The BBC has agreed to change the title of new dog breeding show Will My Puppies Make Me Rich? after it was contacted by the RSPCA.
The animal welfare charity wrote to the producers of the upcoming BBC Three series to express concern that the show may glamorise dog breeding and “fuel the illegal puppy trade”.
These apprehensions were reiterated by celebrities including Downton Abbey star Peter Egan and former newsreader Jan Leeming.
Egan tweeted: “I’m delighted to see @RSPCA_official have raised their concerns with the BBC about @bbcthree’s dreadful idea. It is really ill thought out and not good programming.”
— Peter Egan (@PeterEgan6) December 8, 2020
He was responding to the RSPCA’s own tweet saying; “We’re concerned about @BBCThree's commissioned 'Will My Puppies Make Me Rich?' programme as it could lead to dog welfare issues and glamorise breeding. Along with other welfare and vet organisations, we've written to the programme-makers and the BBC urging them to rethink.”
The animal welfare charity also said in a statement: "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."
In response the BBC has said the title of the series – which follows young dog breeders in the North of England trying to build a new business during lockdown – will be changed.
A statement said: "This observational documentary does not glamorise dog breeding, it responsibly examines the growing rise of young people entering the business and highlights the importance of good animal welfare, training and licensing.
"The production team are working closely with animal experts throughout to inform the audience of what constitutes good and bad practice."
A petition calling for the show to be dropped has gathered more than 60,000 signatures.
Although I know she was well treated and lived indoors, my little DiDee was 3 only last week and had already had 3 litters. She behaves just like a Puppy - I think it is because she's not really had a 'childhood'. Now Speyed. Appalling programme idea -BBC should be ashamed😡 https://t.co/IWYYuOskGK pic.twitter.com/o8P2MJK3h2
— Jan Leeming (@Jan_Leeming) December 8, 2020
TV presenter Leeming, 78, called the show an “appalling programme idea”, adding that the “BBC should be ashamed”.
BBC Three announced last month it had commissioned the series after it won a “best pitch” competition at the Sheffield Doc/Fest documentary film festival.
🐶 Will My Puppies Make Me Rich? @BBCThree commissions timely new film following young dog breeders in the North of England as they set out to build reputable businesses during lockdown - https://t.co/LAF4Sz0BkD pic.twitter.com/IYokIaVj55
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) November 25, 2020
The price of puppies more than doubled during the first coronavirus lockdown, with dogs costing an average of almost £1,900.
Animal welfare charities have expressed fears this could encourage smuggling, dog theft and “puppy farming”.
Watch: Puppy scams sparked by the rising demand in lockdown