The BBC has changed the working title of its controversial documentary about dog breeding, after an online backlash and a petition to stop it from airing.
The programme – originally titled Will My Puppies Make Me Rich? – will follow young dog breeders as they try to build their businesses and make them reputable.
Since the documentary was announced, an online petition to stop its release has been set up and, at the time of writing, has acquired more than 176,000 signatures. The RSPCA also expressed concern it could “encourage and glamorise breeding”.
After initially defending the programme, the BBC has now said the documentary is going under the working title Britain’s Puppy Boom: Counting the Cost, as the broadcaster believes “that title makes clearer the BBC’s and the programmes intentions”.
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 statement added: “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 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.”
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