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The animal rights organisation PETA has a petition calling for UK’s Channel 4 to drop Crufts from its TV schedule. Crufts is an annual pageant and agility competition run by the Kennel Club where dogs compete for trophies and cash prizes. The Kennel Club operates the national register of pedigree dogs in the United Kingdom.

The petition, addressed to Alex Mahon, the chief executive of Channel 4, states the following: “Crufts is a pageant for unhealthy dogs who are often plagued by agonising hereditary diseases after generations of inbreeding. The RSPCA refuses to attend the show, and no one who cares about dogs should celebrate this grotesque charade — nor should it be given a platform on British TV. With its obsession with ‘purity of breed’, Crufts popularises grossly exaggerated features in animals and awards prizes to dogs whose physical abnormalities make it impossible for them to lead a happy life — pugs with pushed-in faces who can barely breathe, Cavalier King Charles spaniels whose brains are too big for their skulls and bulldogs who can’t even mate without assistance, to name just a few examples.”

The BBC dropped Crufts from its schedule in 2008 after the Kennel Club did not agree to its request for certain breeds to be excluded. The club complained to Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, after a BBC investigation earlier that year found dogs on show suffered from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding. With so many dogs in animal shelters waiting to find a home, the concept of breeding pedigree dogs with very specific shapes and physical features and then selling them for profit, goes against the principles of veganism. And so is perpetuating specific human-made breeds carrying such abnormal characteristics — far from the normal wolf-looking features natural dogs should have, as they evolved from wolves not that long ago — to exploit dogs.