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The Latest: PETA protests outside Westminster dog show

February 11, 2020 - 1:11 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the Westminster Kennel Club dog show:

2 p.m.

While purebred dogs round the rings at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, animal-rights activists are also trying to make an impression.

A small group protested Tuesday outside the building where dogs from great Danes to cocker spaniels vied to be named best in their breeds and advance to the competition’s next round.

The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations that the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has organized at the show over the years.

The demonstrators say it’s callous to breed, buy or sell dogs when shelters are full of canines up for adoption.

“Anyone who visits your local shelter and faces the dogs who are desperately needing homes would understand why PETA is here every year,” said associate director Ashley Byrne.

The protesters also say purebred aficionados are too focused on dogs’ appearance, rather than their health. They point, for example, to breathing difficulties that can beset flat-faced breeds.

An inquiry was sent to a Westminster spokeswoman about the protest.

The American Kennel Club, a governing body for dog shows including Westminster, has said responsible breeders prioritize dogs’ health. The club defends dog breeding as a way to preserve dogs developed for certain functions and traits and to help people find the right dog for them.

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