An animal rights activist wants to replace guide dogs with technology because the animals don’t give their consent to work.
Campaigner Wendy Turner Webster appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to express her controversial opinion, where she argued working dogs, including guide dogs, sniffer dogs, police dogs and working sheep dogs, are used for the benefit of humans without consent.
Webster admitted she doesn’t think the dogs are unhappy, or that putting them to work is ‘cruel’, but that many working animals are put in dangerous situations on the job.
The activist continued on to say there are ‘welfare’ issues with using guide dogs, and instead there should be some sort of technology available to replace them.
The welfare issues are probably two fold; the first is that they are bred specifically for the program, and the 25 per cent of them that don’t make the grade have to be rehomed.
They’re going into a system which is already bursting full of dogs that need to find a new home.
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October can only mean one thing…Guide Dogs Week! A celebration of all things Guide Dogs 🎉🎊 . . #celebrate #awareness #raiseswareness #instagood #instacharity #guidedog #guidedogs #guidedogsuk #celebrations #october #guidedogsweek . . [Photo description: One of our guide dogs in harness sat next to a Guide Dogs collection bucket]
The other thing is the concern as to what happens when the dog retires; not every guide dog owner can keep that dog.
It’s the whole welfare issue around it. We need new technology.
Presenter Piers Morgan fought back at Webster’s beliefs, asking if she had consent before training her own dog to sit at her command.
Webster argued teaching her dog to sit was for its own safety, explaining there is a ‘big difference’ between that and cruelty.
I know when I’m putting my animal, or any animal, in a potentially dangerous or vulnerable situation.
Morgan then burst into a rant at the activist to end the interview, exclaiming:
Oh you know what, Wendy, why don’t we just let guide dogs do their fabulous work for people who are blind and rely on them and can then get out and about because of their guide dogs?
The guide dogs always look happy to me, the people that they’re helping look happy to me.
While the TV presenter often riles people up with his controversial opinions, I have to admit I’m with him on this one.
Viewers were left outraged at Webster’s opinion, with many sharing their valid points as to why getting rid of guide dogs is a bad idea.
One angered person wrote:
Let’s ban bomb disposal dogs?!? Let’s stop guide dogs… FOR TECHNOLOGY?! Oh yes cause a laptop or whatever provides the same love and genuine care as a dog does… this woman is a tool!!!
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Charles. Such a proud & good boy this World Animal Day 🙌 @raised2guide . . #regram #worldanimalday #goodboy #soproud #instagood #instadog #guidedogs #guidedog #guidedogsuk . . [Photo description: Guide dog Charles wearing his blue puppy jacket lying down and looking to camera]
While another viewer tweeted:
Dogs don’t consent to even be our pet though? Never mind a guide dog. Seriously what has this world come to too many opinions which are just ridiculous!
Let’s ban bomb disposal dogs?!? Let’s stop guide dogs… FOR TECHNOLOGY?! Oh yes cause a laptop or whatever provides the same love and genuine care as a dog does… this woman is a tool!!! @GMB @piersmorgan @susannareid100 #GMB
— Jo Kingman (@jokingman) November 13, 2018
Dogs don’t consent to even be our pet though? Never mind a guide dog. Seriously what has this world come to 😓 too many opinions which are just ridiculous! #gmb
— Mrs Keegan 📚🔸 (@keegan_mrs) November 13, 2018
I think dogs are always happy to help their humans; working to benefit the lives of others is an incredible job for the faithful animals.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.