Churchill

ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES: BRANDS MUST STOP SETTING DOG WELFARE BACK DECADES.

I feel like the ultimate hybrid. A hardened advertising copywriter mixed with a passionate canine welfare campaigner. Advertising and animal welfare is not always a happy marriage.

On one hand, I know only too well that the most appealing way to get the ‘ahhhh’ factor from consumers is to use babies and puppies in advertising. When it comes to babies, probably the worst that can happen is that some women get broody and want one. Unfortunately, the same result, however unwittingly, happens when advertisers use cute animals to monetise their products and services. In this instance I’m mainly focusing on the use of dogs.

In the good old days of advertising, before life revolved around the internet, a Hush Puppies ad was pretty harmless. As were commercials featuring the famous Dulux dog and of course the adorable Andrex puppy. Later we had the lovable Churchill nodding dog. Ohhhh yes! But in 2019 Churchill rebranded, and their famous animated nodding dog was reimagined in CGI form, described as a “lean, mean chill machine” by the creators. Since then, we’ve seen Churchie cruising on a skateboard around the streets of Madrid, and in their latest ad the English bulldog is seen meandering his way effortlessly down a funfair slide.

“In his latest outing, Churchie, the guru of chill, shows us how to iron out life’s unexpected bumps,” says Leon Jaume, Executive Creative Director of ENGINE Creative.

The emphasis of this new iteration of Churchie is on the word ‘chill’ – as in ChurCHILL. It’s ironic because ‘chilling’ is something that these flat faced breeds can find so very hard to do in hot weather, or indeed, in any weather. And as for skateboarding (which apparently is something bulldogs find easy to master) and now going down a funfair slide – it makes perfect sense for a breed that is so often incapable of even simple exercise, to make use of easier modes of transport just to get from A to B, right?

Lazy advertising

Many brands over the years, that have no relation to pet products and even some that do, have latched on to the appeal of using puppies and dogs in their ads. Is this really creativity or is it just lazy advertising?

Take McVities for example. One day a creative team sat around a desk and came up with the idea that having mouth-wateringly cute puppies and kittens popping out of packets of biscuits was going to be a winner for their client. In a Mirror article at the time, it said:

“The new adverts are using the power of kittens and puppies to get you to buy their biscuits. The “sweeet” campaign shows a set of adorable puppies emerging from inside a digestive packet. The tag line says it all: “The crumbly cuddle of McVitie’s”.” McVities went on to use kittens, piglets, and ducklings in the same way.

Another creative team somewhere else decided that Phillip Schofield looking adoringly at a cockapoo pup, and gently blowing on his sweet little head of downy fluff would send people hurtling to We Buy Any Car to sell their vehicles instead of part exchanging them.

There were five puppies in the studio on the day of the six-hour shoot (one apparently had a wee in Phillip’s slipper) and all the puppies used were just six weeks old.

There’s even a TV ad running at the moment for a company called TaxScouts which features Milo the pug (real name Chucky). The ad created by LaGuarda, a digital brand and marketing consultancy, filmed it in Amsterdam due to UK lockdown. It features a woman called Sarah who is in her kitchen holding a bag of dog food, her chubby pug at her feet. Sarah’s hearing about how the nightmare of sorting out her self-assessment tax return can be sorted by this company for a flat fee. She’s so enthralled by how easy it sounds that she mindlessly continues pouring the dog food into the dog bowl without looking. By the end of the ad, surprise surprise, there is a thigh-high mountain of dog food in front of her and no sign of poor Milo, who has been buried in the kibble.

The power to do harm

The appeal of using animals in advertising is as old as the medium itself. The problem is that advertisers and creatives are still failing to grasp the potential harm they have the power to do when it comes to using real animals in advertising. Naturally, they assure us that no harm comes to any animals used in this way, but today there are growing numbers of people who feel it is exploitative. As well as the potential to give members of the public worrying examples of how to treat animals and help propagate the idea that animals are just a commodity that we can use at will, it can have a more sinister subliminal side effect.

