PETA protesters removed from Crufts Dog Show

Animal rights protesters were removed from Crufts Dog Show after trying to run onto the arena floor.

PETA, an animal rights group, said that a "supporter holding a sign reading Boycott Breeders attempted to storm the arena floor before the winner was announced" at the annual dog show in Birmingham.

Activists also unfurled a banner in the stands among the audience with the same message.

A spokesman for the Kennel Club, the group behind Crufts, said that protesters were "swiftly removed" by security to "ensure the safety and welfare of the dogs and owners".

On their website, PETA accused claimed that the dog show "glorifies the breeding of deformed and disabled animals," and "also exacerbates the homeless dog and companion animal overpopulation crises by encouraging people to dash out to buy the latest 'must-have' breed they saw on television".

In his statement, the Kennel Club spokesman pushed back against the group's claims.

"Far from perpetuating the homeless dog crisis as PETA claims, Crufts is a unique platform which educates millions of visitors," he said, "and viewers on Channel 4, about how to get the right dog for your lifestyle, so that all dogs, whether rescue dogs or puppies, have a home for life.

"We celebrated hundreds of rescue dogs at Crufts this year, and have a dedicated rescue dog area, as well as our Discover Dogs zone, which help would-be owners to find the right dog or puppy for them and make responsible choices about this life-long decision."

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He added: "We are at the forefront of improving dog health and invest in research, develop health tests and educate breeders, owners and judges about the importance of ensuring health is their top priority."

The protests did not disrupt day four of Crufts for long, which saw an Australian shepherd named Viking crowned Best in Show.

The three-year-old dog, from Solihull, Birmingham, beat 24,000 canines from around the world to claim the show's top honour at the NEC.

Viking is co-owned by John Shaw, Kerry Kirtley and Melanie Raymond, who said: "We all dream of winning best in show at Crufts."