A response to PETA’s disruption of Crufts…

Chuck’s Mummy here! I don’t often write long ranty posts, but I’m going to, to stand alongside every dog show handler, breeder, and dog. I don’t really care if anyone agrees or disagrees but this article makes me absolutely FURIOUS… and here’s why:

1) You cannot compare the cruelty of a bullring to Crufts or indeed any dog show at any level. If you’re going to stand up for animal rights, go and tackle illegal dog fights. Go and tackle puppy farming, animal testing, the ivory trade, hunting, game sports… go and tackle real abuse. Not a dog show where people put their dogs first.

2) “breeding dogs for their looks” – that’s an incredibly shallow scratch on the surface of what we do. We breed for temperament, health and type. Judges are judging against these qualities, they don’t go “ahhh, cute! First prize!” Many dogs are indeed bred for their looks – look at all the “designer” cross-breeds around. You know what? The KC takes a dim view of breeding for looks. They just don’t shout as loud about it as maybe they should. “Being bred with “pushed-in” faces and weak hips is what puts them at risk” this isn’t actually what Crufts is there for at all… you need to tackle the general public on this one, and the irresponsible breeders who will happily not test their dogs, not pay attention to Inbreeding COI scores and general disregard everything in pursuit of cold hard cash. If there’s a market, they’ll sell to it. Lots is being done to promote healthy stock by the KC, more than ever before, but this is a long multi-faceted marathon to improve, so many of these “deformed” dogs are being imported from abroad now, because UK breeders are taking a stand. It’s a bigger issue than dog shows themselves. Notice that none of these “deformed” dogs were put through to the show you disrupted. Things are moving forward, and you would do better to help promote welfare than protest against showing.

3) In a world where people are in a heightened state of paranoia over terror attacks, what the bloody hell did you think you were doing, storming the show ring? Do you know the panic you caused? It wasn’t helping your cause. You looked irresponsible. You say “my aim is to give audiences pause, to get them to stop and consider” – yeah, do you know what they paused to consider? If they were about to get blown up. Idiot.

4) Do you really know the organisation you’re “speaking” for, with these acts? PETA euthanise perfectly healthy dogs and other animals because they simply can’t be bothered to rehome them. They’ve even admitted to this. Why?

5) “I was no threat to the animals in that arena, but undoubtedly they did feel threatened by the thousands of people, bright lights, music, and loudspeaker announcements in the ring and by being yanked around by the neck, even while wearing choke collars.” They’re not wearing choke collars, they’re literally on the flimsiest of strings… Look at the canine body language of the dogs in that ring, did they look threatened, scared? No. Nobody would take a threatened, scared dog into a show ring like that – they’re well-acclimated to being in this sort of environment. Do you know what threatens them? A crazy person storming the ring and running at them.

6) “when they weren’t being forced to perform, they were being sprayed with products or confined to crates – all weekend long”. Incorrect on many levels, they’re not there all weekend long, you’re there for the time you’re showing, that’s all. You wander around, you go outside, you eat, you snooze… and when did crate training become abuse? Yes, some (but certainly not all) are sprayed with products – most of which carry fewer toxins than the things humans use on themselves. Nobody can force a dog to perform. Have you ever tried getting a Newfoundland into a bath when he doesn’t want to go? Good luck with that one… The steward wouldn’t even let you in the ring if they saw distress.

If I had been in that ring, and you had come within a metre of me and my dog, I’d have taken you down (and Chuck would have probably got to you first). How dare you put me and Chuck in the category of “animal abusers”, you misinformed, camera-hungry fanatic.

Magical Bath Time

Yesterday, Mummy had to go to visit a school in Bath on a business trip.  Because it’s Half Term for schools and looked like a nice sunny day, Daddy was available and we both hitched a ride with Mummy to see if we could find a good place for a long walk (downhill!) from Claverton Down to Limpley Stoke, passing a famous aqueduct on the way.  This part of Bath is beautiful, lots of green hills, rivers, canals and open fields.  Daddy has an OS map reader on his phone so had planned a Geography walk for us.

I had previously posted on our WT facebook group asking if anyone knew of good Chuck-Friendly places to eat in the area.  Unfortunately, a lovely pub that used to cater for four-legged guests, The Wheelwright Arms, has decided to revoke its policy towards us, which is pretty mean.  Scratch that one off the list! We did find a lovely place, a bit further West called the Hope and Anchor Inn, in Midford.  They have a  small but good enclosed sunny garden that has terraced layers and I wasn’t the only dog visitor!  I can thoroughly recommend their ham and it is on a great cycle track.

By far, the best thing about our trip was the amount of cow pat everywhere.  I bloomin’ LOVE cow pats.  This did mean that when we got home, another type of bath awaited me.  I love both types of Bath.

Therapy & Comfort in the Workplace

010522cdfb4c6358d632bc04eeb19ac0b374ceb988Dogs in the workplace.  A tricky one, right? For sure, there are many places of work that really wouldn’t suit dogs.  Manufacturing industry workplaces, for example.  Public transportation, too – probably unwise.  But… schools? General offices?

Here I am in mummy’s office.  I’m helping her strategise her next income generation campaign.  I’m on my lead, but I have space to roam.  You can’t see it, but I also have water and a nice cosy chair.  Mummy’s office is in a big school, and technically I’m not really supposed to be here.

I’m a polite, well-trained, quiet, friendly pup.  I like people, I also like sleeping a LOT.  I don’t bark, or wee in places I shouldn’t.  I’m always on my lead and mummy’s office has direct access outside without getting in anyone’s way.  She’s lucky – she has a corner office all to herself, with an ante-office for her staff.  So why am I not really supposed to be here?

Germs, poo and detritus

Ok, yes – I might poo on the school field, but my mummy is responsible and will pick it up.  Local cats, foxes and other creatures leave worse behind!  I’m regularly treated with worming tablets and flea-gel.  As much as mummy can guarantee, I’m parasite-free.

Some people are scared of dogs

Also true.  But I’m not sitting in a maths class or in the queue for snacks at break time.  I’m in mummy’s office.  She will take me out for my business when it’s quiet.  I’m not roaming round the school by myself, looking for a juicy child to chew.

You’re here to work, not to play with your pets

Ah.  That’s an interesting and naive statement.  Yes, ok – on the face of it, we are all there to work and shouldn’t be playing tug in the corridors.  But I’m not a baby any more.  I sleep most of the day anyway.  And I like to sit on my mummy’s lap when she types.  Then we have the whole argument of therapeutic pets.  There are scores of reports about pets increasing employee productivity, reducing stress etc.  At what point does employee welfare come second to ‘elfn’safety?

If one person does it, everyone will want to bring theirs in, and they’re not all as well trained as yours

Tricky.  But some ground rules perhaps to reduce the deluge of applicants for pupprenticeships?  The Kennel Club even agrees that there needs to be some sort of framework. I would suggest the following, in no particular order, and it’s not going to please everyone:

  • Teachers or staff whose work takes place directly with the children in classrooms shouldn’t be bringing their pets to school  – allergies, for one is a good reason that this should be enforced.  You just can’t guarantee your classroom will always be 100% non-allergic.  Or that the next teacher in your room will be non-allergic.
  • Weewee breaks should take place outside of break times and lunch times for the kids.
  • Leads on at all times.  If appropriate, baby gate across office door.
  • Up to date worming and flea shots
  • Dogs must be responsibly trained and stranger-friendly (no barking at the principal!)

For now, that’s as far as we have got.  I will remain an elusive presence at mummy’s school.