In recent years, there has been a prolific use of brachycephalic (‘short’ head, flat-faced) dog breeds including Bulldogs, Pugs and French Bulldogs across everything from greetings cards, mugs, T-shirts, and cushion covers to online banners and TV ads. Their seemingly adorable squishy faces may make consumers swoon, but for many this merchandising has become a tipping point that has seen them go online immediately to seek out those specific breeds and satisfy their urge to have a puppy. This has led to a catastrophic increase in the low welfare breeding of dogs in general, but with some of the worst examples seen in these brachycephalic breeds.

Cashing in on painful deformities

In fact, did you know there are now so-called ‘fertility and artificial insemination’ clinics springing up all over the UK to cash in on this trend? It’s an industry that is at present unregulated, rarely has any veterinary involvement, and many of the puppies that are being created as a result have what can only be described as horrific, life-threatening deformities because, and let this sink in, that’s what some buyers find incredibly appealing. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the vets that have to perform excruciating and expensive surgeries on these breeds, often soon after they have been purchased, just so that they’re able to breathe normally.

Advertising can have exactly the same detrimental effects of creating dog breed ‘trends’ with consumers when it comes to puppy purchasing as some Instagram ‘celebs’ have when trotting out their accessory-pup selfies to millions of devoted followers.

Today, small rescue shelters in particular are on their knees trying to pick up the pieces of ill thought through puppy purchasing and eyewatering veterinary bills, just to rehabilitate unwanted and damaged dogs and puppies.

Then there are the commissioning editors, desperate for television content, who are equally as guilty when it comes to the thoughtless and often unethical use of dogs in TV shows to get those highly prized rating figures. The use of animals in entertainment is without doubt a separate but important discussion in itself.

Of course, it isn’t just flat-faced breeds of dogs – and cats for that matter – that are a huge cause for concern for animal welfare organisations and vets, but they are by far the most heart-breaking result of breeding for looks rather than functionality.

I would urge brand managers, creative directors and TV executives to read this excellent article from the British Veterinary Association in 2018.

Do try this at home

To anyone out there considering the use of a flat-faced breed in their advertising and marketing could I politely suggest that you first place a pillow over your face and try breathing like that for the next 24 hours, while attempting any form of physical exercise. You may then start to recognise the dilemma of dogs with nostrils so pinched that they struggle to breathe. Then I recommend standing in a sauna for a while (still with that pillow over your face) and try to regulate your body temperature while gasping for breath through your mouth. I haven’t even started on the multiple folds of ‘funny and cute’ excess skin weighing on your face and neck that often suffer painful infections. And if you happen to be a female used for breeding God help you. The likelihood that you can give birth to pups with disproportionately large heads naturally, without surgical intervention, is alarmingly low.

There are an increasing number of animal advocates who believe that people deliberately breeding dogs with such difficult and painful conditions should be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act for wilful and deliberate acts of cruelty. I’m one of them. So, when advertisers perpetuate the problem, I see a red line being crossed. The advertising industry has always prided itself on the role of research, but even a cursory Google of the well-publicised issues relating to brachycephalic dogs (and cats) should make any responsible brand steer clear of using these breeds as selling tools.

It doesn’t have to be this way

Finally, on a positive note, an excellent example of a brand capturing public imagination with an adorable canine is the fabulous campaign by The AA featuring Tucker the dog – a woolly, floppy mass of personality. He is, quite simply, adorable. Tucker wants to listen to cool music, and feel the wind blowing on his face on a road trip – that feeling of freedom that we’re all pretty desperate for right now. The real beauty of Tucker is that he isn’t a real dog, he’s a puppet. Created by communications agency adam&eveDDBA this team have been innovative and truly creative.

Other than providing a positive and compelling reason to choose the AA for breakdown cover, the use of Tucker won’t elicit a subliminal message to the public to go out and get a pup just like him – not unless they merchandise Tucker as a collectible toy which, by the way, huge numbers of the public have been begging them to do, and which may now be in the pipeline. Tucker has given us something to smile about during the pandemic, including many in the animal welfare arena.

