BBC change title of puppy breeding documentary in wake of online backlash

The BBC has responded to the backlash around a forthcoming documentary about puppy breeding, pledging to change its title from Will My Puppies Make Me Rich?.

The documentary was created by filmmakers Sophia Slater and Helena Rochester, and will follow young dog breeders as they build their businesses and become reputable.

The RSPCA expressed concern it could ‘encourage and glamorise breeding’, while a petition was started in a bid to stop it being made. It has fetched over 160,000 signatures at the time of writing.

The broadcaster explained the documentary is now going under the working title Britain’s Puppy Boom: Counting the Cost, as the BBC ‘think that title makes clearer the BBC’s and the programmes intentions.’

The broadcaster also stressed that the programme is ‘not an attempt to glamorise breeding’.

The BBC said: ‘A lot has been said and written online about this future programme. If the BBC were making a programme about how to exploit animals for profit, then that would be a cause for concern. The reality is rather different. The BBC is not making such a programme and never intended to.

‘The title of the programme is a working title. It is not uncommon for programmes to have working titles while they are developed. As the working title has allowed there to be some ambiguity around what the content might be, we have now chosen the new working title – Britain’s Puppy Boom: Counting the Cost. We think that title makes clearer the BBC’s and the programmes intentions.

‘To clarify further, It will be a film underpinned by sound journalism, providing a balanced exploration of why more young people have become interested in turning their passion for dogs into a profession, done responsibly, as well as understanding the wider negative impacts of the rise in demand for dogs. It will not be a ‘how to’ guide. It is not about encouraging people to get into breeding. Nor is it an attempt to glamorise breeding.’

The statement continued to say that those featured in the programme are ‘responsible’ breeders or are in training to become accredited ‘in order to highlight what constitutes best practice.’

‘The idea was commissioned during a live pitch event for new talent which is different to how we usually commission, but it will now be developed and made in accordance with the usual processes in line with BBC Editorial Guidelines and the production team will research and consult widely within the industry,’ the BBC said.

‘The BBC condemns the personal attacks that have been directed towards the young women who pitched the idea of the documentary. They are not dog breeders but felt the subject was an interesting one to tackle due to the rise in demand for dogs over the past few months. The BBC is responsible for commissioning the film and its editorial direction.

‘We hope this statement makes clear the position.’

A spokesperson previously told Metro.co.uk that Britain’s Puppy Boom: Counting the Cost will ‘highlight the importance of good animal welfare’.

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