It’s September and time for Primrose Hill to host one of the highlights of our local calendar-the PupAid Dog Show!
Now in its fourth year on the hill, this fun event attracts families and their canine companions to come to the park and enjoy taking part in celebrity judged classes, to have a go at an agility course or to browse the boutique doggy shopping village.
But behind this great day out lies a serious subject which the event aims to draw attention to-the horrors of puppy farming.
I caught up with TV vet Marc Abraham who founded the campaign to find out how our ‘nation of dog lovers’ may not be all it seems.
I asked Marc what first brought this issue to his attention.
“I was on the emergency shift one Friday evening at my veterinary practice in Brighton when we admitted seven puppies in quick succession. All were very poorly and suffering from parvovirus -a deadly killer of dogs. I liaised with all the owners and it began to emerge the pups had been purchased from the same puppy dealer in Sussex – who was buying them in from Welsh puppy farms.”
Marc then explained to me what sort of conditions could lead to puppies being saddled with ill health at such early stages of their lives.
“People need to understand that this trade in puppies is purely about maximising profits and is an animal welfare catastrophe. Up to 200 breeding bitches are kept caged in sheds, fed low quality food, not exercised and often have no bedding. They are bred twice yearly until their bodies simply give up. The litters are removed at 4-5 weeks and unsurprisingly leave the farms bound for petshops, garden centres, and private dealers with a myriad of health and behavioural issues. The puppies often have very low immune systems, parasites, worms, parvovirus and are a ticking time bomb of trauma and expense for those owners who choose to purchase a dog without taking the proper precautions”.
Some of the dogs rescued at Marc’s veterinary practice
I asked Marc what advice would he give to someone looking for a puppy.
“There are thousands of fantastic dogs and puppies awaiting adoption from rescue organisations all over the U.K. However if you prefer to go to a breeder always ask this question: Where’s mum?
A reputable breeder will be keen that new owners get to meet the mother of the pup and to show them interacting. The pups should also be at least 8 weeks old before they leave the mother.
Purchasing puppies from pet shops, garden centres, or online carries a huge risk and only helps fuel the continued cruelty that the dogs used to produce these puppies endure”.
Marc has continued to campaign for an end to this trade by raising awareness through the media, gathering support from celebrities and driving an online petition attracting over 110,000 signatories that successfully triggered a debate in Parliament last year.
Marc’s battle to make changes to the law to curb the worst aspects of puppy farming continues and his campaign to educate goes on as he told me in conclusion:
“Ultimately, if people are well informed they will choose not to buy puppies born and sold in this way, demand will dry up, and that will be the key to ending this terrible abuse.”
PupAid Fun Dog Show
Saturday 5th September
Registration from 10am
Dog Show 11am-5pm