"Best in shelter" was started as a kind of antidote to "Best in Show", that final step in formidable pure-breed dog competitions such as Crufts and the Westminster Kennel Club. What we wanted to do was raise public awareness not only of the plight of animal shelters, but of the truly good animals housed in them, often overlooked because of a bias many people have against shelter animals.
In this present competition, however, we are shifting focus and turning what we hope is the same bright beam on the conditions of farm animals and farm sanctuaries.
Farm sanctuaries, such as the ones taking part in this competition, are often the last hope for mistreated and neglected farm animals. Sanctuaries expend enormous amounts of effort and time in rescue and rehabilitation of animals, some that quite literally drop off the backs of trucks headed for the slaughterhouse. They save them from killer auctions, slaughterhouses, stockyards, and factory farms; they save them from abuse, disease and often a hideous death. Sanctuaries offer these animals a lifetime home of shelter, food and care. Farm sanctuaries and the people who run them are to me the unsung heroes of the animal world.