If I ask you to think of reality competition shows, what are the first ones that come to mind? I would say The Voice, the Got Talent franchise Dancing with the Stars, America’s Next Top Model, MasterChef, World’s Ugliest Dog. Wait, what?!
This is Just… Ugly!
No kidding. The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is real and the latest edition wound up a couple of days ago. Scamp the Tramp, a scruffy little brown dog with a tuft of gravity-defying white fur on his head and a lolling tongue was awarded the unglamorous title of World’s Ugliest Dog.
This contest originated in the 1970s and has been taking place on a yearly basis in Petulama, California. The owner of the ugliest dog receives $1,500 and a trophy.
Criticism of the Competition
Imagine if there had been a World’s Ugliest Human contest. I don’t think anyone would endorse it. We would all make a racket about discrimination and dignity. Why can’t and shouldn’t we apply the same logic to competitions involving animals? While it’s arguable and probably true that animals do not suffer from body dysmorphia and other appearance-related insecurities, it does seem cruel to be opportunistic and use them ill. The cash might come in handy to care for your canine, but why rely on the sponsorship of persons who host such unamusing events? We should be encouraging healthy competition among animals. I don’t think anyone would object to their dogs competing in fetch, an obstacle course, swimming or obedience. It is highly disrespectful to the loyalty and the caliber of a dog to profit off of its appearance.
There were a few heated reactions on Twitter. One user (@QueenLesli) tweeted in all-caps, “There are no dogs, only ugly people who are butt-boat people who make butt-boat contests.” While I am not so certain about what butt-boat means, I can tell it’s not very nice and not in favor of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.