This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me but I’m a lover of all things dog. It was therefore with huge disappointment that I read in the trade press that Pedigree was dropped as a sponsor of the Westminster dog show after a 20 year association.
The reasons surrounding the split stemmed from the creative advertising Pedigree was using to highlight the plight of homeless dogs in need of adoption. Westminster stated “Our show is a celebration of dogs… When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that.”
This initiated a visceral response from me in full support of Pedigree. As the owner of a rescue mutt, I’m one to err on the side of adopting from shelters rather than supporting breeders; mostly for fear of those less salubrious individuals who are in the business purely for monetary gains. There are some fabulous breeders and Westminster is a perfect showcase for these and their commitment to the canine world. I do recognize that there is demand for purebred dogs but I think it’s remiss to try and ignore the fact that there is also a huge population of homeless animals (a good portion of whom are purebred).
Although I can’t agree with Westminster’s position, given the nature of the event, I can to some extent understand the concern behind the creative but as historic campaigns have proven, the media attention and ratings surrounding the show provide an excellent opportunity for fundraising. Before my blood completely boiled, I happened to hear an interview presenting the fact that the Westminster dog show has donated significant money to the ASPCA. This has in part quelled my anger but above all, I’m disappointed that the two parties couldn’t come to a creative agreement…for the love of dog.