For me, an advertising/campaigning hybrid, Tucker is a wonderful example of excellent brand messaging, beautifully executed, and with no canine welfare downside – a real breath of fresh air.

Stoptober

STOPTOBER: STOP THINKING PUPPIES

This Stoptober we’re asking the public for a change of mindset. To hit the reset button. To think again. Why? Because every dog was a puppy once.

Please watch and share our film, which contains NO upsetting images.

YouTube – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugifj8o4mmk

We’ve made this film in the hope it will make people think twice about buying that ‘cute’ puppy and think more about where it came from.

PUPPIES PUPPIES PUPPIES

PUPPIES, PUPPIES, PUPPIES! (YOU’RE GONNA GET SCAMMED!)

We’ve made this film in a desperate attempt to stop the pandemic (and shortly Christmas) puppy buying madness. Hoping to reach younger users of platforms like Instagram and TikTok too who are being sucked into thinking they’re buying a cute, fluffy puppy and spending thousands of pounds only to end up with a sick pup that may die, or sending a deposit and ending up with no puppy at all!

Why spend thousands on a puppy that could be connected to criminal activity? Why fuel cruelty and exploitation? Be cool. Be smart. Avoid a broken heart. Don’t buy puppies during the pandemic or in the run up to Christmas. Please don’t become an accessory to cruelty or a victim of a scam. Rescues have puppies too – for a fraction of the currently hugely inflated prices being asked right now.

YouTube – www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpz6pLTO4-Q

Think Small

C.A.R.I.A.D. LAUNCHES RESCUE DIRECTORY AND THINK SMALL CAMPAIGN

Small rescues are the backbone of companion animal welfare in the UK. They do big things for animals despite having scant resource. This means having to be extremely resourceful and working extra hard. Many are either solely run by unpaid volunteers or rely heavily on them to keep going. So, if you’re looking for a new companion, please consider adopting from a smaller rescue. And if you’re not ready to adopt, then please also consider becoming a fosterer for a smaller rescue so that they can then create a space to help another animal in need.

There are many other ways to help small rescues to continue their vital work. Donations are always at the top of the list because their overheads can be truly eyewatering – the biggest cost usually being huge veterinary bills. There are also costs for accommodating animals including bedding and food for example. It’s not unusual for some rescue staff or volunteers to reach into their own pockets to buy essentials themselves.

Apart from adopting, fostering and donating there are also other ways to help small rescues. These include:

  • fundraising
  • home-checking
  • transportation
  • admin
  • finding sponsors
  • sourcing prizes for raffles

Each rescue will have their own specific wish list, so please do get in touch and see how you can help out these amazing unsung heroes.

The Rescue Directory list will continue to grow over time so keep checking back to see if there may be a rescue local to you that needs your help.

RESCUE DIRECTORY – www.cariadcampaign.co.uk/rescues

‘THINK SMALL’ FILM – www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZAIiPUCc9s

Puppy Farm and Puppy Dealing Images

OUR RESPONSE TO THE WELSH GOVERNMENT ON UNFIT FOR PURPOSE REGULATIONS

Our most recent petition (Immediate embargo on new dog breeding licences, licence renewals and planning applications until regulations are fit for purpose and enforceable) resulted in a response from Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. We responded directly to the Minister’s correspondence, paragraph by paragraph so that it is clear why this generic response that many people have now received from her office is so deeply disappointing and in many areas, extremely worrying.

We launched this petition in response to the BBC One Wales documentary aired on Monday 30th September 2019 highlighting the appalling state of the licensed, legal, regulated puppy farming trade in Wales. We worked extensively with the BBC producer over 18 months providing evidence of the failures of the inspection process, the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of Council licensing inspection reports and the often disturbing guidance provided to the licensing inspectors (who are not animal welfare experts) by vets on the fitness of dogs to be bred from.

In addition, we have been providing such evidence to the Minister’s own department supporting these failings for many years which have not been acted upon. In particular, we have cited areas where Councils are unable to enforce the current regulations by their own admissions and which have frustrated the process of prosecution. These areas include the staff:dog ratio and the socialisation and enrichment programmes.

