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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue: 23/03/2018

Crufts and all that

It is the one show in the calendar when our world is shown to the public in full. 
There were over 166,000 people attending. They were there, in the main, because they wanted to see all related canine activities, shop for doggy related items and visit Discover Dogs. Those who wanted to view the breed classes are, in my opinion, in the minority.
It is a Magnificient Show.
For us show dog exhibitors it can be wearing on the feet and frustrating to say the least. Many have worked during the whole of the previous year in order to qualify for exhibition. 
This year I stayed at home and viewed it all from the comfort of my settee. The first day groups were great and the TV coverage OK as far as the breeds went. Second day good too and, as this was Hound day, I paid a lot more attention. 
The majority of my Facebook friends are in hounds. Many of the hound judges I know to a greater or lesser extent. They have served their apprenticeship, whether breed specialist or allrounder. They have, in the main, proved themselves by first of all starting out as a 'breed specialist', some have progressed to judging a number of breeds and some to group status. From the exhibits I saw on parade in the groups there were none that didn't fit the 'excellent' status necessary to obtain a green edged certificate. 
It was only on the Saturday when I viewed Facebook that I was really disheartened. A comment identifying one judge by breed as lacking integrity and as only being interested in the pursuit of his/her status was, in my view appalling; this from someone who didn't even attend she show. Then it appeared that a CC winner in another breed I am interested in, was bereft of applause and congratulations on the day. The win of the owner who is fairly new but successful in the breed was basically ignored. Added to this were quite a few photographs displayed of 2017's regular winning dogs that didn't place at Crufts, with acerbic comments to highlight the virtues of these dogs as opposed to the winning dogs on the day.
Ordinarily I would have ignored these 'posts' as I have no wish to get involved in this damaging behaviour, and also no wish to give 'oxygen' to this sort of poor sportsmanship. It was only then that I realised that I had, for too long, ignored these posts from 'keyboard warriors' whom I had previously accepted or even chosen to be one of my 800 plus 'friends'.
Social media has many virtues I'm sure, but its widespread use to bully and intimidate is unacceptable. To use such a forum to criticise high ranking, experienced judges for their performance is poor sportsmanship. To shine a light on the faults of those exhibits which win must be upsetting to their owners. It is time that many exhibitors had a very good look at their own exhibits and assess them honestly. To say that kennel blindness is rife is an understatement.
Nietzsche (the German Philosopher) once said that: 'resentment is the least explored of the primary human motivations'. He said: 'there are certain types of people who can't improve their own place in the World, and so they devote all their energies to tearing down others'. 
Yes, we can all be disappointed, been there done that. Yes, we can all criticise winning dogs. But those of us who have respect for our fellow human beings save that for the journey home and in private with friends we can trust.
I know that  everyone has a right to their own opinion but when this is voiced on social media it can become a weapon.
It can also highlight the fact that many opinions are uninformed. What you place on this media reflects on who you are too!!
'Self-interest is worth as much as the person who has it, and it can be unworthy and contemptible', another 'bon mot' from Nietzsche which seems to fit here!
Crufts is the shop window of our hobby, how can this type of behaviour reflect well to our overseas competitors, never mind those who are newer to showing?
 Is it win at all costs even if it means driving the competition out of this hobby altogether?
Yours etc
Paul Singleton


Ronnie was right!

Oh how I agree with Ronnie Irving's in last week's Our Dogs when he writes about Alan Carr's antics, not only trivial and unfunny but imbecilic and demeaning. The look on Clare Balding's face at times, to me, said a lot and I hope to see a more reasonable and knowledgeable co-presenter for the afternoon slot.
Yours etc
Shiela Swan

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