The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is probably the UK’s most widely recognized animal charity. Crufts is officially recognised as the world’s largest dog show by the Guinness Book of Records and the 2008 show had almost 23,000 dogs entered, including 1,165 dogs from overseas and 160,000 visitors. In the past, the RSPCA has staffed a stand at Crufts in order to promote general animal welfare issues. However, they have now suspended plans for stands at next year’s event.
RSPCA chief veterinary adviser Mark Evans said: "Dog shows using current breed standards as the main judging criteria actively encourage both the intentional breeding of deformed and disabled dogs and the inbreeding of closely related animals. There is compelling scientific evidence that the health and welfare of hundreds of thousands of pedigree dogs is seriously compromised as a result. From a dog health and welfare perspective, such shows are fundamentally flawed and do our much loved pedigree dogs no favors. Intentionally breeding deformed and disabled animals is morally unjustifiable and it has to stop."
The RSPCA has commissioned an independent review of the science in this field, and will be discussing its findings with relevant experts and stakeholders later this year. The charity has so far failed to comment on its views regarding the Queen’s love of pedigree Corgi dogs.