“Animal welfare and the responsible ownership of animals are priorities for the Welsh Government and the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group. We are committed to maintaining high standards of welfare for all animals kept in Wales at all stages of their lives.”

With all due respect, we wouldn’t expect the Minister of any government to state anything to the contrary. It is however a statement that only has credence if there is concrete evidence of these ‘high standards’ which at present there is not in the case of puppy farming, puppy dealing and dog breeding in Wales.

“I had already committed to reviewing the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014 and also made clear on the value I see in banning third party sales of puppies and kittens.”

Yes, the Minister has said this on a number of occasions over the last 2 years and was in fact a speaker at our Lucy’s Law For Wales event at the Senedd on 11th July 2018. Since then she has also stated in television interviews that it is her desire to ‘run puppy farming out of Wales’. In the meantime, England will be proceeding with this 3rd party ban from 6th April this year. Wales is already falling far behind its neighbours with Scotland, Northern Ireland and now Ireland having greater traction in this area than Wales.

“Following the recent broadcast of a BBC Wales Investigation programme, I appreciate urgent action is needed in this area. With this in mind:

I accepted the offer of help from the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group and requested an urgent and immediate review of the dog breeding regulations. The work commenced in November and has recently concluded. Officials received the report on Tuesday and a decision how best to address the issues will be made following full consideration of the recommendations.

The Chief Veterinary Officer has met with Local Authority Chief Executive Officers to discuss barriers to enforcement. The Welsh Local Government Association was also represented. I have been advised the meeting was very productive and officials are considering the next steps.

The Chief Veterinary Officer immediately referred the BBC programme to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Officials launched a social media campaign on the run up to Christmas, aimed at prospective puppy purchasers, highlighting the importance of sourcing responsibly.”

It is alarming and distressing that it took a BBC One Wales Investigation – in effect a public shaming of the Minister’s department – to prompt urgent action, when the very same issues have been shared with this Government time and again over many years.

We are extremely concerned that advice being given to the Minister on how to proceed may be coming from inappropriate sources. For example, The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group consists largely of representatives from the farming industry. And it is worth noting that the credentials of the key members of this group are as follows (taken from the group’s website):

Abi Reader: Abi is a 3rd generation dairy farmer in South Wales and has been farming for more than 10 years. Abi manages a 750 acre farm which comprises of a mixed dairy herd of Holstein Friesians and Dairy Shorthorns. Abi was elected as NFU Cymru County chairman in 2014. Off the farm, Abi is involved in hosting farm open days and charity events.

Les Eckford: Les has spent most of his professional life in government veterinary service (1979- 2016), including within the Welsh Government as a veterinary adviser. Now retired, Les represents Wales as regional officer of the British Veterinary Association since 2017. He has extensive experience of engaging with a wide range of people, from farmers to senior policy makers and representatives of organisations, with diverse interests in animal health and welfare. Les interacts with veterinary students to raise awareness of animal welfare needs in food production animals.

Chair: Stephen James was appointed as the chair of the WAHWFG in July 2018. His term of appointment is 3 years. He has a wealth of experience in the farming sector, held the position of NFU Cymru President for 2 terms, and was director and chairman of the successful farmers’ cooperative.

David Davies, who runs a farming enterprise and property letting business. David is also chairman of the Welsh Advisory Board of NFU Mutual Insurance and former president of the Welsh Dairy Show and former Chair of Hybu Cig Cymru.

Moss Jones, director of the Welsh Agricultural Organisation Society and managing director of Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd. Moss is also company secretary of Welsh Lamb & Beef Producers Ltd, Livestock Marketing and president of South Caernarfon Creameries.

Sara Carr: Current BVA Welsh branch president, Sarah graduated from Liverpool Veterinary School in 2004. Sarah went on to spend some time as a locum vet in her native Somerset before volunteering for a donkey and mule charity in Morocco.Once back in the UK, Sarah joined a rural mixed veterinary practice in Monmouthshire, where she gained experience in farm animal practice, before moving to Abbey Equine Clinic in 2009 to further develop her skills as an equine vet. Sarah also has a particular interest in modern equine dentistry and in 2014 passed her BEVA/BVDA exams. Outside of work, Sarah runs her own flock of crossbred commercial ewes, which keeps her in touch with the agricultural sector in Wales.

