BBC3 announced last month the award of a commission for a new documentary called “Will My Puppies Make Me Rich?”. The idea was pitched by Sophia Slater and Helena Rochester, and the programme (if made) will be produced by Salford-based production company Nine Lives.
The programme is expected to follow several breeders who due to the loss of their employment during the Covid 19 pandemic have decided to breed dogs.
Winter of discontent
To date, the Kennel Club, RSPCA, Dog’s Trust, British Veterinary Association and Battersea have added their voices to the growing number of people both young and old to complain that the programme’s commission is an irresponsible nonsense. Should it be broadcast, some say, countless dogs will be exploited and their lives endangered.
UK charities are already battling to save breeding dogs kept in appalling conditions by unregulated get-rich-quick puppy farmers. The premise of the story clearly suggests that breeding puppies is something anyone can do, and perhaps even should do.
Welfare not taken into account
Its ethos appears to cater for those who are currently in desperate need of money, and does not take into account the welfare of breeding dogs, or the fact that there are already experienced breeders out there who have spent years perfecting their careful trade.
Worryingly, at no point in its press release does the Beeb comment on how a discussion of the health and wellbeing of dogs comes before that of profit.
No doubt the BBC will consider the controversy a worthy vax against flagging ratings, but the fact remains that this type of money-making documentary may speak more to the unscrupulous seller of any age who cares less for the dogs than their bank balance.
Watch also: Puppies becoming unaffordable in the UK as demand soars during lockdown