“Now it’s an issue. It’s not something that’s going to be brushed under the carpet and just go away. You can use the term ‘puppy farming’ and most people know what you’re talking about.”
Marc Abraham, aka TV’s Marc the Vet, had met up with me for an update on the campaign he spearheads: PupAid’s drive to ban the sale of puppies and kittens without their mothers being present, in order to reduce the numbers of irresponsibly bred animals and their routes to market in the UK.
Since last September’s PupAid Fun Dog Show in Primrose Hill, Marc has been busy propelling the campaign forward. The message is gaining traction: don’t buy a puppy or kitten without seeing it with its mother, or better still, adopt a pet from a reputable local animal rescue centre such as The Mayhew or All Dogs Matter.
Factors have combined to raise PupAid’s profile. Their hugely successful online petition gained enough signatures to force a debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons last September. Since then, Marc has spent many long hours at Parliament lobbying MPs.
A well-known figure in his own right, with numerous appearances on television and in the press to his name, Marc has attracted a broad base of support. Now he feels hopeful that, with continued hard work, PupAid will eventually achieve one of its targets:
“I’d like to see the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops banned by the end of the year.”
Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, has been an invaluable force in PupAid’s popular ‘#WheresMum?’ campaign. “These are the tools we have nowadays to bring about change,” Marc explained. “Anyone could do this. If you don’t like something, you can help change it.”
High-level support has come from, amongst others, Ricky Gervais, Brian May, Peter Egan, Labour MP Angela Smith (shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA and described by Marc as “my hero”), and Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion. The RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the Kennel Club are among the many animal welfare organisations supporting the PupAid campaign.
However, Marc equally cherishes the vast array of individuals and smaller organisations who have rallied to the cause: “It’s down to every single person involved and they should all be extremely proud of themselves. I’m just the idiot that pulls everyone together,” he smiled.
“We can safely say that the future looks a lot kinder for animals than it did a year ago.”
And that’s progress to be celebrated.
Click on the gallery to find out more:
The annual PupAid Fun Dog Show takes place Saturday 5 September in Primrose Hill.
© 2015 Joanna Reeves, all rights reserved.
Photo credits: Marc Abraham unless stated otherwise.