

Tweedles -- that's me said...

You said this so well, and your words should be spread everywhere for people to hear.
Its not right the way that Westminster is acting , and wanting to not show the world the real life situations of some doggys have to live- and that they need adopting. and its not right what they did to Pedigree

houndstooth said...

Two purebred Greyhounds and a purebred German Shepherd (not of hideous American show lines, thank you very much) salute you and agree!

Teddy Bear said...

Very, very well pawed.:)

Teddy Bear & Sierra

Asta said...

That is outwagoos
What nincompoops
it's impawtant fow hoomans to see sheltew doggies so they can get inpiwed and go adopt. sheeeesh
I don't like those westmintew peoples
I think you awe wondewful
smoochie kisses