Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 10:12 UK

Pedigree drops Crufts sponsorship

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Kennel Club is reviewing rules about standards of pedigree entrants

Pet food firm Pedigree has ended its sponsorship deal with dog show Crufts.

This follows a BBC investigation which said dogs on show suffer from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding.

The company said it was focusing on other projects but had not ruled out working again with event organiser the Kennel Club.

The club has said that it is reviewing its rules about the standard of pedigree entrants following the BBC documentary disclosures.

It said the annual show will still go ahead in March next year.

Strong relationship

The relationship between Pedigree and Crufts is more than 40 years old.

Prize-winning dogs from the show regularly featured in television advertisements for Pedigree dog food.

The company also used the slogan "Top breeders recommend it" - referring to its strong relationship with the world's largest dog show.

The Kennel Club was featured in a BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, claimed many pedigree dogs suffer because owners breed them for looks rather than health.

The documentary showed spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxer dogs that suffer from epilepsy.

The Kennel Club has complained that the show was unfairly edited and did not properly reflect its "deep commitment to the health and welfare of dogs".

Pedigree owner Mars UK 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."

Show to continue

The club's chief executive, Rosemary Smart, said "Clearly we are very sad to lose Pedigree from Crufts.

"We have had an excellent relationship with Pedigree for many years and we wish them well and look forward to working with them in the future."

She said next year's show, at Birmingham NEC, would still go ahead.

Crufts, which was first held in 1891, attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year.

The club has already announced it was issuing new rules about how pedigree dogs should be bred.

The RSPCA and the Dogs Trust have withdrawn support for the event.

Talks between the BBC and Crufts about the screening of next year's show are ongoing although the corporation's current contract to show the event ends in 2010.


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