Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The AKC, Brought to You by Eukanuba

Okay. We're used to advertisements for the symbiotic AKC/Eukanuba Championship Dog Shows, hyped endlessly on TV. The American Kennel Club is a nonprofit, animal welfare group that purports to promote the best interests of (purebred) dogs and their owners. The fact that the world's largest dog registry has inextricably linked its championship shows to a commercial dog food is not in the best interests of purebred dogs and their owners.

Today, another affront came to my e-mail box. "This sponsored message was sent to sandrascar@aol.com by the American Kennel Club. It includes information that may interest you."

What follows is an advertisement for Eukanuba dog food with extravagent claims of bringing show dogs to peak condition with prebiotics.  I suppose they spray bacteria onto the kibble after it's baked and extruded, because nothing of any value survives their processing. 

"Our cutting-edge approach: customized nutrition, based on breed, size, age, and even special needs, such as sensitive skin.  No other dog food offers these choices for your dog's health."  Thank you, Proctor & Gamble, for bringing us another, useless version of cooked starches that will make carnivorous pets sick.  I must ask them about the research on which they base their customized kibble formulations.  Do you imagine they tested Afgan food on 100 randomly-assigned Afgans over several years, and contrasted those results with a control group of Afgans fed non-Afgan food?  If you think so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you at a great price.

The American Kennel Club is selling its good name to pet food companies that fund a small perentage of their activities.  My analysis of their published budget shows that only 7 to 9% of 2008-2009 funding comes from pet food companies.  Problem is that these funds are used for the most visible, public aspects of the AKC program, where the pet food companies want to have their names entwined with the AKC emblem -- at dog shows and in public advertising.

As a Labrador retriever breeder, I am forced to interact with the American Kennel Club to register litters of puppies and to keep dog breeding more-or-less honest.  It's painful to see this venerable organization controlled by Eukanuba's commercial interests.  For the AKC to send out a Eukanuba advertisement to millions of purebred dog owners on their mailing list is so degrading to the AKC and to purebred dog owners everywhere, it's hard to put into words.

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