Page 140 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 140

                CRUFTS 2020
 The days before this year’s Crufts were very exciting. Not only was there the question as to what level the Brexit would affect the show, but a few weeks prior to the show the first signs of Corona in Europe arose, accompanied
by the first measures to control the virus. Like a lot of people, I was- slightly worried if during the four days of the show we would face restrictions for traveling back home, risks of being contaminated at an event that attracts people from all over the world who have the habit to attend every weekend shows where people come from many different countries. For sure, if any event was very risky to spread the virus worldwide, Crufts was surely one of them.
Nineteen thousand nine hundred and nine dogs were entered for the show and 3,171 of them were Crufts Qualified dogs from 43 different countries and four continents. And that’s just the dogs for the show as all together 26,000 dogs were coming to Crufts for several other reasons too, like the sports and international competi- tions. The number of foreign entries was already affected by the Brexit with no less than 12%. People were worried and rumors cir- culated about the UK Government decisions to expect. However, the government released the travel regulations only two days after the closure of the entries, stating that nothing would change during the transition year. And of course, the result would have been dif- ferent in the positive sense, if things would have been clear weeks before closure. This, along with the spread of the Coronavirus, made many exhibitors think twice and decide to avoid any risk of being in a lockdown situation with their dogs in a foreign coun- try. I met several professional handlers who had only a few dogs to show, whereas they would normally have many more. For them, of course, it was bad luck as they had made all the expenses for traveling and accommodations. A young colleague, a photographer from Milano in Italy, had even more bad luck. He hardly arrived in Birmingham when he learned that the Air Company Fly-be, that he traveled with, was declared bankrupt, while on Sunday the news arrived that the North of Italy went into quarantine. Fortunately, he could find another flight and the quarantine rules were clari- fied, allowing Italians to travel home. How many entries from each country were withdrawn has not been communicated, but ironi- cally the country with the highest Corona infections in Europe was also the country with the highest number of entries for Crufts with 366 dogs, followed by France with 317. The number of UK entries was 16,525. After all, it was rather weird to see that very few people were taking the risk of contamination very seriously. I saw only one person with a protection mouth mask and although in the halls
I had the impression that it was busy as usual, in the hallways it was unusually calm, strange! Last year, the show had no less than 166,500 visitors. This year there were 155,000, which means that the impact of the Corona problems was not that big. In the weeks prior to the show, the Crufts website published the latest updates about the Coronavirus and the green light was given the day before the show. Of course, certain precautions were taken and advice was displayed on signage. In every toilet, there was hot water to wash the hands and hand sanitizers were to be found not only there, but also at every entrance of a hall, alongside every ring and at all the places where officials were doing their jobs. In the main ring, every judge was offered to disinfect the hands after every dog. But besides this, it was business as usual from the first day on. The trade stand holders were all happily surprised and didn’t expect it after all the troubles this year’s show had to face.
It is no longer a secret that I’m a big fan of the Crufts Show Guide that people can buy that contains a huge amount of useful information for all people who would like to purchase a puppy in the future or who need information about which activities are avail- able. Crufts has hundreds of trade stands and there is so much to see that if you are after something in particular, you are lost without such a show guide. The space is huge! The five halls, the arena, plus the pavillon take up no less than 25 acres. Five thousand volunteers work together to bring Crufts to a good end, an amazing number!
The British Kennel Club is doing a lot of work for improving the quality of the breeds. While a few decades ago the empha- sis lay on the beauty and exterior of the breeds, the focus is now on the health of breeds with problems and significant progress is made since DNA research became common and affordable. Ani- mal rights organizations play an important part in this indirectly. Now the focus is on the short-nose breeds. The Kennel Club has >

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