AKC will not attend show in Russia

In a stand for human rights, AKC Chairman Dennis Sprung has sent the following letter, refusing to participate in the 2016 World Dog Show, to Rafael de Santiago, President of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, if the event is held in Russia.

Dear Rafael,

One of the most compelling aspects of the human-canine bond - cherished internationally more than ever before - is the fact that our dogs love us unconditionally. Dogs do not discriminate. Gender, race, sexual orientation and other status do not enter the equation of responsible pet ownership. That is why the American Kennel Club and our constituency are puzzled and disappointed by the decision to allow Russia to host the 2016 World Dog Show. The proliferation of anti-gay and lesbian laws in Russia today is both disturbing and shocking to our community. The choice of this country as a venue for such a prestigious dog show flies in the face of the ideals of the human-canine bond.

On behalf of the American Kennel Club, our member clubs, and the American purebred dog fancy, we urge you to move the 2016 World Dog Show from Russia to a nation that respects and upholds human rights for all its citizens. The international dog community deserves to enjoy the World Dog Show in a place that stands for freedom and equal rights for all. AKC cannot and will not support participation in the 2016 World Dog Show if it is held in Russia.

As exhibitors, breeders, handlers and trainers, we teach our dogs many things. But there is no denying, they teach us too. Our bond with dogs is not defined by the type of person who holds the leash. We cannot support competition in an environment where tolerance does not exist.

Yours respectfully,

Alan T. Kalter

Chairman of the Board

Dennis B. Sprung

President and CEO

American Kennel Club: Russia is in the Doghouse

Notable Replies

  1. The "dogs give unconditional love" angle is a good one. Good move by the AKC.

  2. And probably more dignified than the 'we all know that dogs hump whatever legs they feel like' angle, though that one is also often true.

  3. I agree with you in part--the U.S. still has a lot of work to do--but as I understand it, the anti-gay law in Russia prohibits any "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and actually levies fines for gay rights rallies. Forbidding people from even talking about homosexuality is clearly a step below what's going on in the U.S.

  4. Hypocrites (if they are indeed so, my knowledge of the AKC's domestic agenda or lack thereof is sparse) have the convenient feature of still being useful some of the time. In fact, it's hard to be a really good hypocrite without being good enough, enough of the time, that your failings qualify as hypocrisy, rather than mere mediocrity.

    Unless they are being actively reactionary at home, their being on the side of right in Russia is still a net gain, no?

  5. By your logic, we should not work to improve things elsewhere until everything is perfect at home. Show me a country with no human rights/gay rights abuses. You'll not find one. Since things will not and cannot ever be perfect at home, what you advocate just a fancy way of giving up.

    If that's what avoiding hypocracy means, I'd rather be a hypocrite.

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