A BBC Three show called Will My Puppies Make Me Rich has been criticised for glamorizing the breeding of puppies and promoting animal cruelty.
The show focuses on the rise of puppy breeding as a business among ‘aspirational social media savvy 20-somethings’ looking to make money by selling ‘designer canines’.
However a number of animal rights advocates, including the RSPCA, have called out the programme for framing puppy breeding as an ‘ambitious’ business venture for youngsters in the ‘north’ to undertake as a response to covid-19 job losses.
BBC3 controller Fiona Campbell, who commissioned the programme from Salford-based production company Nine Lives, said: ‘We went for [the show] because we love ideas that are aspirational and the business angle baked into this felt really timely and ambitious.’
The BBC Three show states that the average puppy price has doubled in the last six months because of Covid-19. Pictured: Stock photo of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy
The RSPCA said that they had joined forces with a number of animal welfare groups to write to the BBC demanding the show is abandoned.
An RSPCA spokesperson told The Mirror: ‘We’re aware of this programme and are concerned that it is extremely irresponsible to encourage and glamorise breeding as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme which, in turn, could lead to serious dog welfare issues and fuel the illegal puppy trade.
‘Along with a number of other animal welfare and veterinary organisations who shared our concerns, we’ve written a joint letter to the programme creators and BBC Three urging them to rethink.’
Lucy’s Law founder Marc Abraham hit back at the BBC’s commission of the show writing in a statement: ‘I join fellow animal welfare campaigners & dog-lovers across the UK in being deeply concerned that this programme is not only ill-conceived & exploitative to animals, but potentially dangerous too.
The show is being produced by documentary makers Sophia Slater and Helena Rochester (pictured)
‘Any show following individuals breeding dogs with little or no knowledge & experience, with their sole intention of making a profit implies this is an appropriate, even aspirational money-making venture to consider; a hugely irresponsible message to send to viewers by a publicly funded, or indeed any organisation.’
He continued: ‘It’s extremely disappointing, especially when the Pandemic has seen a spike in irresponsible dog breeding practices both here & abroad, that BBC THREE is commissioning a documentary that effectively promotes & follows a dog breeding business experiment, posing a risk not only to the welfare of the dogs, puppies & people directly involved, but potentially manufacturing cruelty, which can only have a detrimental effect on the lives of thousands of other dogs & humans.
‘I sincerely hope BBC THREE rethinks this terrible idea which only helps to normalise & encourage dog breeding for money.’
Downtown Abbey actor Peter Egan tweeted that he was ‘truly shocked’ by the idea of the programme
Downtown Abbey actor Peter Egan tweeted: ‘This is possibly the worst idea I’ve ever heard. @bbcthree clearly has no idea about creative programming if this is an example of their work. I am truly shocked by this.’
Information on the BBC’s website on the shows states: ‘With average puppy prices doubling in the last six months because of Covid-19, this timely film will look at some of the 20-somethings looking to launch new businesses breeding designer canines’
The show does feature the pitfalls of dog breeding, as the BBC website continues: ‘The film will follow the young breeders as they try to build their businesses and make them reputable.
‘But, with puppies for life and not just lockdown, and a rise in ‘bad breeders’ looking to make a quick buck, it will also explore and discuss what constitutes good and bad practice in the world of dog breeding.’
The show is being produced by documentary makers Sophia Slater and Helena Rochester.
The BBC has been contacted for comment.