24/05/2024

Climate protesters disrupt Westminster dog show agility course. ‘No dogs on a dead planet.’

El pasado Miercoles 15

Climate protesters disrupt Westminster dog show agility course. ‘No dogs on a dead planet.’

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion interrupted the dog show twice.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion interrupted the dog show twice.

Some unscheduled humans entered the agility competition at the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

It was a night for dogs darting through obstacles, but climate protesters ran onto the canine course twice at the Westminster Masters Agility Championship at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens Saturday.

“NO DOGS ON A DEAD PLANET,” read the bright orange banners they unfurled during the taping of the show for Fox.

The climate activists were booed by some in the crowd and swiftly yanked out of the arena.

Before being detained by security and handcuffed by police, two of the protesters told NJ Advance Media they represented Extinction Rebellion NYC.

Extinction Rebellion, founded in the United Kingdom, uses protests and appearances at public events to draw attention to the global climate crisis.

In March, the group drew attention for a protest during a performance of the Broadway play “An Enemy of the People” starring Jeremy Strong and Michael Imperioli.

Mar Kelly was one of the first two protesters to disrupt the New York dog show Saturday night.

Kelly, 60, who grew up in Boonton, told NJ Advance Media that she’s an environmental scientist.

She ran into the middle of the dog agility course with Meredith Faltin of Jackson Heights, Queens to jeers from the crowd.

“I love the dog show, I watch it on TV, I go to it,” Kelly said. “And we disrupt things we love.”

Faltin told Westminster officials and arena security that they were there to “sound the alarm” about the climate crisis.

Since the event was not broadcast live and the protesters knew their stunt would likely be cut out of the show before it airs Sunday afternoon on Fox, Kelly told NJ Advance Media that fellow Extinction Rebellion members would post photos and video of the action on social media.

Minutes later, two more protesters from the group ran from the audience into the agility course with a second banner. They laid down on the ground before being dragged away by Westminster staff and security.

It wasn’t long before images of the protests turned up on the group’s X (formerly Twitter) account.

“We humans are less concerned about vulnerable wildlife than we are about pet dogs,” Extinction Rebellion said in an X thread. “All animals are mutually dependent, including humans, and humans, too, will suffer as animals become increasingly vulnerable and head towards extinction.”

“Dog shows, which focus on the beauty of animals rather than on their essential role in ecosystems or on their survival, are a poignant illustration of this,” they continued.

One video clip the group shared showed a dog show staffer tackling a protester.

“No matter how brutal the response is, we’ll keep pushing,” their message said.

At least nine police officers responded to the scene. The four climate protesters were led away in handcuffs.

While the traditional Westminster show, which starts Monday, is about breed conformation, which would be the “beauty” part, the agility portion of competition is about speed and precision.

In that segment of the 148th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, dogs navigate weave poles, jump through a hoop and careen through a tunnel as part of the timed obstacle course.

Truant, a border collie, won the Westminter agility championship in 2023 with his owner, Cynthia Hornor of Ellicott City, Maryland, in an impressive 28.68 seconds.

Like agility, the Westminster Masters Obedience Championship, which happened earlier Saturday, hinges on an airtight bond between dog and owner.

Zayne border collie

Zayne, a border collie, and his owner Kim Berkley won the Westminster Masters Obedience Championship Saturday. Amy Kuperinsky | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Zayne, a border collie from Caseyville, Illinois, and his owner Kim Berkley won the obedience competition.

The winner of the 2024 agility competition will be announced during the broadcast, which airs Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Westminster Kennel Club dog show will name its best in show Tuesday, May 14 live on FS1 (the final runs from 7:30 to about 11 p.m.).

The 2023 best in show winner was Buddy Holly, a 6-year-old petit basset griffon Vendéen.

Stories by Amy Kuperinsky

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Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at [email protected] and followed at @AmyKup.

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