If ever there were an event in which winning really meant losing, it would have to be Crufts.
This year’s Best in Show winner, Devon, as a West Highland terrier, is predisposed to a laundry list of genetic illnesses – including craniomandibular osteopathy, (a disease also known as Westie jaw), skin disorders, (like atopic dermatitis), neurological diseases, (such as globoid cell leukodystrophy), and abdominal hernias, among other ailments.
And of course, it’s not just Westies who suffer. Lori, the lame German shepherd who could barely get herself around the ring and who was still awarded Best of Breed, is another example of breeders’ twisted obsession with arbitrary physical characteristics causing dogs to suffer from painful and crippling genetic defects.
Whatever lip service The Kennel Club pays regarding “welfare”and whatever token sanction might be imposed as a result of a public outcry at seeing a crippled dog win an award, in the world of pedigree breeding, it is always the dogs who pay the real price.