Animal Rights Activist Wants Guide Dogs Banned Over Their Inability To Consent To Working

Guide dog walking with a visually impaired person
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

A British animal rights activist wants the use of guide dogs to be banned and replaced with technology, citing the fact that the dogs can’t consent to working.

As Unilad reported, campaigner Wendy Turner Webster shared her unusual opinion on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, explaining that working dogs, including but not limited to guide dogs, sniffer dogs, and police dogs, don’t actually give their consent to be doing a job. Instead, she argued, they are used for the benefit of humans, with no regard for what they might want.

While she didn’t state that she specifically feels working dogs are unhappy, she pointed out that in some cases — such as police K9s — working dogs are put into dangerous situations, and that doing so is cruel. When it comes to guide dogs, she argued there are “welfare issues.”

“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 re-homed. They’re going into a system which is already bursting full of dogs that need to find a new home. 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 was quick to clap back at Webster, asking her if she had gotten permission from her dog to train him to sit and stay on her command. She argued that there was a major difference between training a dog to sit and the “cruel” practice of forcing dogs into work, adding that those basic commands are for the dog’s safety.

Morgan was not impressed with her story, and sarcastically hit back with “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?”

He added that he has never seen an unhappy or an uncared-for guide dog and that the visually-impaired people they are helping also always look happy to be getting around.

And Morgan was not the only one who didn’t think much of Webster’s opinion. Netizens took to Twitter to share just how ridiculous they thought she was being, with one person even snarkily pointing out that dogs don’t consent to be pets either.