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Monday, 27 April 2020

WDS: To be or not to be?

Featured Written by Gopi Krishnan

I’ve been going back and forth if I should write about a topic that has been on my mind, or if I should just leave it. After a private exchange on messenger recently, I got my answer. I’m still not totally convinced it will have any effect, but here goes.

The topic is no surprise to anyone in the dog world, but it astounds me that despite the writing on the wall, the question of WDS 2020 going ahead seems to be the all-consuming topic for a few, who have become scathing and venomous in their comments about this topic.

With more and more European governments deciding to keep their borders shut to non-citizens till at least early September, you wouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that no major event is likely to go on until at least then, let alone a dog show of global proportions.

Yes Crufts went ahead, but that was before the proverbial you know what really hit the fan and it all got real. Even a hermit living in a cave is aware of this global pandemic we ALL face; the uncertain nature of this virus, the fast spreading and devastating effects it has and the speed at which it spreads and leaves a sad trail of death.

With every news cycle, Whatsapp message and Facebook post in the last six or more weeks centred on this virus, you’d wrongly assume that most are aware of this. Yet some persist in asking the obvious questions. “I have a hotel booking so I need to know if I have to cancel”. “I have a flight booking to cancel if it doesn’t go ahead”. Listen. Let me state one thing very clearly. I’m NOT in the know. I have no idea if the WDS 2020 will go ahead in July or what is likely to be the next case scenario. This is merely a personal opinion. But with most of the globe in lockdown and restricted movement for the foreseeable future, how do you think people are going to travel anywhere?

One would think the answer is obvious, but seeing the replies of many on social media, I am sorely mistaken to assume common sense is really as common as it is reputed to be. Magic? For the people who have never organised a dog show or think that it magically comes out of a box when the show chairman says ABRACADABRA and waves a wand, here is the reality of cancelling a dog show. I am part of a team that had to cancel a small tiny international dog show that was to take place in early April.

The discussion and scenarios, the number of people we had to speak to and consult, from venue owners, to sponsors, to judges, to logistics partners, to government officials, was no simple feat. All this, before making the decision that we have no idea when things would go back to normal, so we were better off cancelling and not postponing the show.

This was only a mere 8 -12 month worth of preparation that had gone in for this show. Now imagine a major event like a WDS and the scale of such an event. You don’t need to be too clever to imagine the scope of work and the preparations that have gone into it. Now consider the work that would have to go into rescheduling or cancelling it.

I have nightmares just picturing it. Now work that scenario into a nation that is busy burying their friends and family for the last number of weeks. Some didn’t even get the dignity of being buried. Too many do not have the opportunity to even say their final goodbyes. They are facing a national disaster that the ENTIRE globe is aware of. Spain has been a nation torn apart in crisis.

So do you think the government’s priority is meeting with officials with the idea of solving the issue of a dog show when they are running out of places to bury people? Or to be able to help solve issues when they are desperately trying to keep the infected alive and the rest of the nation safe? To some of you, thankfully a small few, what completely preoccupies your minds and has become your burning desire is to be updated about a dog show. I’m not even going to try and question your motive for truly wanting to know. Seriously, where’s the sense of camaraderie or shared compassion for a nation in mourning and battling to keep their head above water?

It completely saddens me the venom some spew. I have no words. Yes even me...I’m not usually ever short of words. I pray you never lose anyone you care about during this global pandemic. I pray your nation is never ravaged by this horrific virus. I pray God is merciful to you. But then again, they say that nothing reveals true character like a crisis. OUR DOGS comment: The World Dog Show 2020 was originally scheduled to take place this week in Madrid. It had been eagerly anticipated especially as the 2019 world show took place controversially in Shanghai, which for various reasons, meant a much reduced entry for an event of this nature.

Clearly as the crisis enveloped Europe, the original date had to be changed but even so, with all the travel and hotel restrictions, the chances of the show actually taking place have surely been reduced. So the question has to be asked, where does that leave the FCI and the organisers of the show in Madrid?

Parts of the showground, IFEMA, in Madrid have been converted into an emergency hospital and no one really knows how long the European lockdowns will last. If this show is postponed will there be time or a slot at the venue for it to take place later in the year or do the FCI shuffle all the world shows along by a year?

The European Dog Show is Slovenia must also be looking cautiously over its shoulder for its event due to take place in autumn 2020. OUR DOGS has asked the FCI for a statement but at the time of going to press, nothing has been received.

Gopi Krishnan

Read 1390 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 April 2020

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