Ifan Lloyd, veterinary surgeon in clinical practice and a senior partner of a veterinary group with surgeries in Swansea and Neath. Ifan is the Welsh regional representative on the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Council.

Paula Boyden: Paula graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1992, spending 11 years in general practice before joining Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health as a veterinary adviser in 2003. She joined Dogs Trust as deputy veterinary director in June 2010 and became veterinary director in August 2011.

With all due respect, in what possible capacity is this group the most suitable or impartial to be considering what is best for domestic companion animals when it comprises those with experience and interests in livestock farming, food production, the NFU and even a dog charity that lobbied against the introduction of Lucy’s Law in England?

It is worth noting that in previous years representatives from the NFU have spoken in favour of large-scale puppy farmers being granted licences despite our evidence showing that the welfare of the dogs involved would be compromised. Again, and with all due respect, why has the Minister not reached out to those who have the best interest of companion animals – dogs (and cats) at heart – and who are experts in the area of puppy farming and puppy dealing; Those who have worked tirelessly for over a decade at the coalface of the problem and know intimately how and where the system can be improved to ensure not only dogs (and cats) are at the heart of any ‘welfare’ strategy, but that Councils are able to fulfil their duties in terms of licensing and enforcement, and the public are protected? Surely collaboration is key to any such success?

Our concerns about the suitability of advice from this group have not been allayed having read the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Implementation Plan 2019-20 where effectively just one page was devoted to a top line summary on ‘Dog Breeding/Third Party Sales in a document that is 34 pages long and is predominantly focussed on issues pertaining to livestock – e.g. cows, sheep, pigs and chickens, disease prevention and biosecurity.

The Committee will of course be aware that dogs are not livestock, but are domestic companion animals and as such that dog breeding is a complex and specialised area where an understanding of genetics and health testing is now playing a significant role in determining the health of breeding dogs and their progeny, as is the psychological health of breeding dogs in passing on a temperament that is suited to living in a family environment. It is just one of many reasons why dogs are not suitable to be ‘farmed’. Equally it is disappointing that the focus on this small excerpt of the 2019-20 plan remains on the puppies and not on the welfare of the breeding dogs themselves. Even when these adult dogs are acknowledged with “appropriate retirement of breeding bitches” there is a failure to mention stud dogs.

What has become clear over the years is that there is now a very real need for the creation of a separate unit devoted to companion animal welfare issues rather than this being given cursory consideration through a department where the primary objectives are those of farming and agriculture.

In terms of the social media campaign launched by officials in the run up to Christmas, we appreciate the effort that was made to create such a campaign. However, in our opinion the contents fell short of having any significant value to the public and we cannot help feeling that perhaps in a rush to put something out there due to the urgency of the current situation, whoever provided the guidance to the Welsh Government for the content of this online campaign is not well-versed in the area of puppy farming/puppy dealing or how puppy buyers can truly protect themselves from those who are dedicated to profiting from animal suffering. The importance of seeking the best knowledge base for any future campaigns on this subject cannot be stressed enough and we remain at the service of the Welsh Government in that capacity should they wish to create a dialogue with us at any time.

“The Welsh Government will continue to work with key stakeholders, including Local Authorities and the other Administrations to ensure we introduce changes which will have a lasting impact on the welfare standards of dogs and cats bred in Wales.”

To date, C.A.R.I.A.D. – considered to be a key stakeholder in this area in other nations within the United Kingdom has not been consulted or contacted with a view to working with the Welsh Government. Our evidence, however, has been presented to the Task and Finish Group via our Associate Membership of the Companion Animal Welfare Group for Wales.

“Any changes to the legislation or to enforcement must be proportionate and evidence based. Dog breeding is a legitimate business and the majority of breeders meet the required welfare standards.”

