Westminster viewers don't want to see homeless pets in shelters, even in commercials

Photo, courtesy Pedigree's parent company, Mars, Inc.

Have you seen the latest news from the famous Westminster Dog Show?  Turns out their viewers are turned off by Pedigree’s ads promoting dog adoption.  You know – the ones featuring dogs left in shelters because someone didn’t spay/neuter their pet, or someone thought “forever home” meant just until their dog got to be too much trouble?  So Westminster dumped Pedigree and their dog adoption drive.

Yes, I know there’s a lot to be said for upbeat messaging in promoting pet adoptions.  But this still makes me angry.  We’re fighting so hard every day to save more and more lives and Westminster and their viewers want to sweep it under the rug.  Something is wrong with that.

According to a Yahoo! News story posted yesterday, “Pedigree was ‘surprised and disappointed’ when it was dropped by Westminster”, senior [Pedigree] brand manager Lisa Campbell said. Campbell said Westminster had made it clear in recent years ‘that we had become too focused on adoptions.'”  Too focused on adoptions?  How can anyone be too focused on adoptions when, according to the ASPCA, 3-4 million pets die in shelters in the US each year because there’s no one to adopt them?

And Purina?  They stepped right up and took over for Pedigree.  A Westminster spokesman, according to the article, said Westminster will have input into the commercials Purina will show.  Purina is paying Westminster, probably many millions, for the advertising rights, and still they let them do that?  Apparently.  Will the new ads even promote adoption?  Or is the mere mention of homeless pets too much for the folks at Westminster, too?

The next time someone tells me that dog show professionals really care about the dogs – I’m going to suggest they tell that to the folks at Westminster.

Pedigree’s 2010 “Shelter dogs aren’t broken” commercial promoting adoption:

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8 Responses to Westminster viewers don't want to see homeless pets in shelters, even in commercials

  1. Joan Hite says:

    Hmmm. I wonder if American Kennel Club and their members who operate “puppiy mills” and don’t want anyone checking on the conditions have anything to do with this. Inquiring minds want to know. Westminster announcers sure talk a lot about AKC.

    • The AKC has nothing to do with puppy mills or backyard breeders which is ironic since practically everyone advertises their puppies as AKC.
      The AKC has no teeth in this matter on purpose and they should be far more selective and educate these poor excuses for “breeders.”

  2. The comment by Joan Hite, and most of this article are completely incorrect. AKC fights puppy mills. Individual, responsible breeders are connected with AKC and the breed clubs rescue puppy mill and backyard breeder dogs all the time, foster and rehome them. It’s appalling to see this kind of misinformation. Presenting dogs in a positive light will get more of them adopted and show just how much fun it is to have a dog. Pedigree never said anything positive about dogs in their very manipulative spots. Sad, but true.

  3. Rebecca Poling says:

    How has AKC ever fought puppy mills? There business depends upon registering dogs, so the more purebred puppies, the more money they make. HSUS fights puppy mills. ARC fights puppy mills. I think perhaps you disagree with the article, but it is certainly not inaccurate.

  4. Martha P. says:

    Personally, I love the Pedigree ads and find absolutely nothing manipulative about them. The sad truth remains that shelters and rescues are full of animals begging to be adopted. They are not broken and I am so proud to have two of them by my side. Please let us know how AKC has fought to stop the pathetic puppy mills that produce the sad, horrible conditions these animals are forced to live their existence. Please…just one example. I understand that a positive photograph can make a shelter dog look more like a pet in order to garner interest but please…the sad reality is that purebred dogs are what it he AKC promotes and nothing but.

  5. Andrea says:

    I find this terribly sad. The stated intent for the Westminster Kennel Club is “to increase the interest in dogs, and thus improve the breeds.” Any *responsible* attempt to increase interest in dogs will include a focus on the immense need of dogs in shelters and rescues. Contrary to some belief, purebred dogs die in shelters every day for no reason other than being unwanted. Thousands of dogs are euthanized in shelters around the country every year. Shelters and rescue groups do a hero’s job helping these dogs, but without people to adopt those dogs, their work is in vain. WKC has a unique position of being able to promote this very worthy goal and help the very species that they claim to be dedicated to. Raising awareness includes the good *and* the bad, and ignoring the sad side of dog ownership doesn’t benefit anyone. I have always watched the WKC show in the past, but I will not be watching this year or any year in the future until they have reversed this short-sighted decision. I’ll visit my local shelter or rescue instead.

  6. Irish Owner says:

    I think that WKC lost more viewers with last night’s ridiculous choice – clearly not based on the dogs but on money and who’s who in the “dog world”….that coupled with pulling the Pedigree ads will rightly take a toll on Westminster’s popularity and leave a permanent bad taste in the mouth of FORMER fans.

  7. Pat in TX says:

    Don’t try to say AKC doesn’t support puppy mills. Read up on the history of puppy mills and you’ll find AKC right in the middle of it from the beginning, right after the Great Depression, teaching the Amish how to breed dogs for the market. The theme they picked up from the Feds was “if you can raise hogs you can raise dogs.”

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