View Full Version : Pedigree pulls Crufts sponsorship after 44 years

25th October 2008, 12:06 AM
Due to Pedigree Dogs Exposed:

Crufts' future thrown into doubt as sponsor Pedigree pulls out
The future of Crufts is in doubt after the show's sponsor, Pedigree, pulled its sponsorship after 44 years.

By Anita Singh
Last Updated: 10:04PM BST 24 Oct 2008

The move could spell disaster for the show, which has been embroiled in controversy since a BBC documentary claimed that Crufts supports unhealthy breeding practices which lead to disease and deformities
Last month, the RSPCA severed its ties with the event, claiming that Crufts' emphasis on pure breeds was "morally unjustifiable". The BBC may not cover next year's show.

The Pedigree deal was worth £500,000 per year. A brief statement from the brand's parent company, Mars, said: "After careful consideration, Pedigree has decided to withdraw its sponsorship of Crufts. The Pedigree brand has evolved and we are prioritising initiatives that support the broadest possible community of dog owners such as our successful programme to help homeless dogs - The Pedigree Adoption Drive - and our online service for breeders. We look forward to working with The Kennel Club on other projects in the future."

Pedigree's one-time slogan was "top breeders recommend it", but the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, highlighted the life-threatening genetic conditions in many of Britain's five million pedigree dogs including popular breeds as the bassett hound, German shepherd, bulldog and pug.


25th October 2008, 12:07 AM
From the London Times:

Future of Crufts dog show in doubt after Pedigree pulls £1.5m sponsporship

(Scott Barbour)
In the dog house: the Kennel Club has faced allegations that Crufts promotes breeding deformities and disease. Entrants have included King Charles spaniels, pugs and Chinese crested dogs

Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor

Pedigree, the pet food company, dropped its estimated £1.5-million-a-year sponsorship of Crufts dog show yesterday, ending a relationship that has endured for 44 years.

The decision follows the furore over claims that the show promoted breeding methods that encouraged deformities and disease in animals.

The Pedigree brand was once so inextricably linked with Crufts that cans of the dog food carried the strapline “Top breeders recommend it” and champion dogs regularly appeared in TV advertisements.

After a BBC documentary that high-lighted the genetic side-effects of unhealthy breeding, there was concern that the brand was being tainted by association with the show.

Pedigree and its British marketing manager, Stephen Rendu, declined to discuss their decision yesterday. A statement from Mars UK, which owns Pedigree, said: “After careful consideration, Pedigree has decided to withdraw its sponsorship of Crufts. The Pedigree brand has evolved and we are prioritising initiatives that support the broadest possible community of dog owners such as our successful programme the Pedigree Adoption Drive, and our online service for breeders, pedigreedirect.co.uk. We look forward to working with the Kennel Club on other projects in the future.”

Leading figures in the canine world have suggested that the split between the two now puts a question mark over the long-term future of the world’s biggest dog show.

The Kennel Club, which organises Crufts, last night insisted that the show would go ahead, although it is still unclear if TV coverage of the event by the BBC will proceed or whether the format will change in some way.

Talks between the BBC and the club are still continuing and a panel of scientific experts is to advise the BBC about future screening. Last year 14.5 million viewers tuned in to the show, which was televised over four days.

The pullout by Pedigree comes four months before the next show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Rosemary Smart, chief executive of the Kennel Club, said: “Clearly we are very sad to lose Pedigree from Crufts. We have had an excellent relationship for many years and we wish them well and look forward to working with them in the future.”

The RSPCA and the Dogs’ Trust announced last month that they were severing links with the show. Last night there were fears that other exhibitors may decide to follow Pedigree and withdraw their support.

Canine experts were curious as to why Pedigree had waited so long to distance itself from Crufts, especially when the club has embarked on a shake-up of all dog-breeding to introduce kinder rearing methods for all pets and showdogs.

Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine and a longstanding critic of the Kennel Club, said: “I think it is sad in a way that it’s come at a time when the Kennel Club was trying to tackle the problems. But it is a dramatic reversal and could be the knockout blow for the show.

“It will make it very difficult to be profitable. The club only makes about £500,000 from the show so this will create a massive deficit.”

The club is already on a collision course with breed societies over its decision with the Dogs’ Trust to review breeding standards for 209 species. The first dog breeds to face scrutiny are the pekinese, the Clumber spaniel, bloodhound, bulldog, mastiff, German shepherd, basset hound and St Bernard. Incestuous inbreeding of dogs – sons with their mothers and half-siblings with each other – is also to be tackled.

The documentary, which the Kennel Club has denounced as biased, showed a prize-winning Cavalier King Charles spaniel with syringomyelia, which occurs when a dog’s skull is too small for the brain. There were also pugs with breathing difficulties and boxers suffering from epilepsy.