THE KENNEL Club will not be attending the 2019 World Dog Show in China KC secretary Caroline Kisko said today.
In the latest twist in the story surrounding the FCI decision to award the 2019 WDS to China Mrs Kisko said the KC ‘fully condemned’ the sale and consumption of dog meat and the Yulin Dog Meat Eating Festival .
“The trade has long been associated with a large number of animal welfare violations, which include neglect towards the animals’ physical and mental needs, as they often live and are transported in crowded conditions without sufficient water or food,” she said. “In addition, slaughtering methods are brutal with no regard to the welfare of the animal and the suffering caused. As such we have long lobbied for a ban on the sale of dogs for consumption as part of our extensive political work.”
“The consumption of dog meat has long been a cultural phenomenon in certain countries, and one way of helping to reduce trade in dog meat is to promote dogs as companion animals to be loved and cared for.
“The huge increase in interest in dog showing in China will result in more people seeing them as pets first and foremost, and we hope that the show, attended by dog lovers, will help people to see dogs as creatures that can provide their owners with unconditional love and companionship.
“As part of our campaign against the dog meat trade we contacted three of the major kennel clubs in China a few years ago to seek assurance that they were taking an active role in lobbying their own government against the trade, to protect the welfare of China’s dogs. Each of them confirmed that they were carrying out work in this area and promoting dogs as pets and companions and actively trying to have the trade outlawed.
“The KC continues to lobby the UK Government, raise awareness of the issue with the European Commission and Parliament and work with other welfare organisations to apply pressure on foreign countries to end their dog and cat meat trade or to better enforce the bans currently in place.”
The decision from London comes after the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKC) urged the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) not to allow the 2019 World Dog Show to be held in China and is urging people to boycott the event.
It has advised exhibitors and enthusiasts not to take part and has asked judges to decline invitations to officiate in the country unless the the annual Yulin Dog Meat Eating Festival is stopped.
An estimated 10,000 dogs are killed at the event each year, many said to be electrocuted, burned and skinned while alive and conscious, and it was the target of a recent online petition which gathered nearly four million signatures. It went ahead last weekend despite strong reactions and protests worldwide.
This week the Norwegian club said the event was ‘symbolic of the lacking animal welfare in China’ – and shortly afterwards the Kennel Club in England announced it would not be attending the show.
“(We) therefore want the World Dog Show 2019 removed from China, and publicly encourage all exhibitors not to attend it unless the festival is stopped,” a spokesman said.
The club, made its feelings public following a board meeting on Tuesday, asking people not to participate – including judges.
“Any judge accepting invitations to judge in China will be made aware that this is against the wish of the NKC board, and in direct conflict with our ethical guidelines and values,” the spokesman said.
“We also encourage all national kennel clubs to both advise dog owners in their countries against participating in the show in China and to express their wishes to have the World Dog Show 2019 removed from China,” the spokesman said.
“The World Dog Show is to be a celebration of dogs. Therefore we cannot accept that it is given to a country where animal abuse takes place, and now urge the FCI to immediately take action regarding the matter.”
In a letter to the FCI on June 23 chief executive Trine Hage ‘expressed a strong wish’ to have the World Dog Show 2019 moved unless the festival was stopped.
“As stated in our previous letter, we strongly encourage the China Kennel Union and FCI, as the largest international cynological organisation, to work together to put an end to the grave mistreatment of animals taking place in China, peaking with the Yulin festival,” he said.
“We understand that the decision to give the show to China was made by voting during the recent General Assembly. However, the FCI should lead the cynological world by example, and therefore not give such an important event to a country where animal welfare is shockingly lacking.
“We now expect the FCI to take action, and ensure that this event is moved. The Norwegian Kennel Club has also been in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding this matter. We welcome the input from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in our efforts to improve the general welfare of dogs in China.”
In the last few days, amid the furore that the FCI has changed the country of origin of the Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu from Tibet to China, and is considering altering the country of patronage/development of the Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu and Chow Chow from Tibet to China also, FCI president Rafael de Santiago said the decision to grant the organisation of the World Show 2019 to China had been taken by the FCI’s General Assembly. A total of 68 countries were present or represented at that meeting and a large majority voted in favour of China, ‘in total transparency and according to the principles of democracy internationally recognised and accepted’.
China was chosen over Germany and Croatia. Spain also made a bid for the 2019 and will hold the show in Madrid in 2020.
“That decision was made on basis of a very open and complete presentation made by our Chinese member, the Chinese Kennel Union, during which (the Chinese) delegation clearly mentioned the cultural differences between China and most of the other countries in the world,” Mr de Santiago said.
“The FCI sees it as an excellent opportunity to raise awareness among the Chinese population that the dog, our beloved friend, is a member of our families, a living entity and most of all man’s best friend.”
China won the right to hold the show ‘in a clear victory’, he said.
“Nowadays, the FCI is more than ever committed to the betterment and safeguard of the dog and to promoting its welfare, love and respect in the four corners of the world,” he concluded.
FCI executive director Yves De Clercq would not disclose the voting figures or which kennel clubs had voted for and against the World Show being held in China.
“The results will be indicated on the minutes of the General Assembly but would not be communicated to the press,” he said. “They are internal documents.
“When we say a ‘large’ majority we do mean large. One round was enough. In addition, votes were secret and so we have no idea who voted for China or for any of the other three running countries, Croatia, Spain and Germany.”