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Archive for January 30th, 2009

PETA takes aim on Westminster sponsors

After failing to persuade the USA Network to drop its coverage of the Westminster dog show, PETA has gone to advertisers, asking them to drop their sponsorships.

Apparently, the organization isn’t getting many bites there, either.

PETA initially asked the USA Network not to televise the show, scheduled to air Feb. 9 and 10, citing the BBC’s decision to drop its coverage of the Crufts dog show — due to concerns about breeding standards it said contributed to health problems in certain breeds.

The British Kennel Club subsequently revised its standards for many breeds.

As described in PETA’s letter to Westminster advertisers, “The new BKC standards allow dogs to breathe, walk, and see freely, which previous breeding standards prevented.  Unfortunately, the AKC has refused to take even the smallest step to allow American dogs these same basic freedoms …

“On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and our more than 2 million members and supporters, we ask that you pull your company’s sponsorship of this event until the AKC revises its breeding standards so that it is, at the very least, in line with the BKC’s standards, which would reduce the likelihood that purebred dogs will needlessly suffer from diseases and disorders.”

Among companies receiving the letter were Pedigree, the dog food company, and LifeLock, an Arizona-based identity theft protection company.

Pedigree Super Bowl ad will tout adoptions

Pedigree, the dog food company, has put together a pretty funny Super Bowl ad — one that once again will be encouraging pet adoptions.

Here’s a sneak peak at the new ad, which will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Don’t worry, it contains no graphic representations of vegetables.)

Pedigree, which took out an ad in USA Today late last year urging then President-elect Obama to adopt a dog, has also put together “behind the scenes” videos, related to the Super Bowl ad, which can be found at www.pedigree.com.

For each view of the “Crazy Pets” spot or the behind-the-scene footage between now and February 23, 2009 Pedigree will donate 8 ounces of dry Pedigree dog food to animal shelters, up to a total of $1 million.

Korean company clones dogs from stem cells

A South Korean biotech company announced yesterday that it has cloned two dogs using stem cell technology for the first time in the world.

RNL Bio, in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists, created two black and white puppies this week using stem cells from fat tissue of a female beagle.

U.S., Japanese and New Zealand scientists have cloned mice, pigs and deer using stem cells, but the births on Tuesday were the first time stem cells were successfully used to clone dogs, according to the university team. Seoul National University cloned the world’s first dog, Snuppy, in 2005.

Snuppy was created using an ordinary skin cell. Stem cells are prized for their ability to grow into a variety of more specialized cells. RNL Bio, based on Seoul, plans to commercialize the stem cell technology, which will allow clients to store their dogs’ stem cells, which can be used to cure disease, or clone them after they die.

RNL Bio head Ra Jeong-chan said the approach would also help scientists study how to treat human diseases such as diabetes and arthritis by putting human disease-related genes into dogs’ stem cells and creating clones. Ra also predicted the new technology could lower the price of dog cloning, now $100,000 or more.

Lee Byeong-chun, head of the university research team, said stem cells offer an advantage over ordinary cells for such genetic research. Lee said his team has cloned about 35 dogs and five wolves.

The two new cloned dogs — named Magic and Stem — have been living with their surrogate mother, a golden retriever, in a university facility since they were born Tuesday.

(Photo courtesy of RNL Bio)

AKC/Eukanuba Championship airs Saturday

The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship will air Saturday on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel, starting at 8 p.m.

The eighth annual championship saw nearly 3,000 dogs vying for $225,000 in prize money. The show also hosted the second annual Eukanuba World Challenge, an international competition featuring the top dogs from 52 countries and six continents. The highlights and the winning moment from the challenge will be included in the telecast.

The show was also held in conjunction with the AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC National Obedience Invitational. Highlights from the it will be shown on Animal Planet next Saturday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit the Animal Planet website.

(AKC photo)

oooooooohmidog! We’re six months old!

We thought we’d take this occasion — our 500th post — to bring you up to date on how ohmidog! is doing. We are, after all, turning six months old on Sunday.

Since we started in August, our readership — both in terms of visitors and page views — has been doubling about every month. In the last month alone, nearly 35,000 of you stopped by, visiting nearly 50,000 pages. We’ve hooked up with 10 sponsors, whose advertisements can be seen running down the rail to the left. We’ve become an official news organization, at least in the eyes of Google, which  now includes our posts in its “news” search.

We’ve (temporarily at least) reclaimed our banner space — used for advertising in most blogs — and instituted a “best of ohmidog!” feature that has proven popular. Our “Behave!” column kicked off last month, a monthly feature about dog training and behavioral issues. (You can find the link to its archives on the tabs on our right-side rail.)

We’ve done our best to keep up with local purveyors of dog goods and services, which we list for free in our “Doggie directory,” and tried as well to keep up with area dog-related events (see “Doggie Doings”) — also findable through the tabs on the right. We’ve done a bit of doggie do-gooding, taking part in BARCStoberfest as an official sponsor and raising money for BARCS Franky Fund for sick and injured animals.

We’ve held true to our mission — staying on top of dog news (and sometimes even having it first) and, while not proclaiming ourselves spokesman for dogs, watching out for their interests and well-being and making the public aware of any threats thereto.

We also have avoided using fancy words like “thereto,” at least up to now.

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