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PITA at it again.

December 26, 2008
Bonnie Hammer, President
USA Network
2 pages via fax
Dear Ms. Hammer:
We hope this letter finds you well. On behalf of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I am
writing in the hope that you will meet with us briefly regarding an urgent
matter: the USA Network’s February airing of the controversial Westminster Kennel
Club Dog Show
As you may know, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) has just announced
that it will no longer televise Britain’s Crufts dog show, based on the
British Kennel Club’s refusal to exclude from the dog show’s main competitions at
least 12 breeds—including the basset hound, the mastiff, the Rottweiler, and
the German shepherd—classified as “at risk” (by the Kennel Club itself) for
dangerous, often painful physical conditions attributed to overbreeding, as
well as the intentional breeding of these dogs purely for looks versus
temperament and good health.
The British Kennel Club has now pledged to review and revise breeding
standards for more than 200 breeds in the U.K. and has already informed Pekingese
breeders that it is no longer acceptable to breed dogs with flat faces, as
this intentionally bred-in trait causes many dogs to suffer breathing distress
and difficulties that can even be fatal. The British Kennel Club’s American
counterpart, the American Kennel Club (AKC), has done nothing to help reduce
the physical problems that plague “purebreds,” despite the American Veterinary
Medical Association
’s (AVMA) public release of its new policy against
cropping the ears and docking the tails of dogs for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA
specifically encourages altering breed standards to eliminate these two
now-common practices, citing the pain, blood loss, and infection that these surgical
mutilations commonly cause dogs to endure.
Since dog breeders routinely use incestuous inbreeding and genetic
manipulation to achieve a certain “desired” trait
like a slanted back or a concertina
face, it’s not surprising that as many as one in four purebred dogs is
plagued with a serious genetic problem. Beagles like Uno, last year’s winner of the
AKC’s “Best in Show” category, have a significantly higher risk of
hypothyroidism, demodectic mange (a condition that occurs when a dog’s immune system
cannot combat the proliferation of mites living in the dog’s hair follicles),
epilepsy, and hip dysplasia. Poodles, like contestants Vikki and Remmy, who
were just edged out by Uno in the competition, are prone to cataracts,
progressive retinal atrophy, allergies, and ear infections; Labrador retrievers—
America’infections; Labrador r prone to bone disease, hemophilia, and retinal
degeneration; Dalmatians are often deaf; and Great Danes are bred to be so
large that thei r hearts give out early.
The list goes on and on, and all the problems stem from deliberate genetic
manipulation. problems stem from deliberate genetic manipulation. <WBR>You can
jo in order to create a look that negatively affects their health,
temperament, and quality of life is unacceptable. I would be glad to meet with you. We
hope to inform our members that you will decide not to televise Westminster’s
annual dog show.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Daphna Nachminovitch, Vice President
Cruelty Investigations Department

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