Rumours that supporters of Jemima Harrison’s campaign are going to be busy at Crufts no sign of abating.
Over the weekend a new meme appeared on Facebook warning exhibitors that Ms Harrison’s Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat-Faced Animals (CRUFFA) allies may be mingling with exhibitors at the show.
It says, ‘Crufts 2017 warning! It has come to our attention that animal activists are planning ‘happenings’ at Crufts.
‘Make sure they don’t harm you or your dog! Stay calm, civilised and in control. Don’t give them any footage they can use for their propaganda and fake news.
‘Have a great Crufts ’17’. And it adds ‘This meme may be used freely by people who truly love and support pre bred dogs’.
Ms Harrison replied on her CRUFFA Facebook page saying, ‘It has come to our attention that hysterical furmommies are scaremongering about ‘happenings’ at Crufts! The truth is that animal welfare campaigners seeking to improve health and welfare would never do anything to harm your dog… because they love dogs too.
‘Have a great Crufts ’17’.
Two days later she called for photographs from the show, posting that CRUFFA’s ‘single-issue campaign’ at Crufts was pinched nostrils.
“The KC has written to the judges of all the brachycephalic breeds to remind them of the importance of open nostrils – and CRUFFA is keen to see if this translates into judges making better choices,” she wrote.
“The main breeds CRUFFA is interested in are: Pugs, French Bulldogs, Bulldogs and Boxers – but there are many other breeds where we see pinched nostrils, such as the Dogue de Bordeaux. CRUFFA would like to formally invite everyone who goes to Crufts this year to send in pictures of noses. Friday (toys and utility) is likely to be Bad Nose Day. But NB we are keen to celebrate the good too so if you see some great examples, please snap those, too.
“The KC stance on photography at Crufts is that members of the public are allowed to take photographs for non-commercial use, but they ask that you ask permission from the owner of the dog where possible. It is a help if you note or photograph the dog’s entry number so we can identify the dog if necessary.
“It goes without saying, I’m sure, that everyone needs to be courteous and polite to both handlers and dogs.”
In January, the Kennel Club wrote to brachycephalic breed clubs to allay fears that there might be CRUFFA activity at Crufts. The club had been plagued with phone calls from exhibitors who became concerned after reading that supporters were being asked to put stickers showing stenotic nostrils of on the benches.
In the email to the clubs the KC said: “Anyone who is made to feel intimidated or threatened by the actions of another person through actions such as intrusive photography or unauthorised leafleting, should report their concerns to a show steward who will deal with the issue appropriately.”
The KC pointed out that regulations stated that ‘no promotional material of an adhesive nature may be fixed to any part of the NEC building or appurtenances’ and that ‘no leaflets, samples or promotional material may be placed on the benching without written permission of the organisers’.
At the time Ms Harrison, founder of the CRUFFA campaign, told DOG WORLD: “I have already given several reassurances that anything CRUFFA does at Crufts will be within the rules/regulations.”
Even so, the issue – and rumours – were not going away in a hurry. More recently Ms Harrison received a phone call from the West Midlands force querying whether she was still planning to fly planes over the NEC and organise the presence of people dressed as giant French Bulldogs.
Ms Harrison explained that both had been ‘purely a bit of late-night Facebook jesting’. Since January a post has been pinned to the top of the CRUFFA page which says, ‘I would urge everyone to exercise a degree of scepticism in respect of plans for a CRUFFA insurgence at Crufts that would cost thousands of pounds to mount. It was a late-night joke – which I’m astonished was not obvious to everyone’.