Racism and Inequality in the World of Dog Showing
A recent article published in the weekly trade newspaper, Dog World addressed what the new vice chair at the Kennel Club Mike Townsend wanted to do to attract more newcomers to exhibit pedigree dogs. Having read the article and several responses by those with an obvious passion for dogs via its online forum It was surprising that the site moderator had removed several valid comments regarding ethnic minorities, the disabled and all other minorities with an interest indeed a passion for dogs, who had been conspicuously absent from judging appointments, or had been removed because show society managers felt the disabled judge was a danger to dogs and other users, writes 'The Dog Watcher'.
Most will agree that the world of pedigree dog shows is synonymous with Hyacinth Bucket types, the frumpy older woman with her two pence halfpenny accent, the bachelor male with his wonderful feminine attributes as they joyfully prance about the ring with a somewhat bemused looking dog all primped yet loyally following along, but , ask yourself, when was the last time you attended a show in the 21st century and didn’t see one of the higher positions being held by one of the more obvious minority groups , be that a disabled person, or an ethnic minority person. You will see outwardly gay and lesbian judges so one has to ask the awkward question as to why if one minority group is attracting participants why are the others not ?
The Kennel Club employ a huge workforce , they support dog clubs and show societies from all over the UK , they appear to only attract the Hyacinth Buckets or the Victor Meldrews , yet are failing to attract others with obvious differences. We have asked the Kennel Club to verify and define how many employees they have from what ethnic groups, or the disabled either in judging positions or managers heading new schemes such as the ABS or Health Departments, we also asked how those positions were filled , advertised or tendered in the national press, awaiting a reply. Inequality, ignorance and racism cannot ever be justified it is intolerable and illegal no matter where they take place.
With a new Vice Chair asking how to attract newcomers into the ring , yet clearly not contemplating the facts that dog exhibition in the UK is still a right wing white middle class hobby and that the KC is still an outdated blast from its past , one has to say it is both disappointing that a World Kennel Club such as ours is still being run by arrogant overbearing pretentious two pence halfpenny toffs who care more about the social aspect of the World of Dogs rather than the Importance of Welfare or Health . That cannot bode well for the future of dogs or indeed more worryingly for smaller local open shows the future of exhibition.
The KC have to realise that they cannot go on with the view that pedigree dogs belong to one social class and that mixed breeds are for the poor .They must employ in more visible positions the dog owner who has a passion for animal welfare, the minority member of staff in judging positions who may well use a wheelchair or a walking stick, (any well socialised animal would recognise these from its normal home-life), unless of course we accept that there are some show dogs who live life in a cage so as not to damage its coat, they do not see life as they were meant to and they do not walk within their local community…That indeed would support the view of PDE and fundamentally those owners would indeed be committing offences that contravene The Animal Welfare Act.
It is becoming clear that some people involved in dogs are being discriminated against because they dare to challenge the KC on issues such as welfare, health and mismanagement of dogs on the whole. If the KC are to make firm progress for the future of dogs it is inevitable they will have to change how they operate, no longer should positions be filled by Harriet or Ginger because they have been in dogs for 30 years, its those people who have created the furore of ill health and poor conformation by striving to be different, sadly like sheep others soon followed. The KC allowed that to continue all the time causing many dogs immense suffering and the ONLY time they decided to apply the brakes was when PDE was aired. Shame on them !
There is also growing support for a new registry system not run by the Kennel Club , possibly a good thing for dogs in the long term only time will tell. In the short term however , dogs are remaining untested and unfit for purpose, grandfather to granddaughter matings are still taking place and being registered by the KC because the Kennel Club are still listening to the very people namely show exhibitors who created much of the ills of dogs today and judges are still awarding Ccs to lame unfit unhealthy dogs!
What have they learned from PDE. NOTHING of consequence !
A new KC system is needed to employ judges who actually know the dogs in front of them and to stop facey decisions continuing. One that also employs minority groups and the disabled on level par with others. Finally a KC that is not entrenched into the past but one that grasps the 21st century with both hands and becomes more equal , more inclusive , more diverse and more transparent with an effective appeals system for those who tread the path of challenge for whatever reason..
Gladly that would make most presently working at the KC unemployed !
What do you think: Is dog showing an inherently racist environment?