Bake Off: The Professionals criticised for featuring 'cruel' Puppy Yoga practice

Government ministers have said they have "serious concerns" for the welfare of puppies used in the yoga trend.

Bake Off: The Professionals 2023 hosts Liam Charles and Ellie Taylor.
Bake Off: The Professionals featured Puppy Yoga in the first episode of the new series. (Channel 4)

Bake Off: The Professionals has come under criticism for featuring puppy yoga, after calls to ban the practice.

Liam Charles was joined by new co-host Ellie Taylor for the eighth series of the Great British Bake Off spin-off on Channel 4 and the first episode showed the contestants taking a puppy yoga class.

Read more: Bake Off: The Professionals 2023 – All you need to know

Contestants Nicoletta and Georgina, of the Meraki Baking Studio were shown enjoying puppy yoga, practising poses in a studio surrounded by fluffy white puppies.

One laughed: "Someone is biting my socks."

Watch: Puppy Yoga featured in Bake Off: The Professionals

This comes after MPs at a recent meeting of the environment, food and rural affairs committee (DEFRA) meeting ruled the use of puppies in yoga sessions was "cruelty" and advised organisers to "stop doing it".

Committee chair Robert Goodwill said: "It isn’t that we need to change the law, it’s already against the law to be cruel to animals, and I believe this is cruelty.

“These puppies are being exploited, there’s no evidence in the film that the animals were enjoying the contact with people.”

Nicoletta from Merkai Baking Studio - Bake Off The Professionals 2023 (Channel 4)
Nicoletta from Merkai Baking Studio was shown doing Puppy Yoga with her partner Georgina. (Channel 4) (Mark Bourdillon)

Peta’s vice president of programmes Elisa Allen told Yahoo UK: "Along with animal welfare concerns – like poor socialisation, lack of water, and being separated from their mothers too early – promoting the breeding of 'pedigree' dogs, who often endure severe physical problems later in life, is another gimmick to promote sales over rescue and goes against one of the fundamental principles of yoga: ahimsa, doing no harm.

"While hundreds of thousands of wonderful dogs sit in UK shelters longing for a home – some for years – greedy breeders churn out litter after litter of puppies for profit, knowing that some of those dogs will end up adding to the homeless-animal crisis when they are dumped in shelters after the novelty wears off.

Dexcom Warrior Roxy Horner host Puppy Yoga to promote mental wellbeing for Diabetes Awareness Week on June 17, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Getty Images for Dexcom)
Roxy Horner practising puppy yoga, which has been deemed to be cruel. (Getty Images for Dexcom) (Mike Marsland via Getty Images)

"Peta urges yogis to stay away from a cheap ploy that uses sensitive animals as props and stick to downward dog with your rescued pup."

Yahoo UK has contacted Channel 4 for comment.

A recent ITV News investigation found puppies puppies as young as six-weeks-old were being denied access to water, sleep and worked for hours at a time in the sessions.

But event organisers claimed it was a good social activity for the puppies.

Participants pet puppies during the yoga class on June 10, 2023 in Krakow, Poland. Natalia, who owns the first rabbit cafe in Poland and is an animal lover, recently started the first yoga classes with dogs in Krakow. Inspired by US yoga dog classes, she partners with Ania, a professional dog breeder who is responsible for bringing in the puppies. The classes take place during weekends and participants have the chance to pet and relax with the dogs and at the same time, the animals have the chance to meet strangers. (Photo by Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Puppy yoga has become a popular trend. (Getty Images) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Yoga sessions where animals roam around the classroom and are able to rub against and climb on people while they pose have become increasingly popular in the last few years. It is believed the interaction with living creatures improves mindfulness and the pictures look appealing on social media.

Animals used in yoga classes include dogs, goats, rabbits, kittens, llamas, chickens and even lemurs at one class in New York.

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Puppy yoga has become the latest craze in London and the UK.

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