It is true that any changes to legislation or enforcement must be evidence based. And that evidence has been provided over many years now. It is indisputable. It is also worth reminding the Minister that at the time of implementation of the 2014 (Breeding of Dog) (Wales) Regulations, a 12-month review of these regulations was promised. This was then pushed back to 2 years. Then 3 years. And now here we are in 2020 and we are expected to remain patient for action to finally be taken. During those wasted years the number of dogs and puppies that have suffered horrendous neglect and exploitation in Wales will never be known, but we do know that they have been and continue to be substantial in number.

“There are approximately 260 licensed breeders in Wales and it would not be appropriate to implement a moratorium which would penalise lawful breeders for the actions of others.”

In conclusion, only in the last sentence of the Minister’s final paragraph is the subject of our e-petition acknowledged. Whilst there may be 260 licensed dog breeders in Wales, the overwhelming number of dogs being bred are coming from licensed puppy farms due to their high-volume nature. The Minister states that to implement a moratorium would penalise lawful breeders for the actions of others. We strongly disagree. It is in fact doing the smaller number of high welfare home breeders a huge disservice to continue licensing new puppy farms, renewing their licences or accepting planning applications from them when to do so under the current broken system only insures the suffering of breeding dogs and puppies to continue on such a large scale. There is a huge difference between a high welfare dog breeder and a high-volume puppy farmer. Continuing to accept puppy farming as in any way comparable to that of high welfare dog breeders is exactly what is penalising those individuals and ensuring that they cannot operate on a level playing field.

Our calls for an embargo are genuine and to put this into context, if a product is found to be faulty and to potentially be harmful, a company issues a recall of that product until it is ‘fit for purpose’. Whilst we in no way compare sentient beings to ‘products’ – despite the fact that in law they continue to be considered commodities – we do believe the similarity of allowing the continuation of a failed licensing system that is proven to cause harm, is a relevant comparison and should not be dismissed.

If statements made by the Minister that the Welsh Government intends to act with urgency in this regard, an immediate embargo should be completely within the scope of acceptable action as it would cause little inconvenience to those breeders who are committed to high welfare standards. Our fear, however, is that despite all statements to the contrary, revised ‘fit for purpose’ regulations including the 3rd party ban on puppy and kitten selling (Lucy’s Law) will not be laid in Wales until just prior to the Welsh Assembly elections in 2021. We and the Welsh public seek assurances to the contrary.

Foster First Covid 19

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT RE FOSTER FIRST AND COVID-19

Firstly, we are immensely grateful to the over 400 people who have been in touch in the last week or so regarding fostering rescue dogs while they are working from home.

Sadly, due to the current lockdown situation, including travel restrictions and social distancing, these very kind offers aren’t able to be accepted at this time by most small rescues. This is because home checks and transportation cannot be arranged. These would normally be done by a network of volunteers. Understandably, precautions must now be in place to ensure that both potential fosterers and rescuers remain safe and unfortunately the resources don’t exist to ensure this can happen.

There are over 100 small rescues on our Foster First site and more joining all the time. And it is small rescues like these and so many others that are the backbone of UK animal welfare. But with fostering not an option at the present time, too many small rescues are now in absolutely desperate situations.

Here’s why:

  • Their volunteers are unable to go out and fundraise in the community now
  • More kennel spaces are having to be paid for to keep dogs (and other animals) safe
  • Most small rescues have rent to pay each month to keep going or face eviction
  • Many now urgently need to buy food for the animals in their care
  • Vets bills continue to be the largest outlay for small rescues

We cannot stress enough that small rescues mostly live a hand to mouth existence at the best of times. But these are the worst of times. Times that none of us ever imagined happening.

Wherever you live in the UK, please we urge you to make a donation to a small local rescue in your community right now. Time is not on their side.

We know that a lot is being asked of us all right now and everyone is having to make difficult decisions. But there are also some small sacrifices that people are having to make as well, like going to the hairdressers, nail bars, restaurants, the cinema, theme parks. It’s just a thought but if you can’t go out to spend money on things like these, you could actually save the life of an animal instead!

