UK TV channel ‘ITV’ have come under fire from animal lovers and animal rights activists this week after giving away a pug puppy as a prize to a 10 year old girl on their TV show ‘LemonAid’, presented by Keith Lemon.
“The RSPCA has received a number of complaints from members of the public after the programme aired on Saturday regarding the programme giving pets as presents.”
-excerpt from RSPCA statement
“The Kennel Club is disappointed and shocked that a puppy was given as a prize on a prime-time ITV show and is writing to the television producers and to Ofcom to outline its concerns.”
-excerpt from Kennel Club statement
Concerns have been raised due to the sad fact that dogs (and especially smaller breeds such as pugs) are increasingly being seen as commodities which means people buy them without properly considering the requirements of dog ownership. This is resulting in large numbers of them being abandoned each year, and they’ve often been bought from pet shops that source their dogs from ‘puppy farms’ with sub-standard welfare and breeding practices.
It’s felt that giving away a dog as a prize in the manner that occurred on the show is unacceptable and that it contributes to this mentality towards dogs and other animals.
A Facebook page and campaign have been set up by Beverley Cuddy of Dogs Today magazine to raise awareness for the issue, and a petition has been created appealing for changes to the Animal Welfare Act so that dogs and other animals cannot be given away as prizes in the future, a rule that Scotland have already implemented in ‘The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2000’, which states that if a ‘person offers or gives an animal to another person as a prize’ they are committing an offence.
Keith Lemon has defended the show’s actions, saying “The breeders interviewed the parents and they seemed responsible nice people who actually really wanted a dog. That’s why. Nothing to do with me. I’m just the host.”
But criticism and debate about the show is continuing, mostly via online social networks Twitter and Facebook, and it appears no statement has yet been issued by ITV.