In the last few weeks, animal welfare has been firmly in the spotlight in the UK with a change in the law banning third party sales of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old. This new legislation hit the headlines, and even made the front page of The Daily Mirror on 22 August. One of the campaigners at the forefront of the movement against puppy farming is Marc Abraham, aka Marc the Vet. Marc and his partner, along with a great team of volunteers, organise Pup Aid, an annual dog show at Primrose Hill in London on the first Saturday of September.
The show raises awareness of puppy farming, animal abuse and the best way to go about getting a dog. It showcases dog shelters, charities and even brands that sell dog essentials. They also put on competitions where dog owners from London and across the UK bring their dogs down to be judged by celebrity guests in a number of categories such as best tricks, best celebrity lookalike and dog that looks most like their owner.
Liv and I have gone along to Pup Aid for the past few years, not just to be in a park surrounded by dogs of all shapes and sizes, but also to support charities like Greyhound Compassion who you may be aware of from our blog post about meeting man’s best friend in Spain. We’ll be returning to Scooby next month to volunteer again at the shelter so keep your eyes peeled for another post on that too.
This year was a bigger and better Pup Aid with all the visitors in great spirits after what was a major victory over puppy farming, irresponsible breeding and pet sales. There were plenty of happy dog owners and dog lovers all in one place. With the extremely hot English summer we’ve had this year, it was another warm, dry day. Great for human visitors to the event, not so enjoyable for some of their furry friends!
Liv couldn’t make it down this year but I’d been invited along as a member of the Press so I definitely couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. Lots of celebrity supporters, influential dog owners and campaigners also attend each year, so the VIP and Press Area was pretty busy when I got there. I met up with Lucinda from Greyhound Compassion and Magic the Greyhound also came in with us.
We met Calum Best who told us about the greyhound that he and his Mum used to have when he was growing up.
Great to meet @CalumBest @pupaid & discuss greyhounds. Two issues of interest: USA – Amendment13 to prohibit dog racing in Florida on ballot in November. UK: need to phase out racing after failed reforms & inadequate regulations. @jb_new @Greytexposers @GREY2KUSA #pupaid2018 pic.twitter.com/PlnmsUScGz
— Greyhound Compassion (@GreyCompassion) September 1, 2018
I’d missed Ricky Gervais earlier in the day but it was nice to speak to Gillian McKeith and her daughter in their Dalmatian costumes – definitely the best outfits of this year’s show. Lucinda also had a brief discussion with dog trainer to the stars, Victoria Stilwell, before we stood in the shade with Magic, doing a bit of celeb-spotting with some of the cast of Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island and other TV shows in attendance.
Gillian and Afton McKeith with Lucinda and Magic
I grabbed Marc for a photo with Magic and it was great to hear Lucinda discussing the issues with Greyhound racing and the gambling element. Greyhound Compassion, Greyt Exploitations and other organisations are campaigning tirelessly to get it outlawed. Even if everyone stopped going to greyhound racing, it would still make money from all the gambling, with it being streamed into bookmakers across the UK. What people might think is a harmless night at the dog track is really helping fund the injury and mistreatment of dogs. Dogs who often end up dead or at shelters like Scooby. Magic also wore his jacket with the slogan “You Bet, We Die” to reinforce the message.
In America, six states still allow Greyhound racing and betting on it, with 40 states outlawing it. On 6 November in Florida, Americans in the Sunshine State will vote to see if there will be an amendment to laws established in 1931. If successful, Florida will entirely phase out commercial greyhound racing in the state by 2020.
Other press at Pup Aid included Adam Williams, the human news editor of Our Dogs newspaper, and we met Gizmo, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who edits The Barking Bugle along with his owners in Norfolk. A good bit of schmoozing all round.
Pup Aid isn’t a day to shame those who might have bought a dog instead of adopting one, but it is good to educate the public about the correct way to get a dog, either by adopting a rescue dog, or via a responsible breeder where you will always see the puppy with its mother.
Pup Aid use the hashtags #WheresMum, #AdoptDontShop and #LucysLaw prominently across social media.Lucy’s Law is named after Lucy The Rescue Cavalier who died in 2016 after suffering health complications from being caged for years on a puppy farm in Wales.
It was a great day out made better by the news they had long been campaigning for.
I spoke to Marc the Vet to find out what the top priorities were for 2019:
- Continue regular visits to Westminster, assisting the Government where necessary in bringing in Lucy’s Law.
- Campaigning for Lucy’s Law in the rest of the UK – the legislation is devolved and only currently applies to England. They have already made some major steps in Wales but plan to speak with the Scottish and Northern Irish governments too.
- Meeting with American politicians, charities, and campaigners in the States to help get the ball rolling there too.
- Continue raising awareness of puppy farming, responsible cat & dog breeding and adopting rescue animals.
Roll on Pup Aid 2019!
~ J ~