People have signed a petition calling for the BBC to stop producing a documentary titled Will My Puppies Make Me Rich?.
The documentary, pitched by Sophia Slater and Helena Rochester, won the BBC Three Pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest and was subsequently commissioned last month.
Slater and Rochester will be supported by Salford-based production company Nine Lives as they create the film, which will focus on people in their twenties looking to launch new businesses breeding designer dogs.
“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 synopsis reads.
There’s no release date has been announced for the documentary, but following the news of its commission, critics started a petition to stop its production.
The petition on Change.org argues ‘anything that promotes animals as commodities to make money from is absolutely disgraceful’, and expresses fears that people will watch the show as a ‘how-to guide’ on how to make money from dogs.
“Dogs used for breeding often lead miserable lives, locked in crates being bred from until they’re dead.
The puppies also often end up dying due to bad husbandry,” the petition reads. “The show will highlight so-called “designer dogs” promoting the buying of dogs, many of whom have been bred to have a certain aesthetic. This leads to painful health conditions; flattened skulls, compressed spinal cords, extreme breathing difficulties, eye, and ear problems to name a few.
“There are thousands of dogs in shelters needing homes, we do not need a program that promotes breeding and selling puppies as a get rich quick scheme or a career.”
On December 9, more than 55,000 have signed the petition on the website.
Following the backlash, BC defended its decision to make the documentary, with a spokesperson telling Metro that the program will not ‘glamourize dog breeding’, and instead it will ‘highlight the importance of good animal welfare’.
“This observational documentary… responsibly examines the growing rise of young people entering the business and highlights the importance of good animal welfare, training, and licensing,” the spokesperson added.
“The production team are working closely with animal experts throughout to inform the audience of what constitutes good and bad practice.”
Animal charities and organizations are among those expressing concern about the dog-breeding documentary. The RSPCA has joined forces with the Royal Veterinary College, Dogs Trust, British Veterinary Association, and Battersea to write a letter to the BBC demanding they stop the show.
According to Mirror, an RSCPA spokesperson said the organizations were ‘concerned that it is extremely irresponsible to encourage and glamorize breeding as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme’ as it could lead to ‘serious dog welfare issues’.
BBC Three Controller Fiona Campbell described the idea for the film as ‘timely and ambitious.’