Henry Smith MP has organised a cross-party letter signed by 50 Members of Parliament urging the BBC to ensure animal welfare practices are taken into account when making decisions on programming.
The intervention follows the announcement that BBC Three has commissioned the programme ‘Will My Puppies Make Me Rich?’, which raises numerous questions over animal welfare and the potential glamorisation of puppy breeding as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
“I’m pleased that this letter has received support from colleagues right across the House of Commons.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant increase in dog ownership due to the changes to everyone’s way of life.
“There are already serious welfare implications associated with poor breeding practices and major concerns for popular breeds such as French Bulldogs and pugs which are selected for physical features that seriously compromise their welfare. We need to see greater safeguards for and promotion of responsible dog breeding.
“The BBC should be a trusted source of information and entertainment for many throughout the United Kingdom, and our concern is that this programme has the potential to make the situation for puppies worse. This would set back the work of Government, parliamentarians and animal welfare organisations to address this issue.
“We urge the BBC to reconsider the premise behind this programme, and to ensure that dog welfare and responsible breeding practices are at the heart of any similar programming decisions.
“Protecting puppies is a cause close to our hearts for life, not just for Christmas.”
The letter arranged and sent by the Crawley MP includes a number of prominent signatories including the Chair of the House of Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish; three former Cabinet ministers including the former Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers; as well as figures such as Sir Roger Gale and Caroline Lucas. Each has signed in their capacity as a constituency MP.