Finally, we hope and pray that all of our friends, supporters and followers, rescues and their teams stay safe and well during these frightening times. We must all stay strong for our animal friends who need us to continue to be their voices for a long time to come. Thank you.

www.fosterfirst.co.uk

Petition Handover Sendedd

PETITION HANDOVER AT THE SENEDD

Today, we had great cross-party support as we formally handed over our petition to representatives of the Petitions Committee. We were joined by Eileen Jones, founder of Friends of Animals Wales and Assembly Members who stopped by to show their support.

Our response to the Welsh Government will shortly be posted to the Petitions Committee page.

If you would like to support our ongoing vital work, please visit our DONATE page.

C.A.R.I.A.D. – For dogs. Not for profit.

Happy New Year

2019 REVIEW – HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM C.A.R.I.A.D.

As we move into a new year with new challenges ahead, we want to thank you all for your support throughout 2019. To those of you who have and continue to support our work through donations and fundraising, we are so incredibly grateful to you for believing in us.

2019 has been an extraordinary year – a year where our actions have seen genuine results – from contributing to documentaries and TV programmes and helping journalists expose puppy farming and puppy dealing like never before, to providing evidence that has resulted in raids on unscrupulous breeding establishments and exposing dealers trading in misery, to seeing our Foster First programme truly make a difference to the lives of rescue pets and their rescuers. Here are just some of our highlights and achievements throughout 2019.

We began the year with the news that the brilliant actor and passionate animal advocate, Peter Egan, had agreed to become Patron of our organisation. The much-loved and respected actor is passionate about rescue dogs and has five adopted dogs as part of his family. Of his new role with C.A.R.I.A.D. he said: “I have admired and supported the great work C.A.R.I.A.D. have been doing for many years now, so I am both proud and thrilled, in equal measure, to become their Patron.”

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Following extensive campaigning and lobbying, we welcomed the Welsh Government’s launch of the consultation into a third party ban on the selling of puppies and kittens. It was something we had been eagerly awaiting since Lesley Griffiths spoke at our Lucy’s Law For Wales launch event at The Senedd last summer. We were delighted to have secured this consultation alongside the tireless efforts of our Lucy’s Law campaigning colleagues and with the support and assistance of cross party AMs, MPs and Councils across Wales.

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We released our ‘Turning Wales Pink for Lucy’s Law’ film to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those whose spirit, love, passion for dogs and belief in us to help us end puppy farming is what makes it possible for us to keep doing what we do every day. Wales spoke and it called for Lucy’s Law. As part of C.A.R.I.A.D.’s campaign for Lucy’s Law in Wales which included an official presentation at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, a drop-in session for Assembly Members to meet puppy farm survivors, rallies and marches with dogs wearing Welsh flag bandanas, Councils across Wales also made it clear that the cruelty and exploitation of puppy farming had to stop.

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The C.A.R.I.A.D. team had a very busy and productive weekend in July putting together the first batch of Foster First leaflets and poster packs for smaller rescues to help them attract more fosterers in their local communities. Even little Alice bichon lent a paw to help her fur friends! Foster First was launched just before Christmas last year and thanks to the exceptional dedication and compassion of Ana Cossart, our Foster First Co-Ordinator, Foster First has had an exceptional first year.

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We launched our SIT-STAY-LEAVE-WAIT campaign, which consisted of four posters for people to share and download to help to make a difference in their local communities. We felt we couldn’t just rely on messages being seen purely on social media, so we encouraged people to distribute in their high streets, supermarket car parks, vets, dog groomers and other highly visible areas.

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After 10 years of hard graft, fighting the exploitation of breeding dogs and puppies, supporting the work of rescues and being part of a team that has changed the law to stop puppy dealing in England with #LucysLaw (hopefully soon in Wales and Scotland too!) our tiny organisation has never stopped trying to make a difference for dog welfare. In all that time it never occurred to us that we would actually be acknowledged for our work with an award! But we were overwhelmed to have been voted ‘Dog Protection Charity of the Year 2019 – UK’ in the Pet Product and Services Awards by LUXlife Magazine.

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In July, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths confirmed third party sales of puppies and kittens are set to be banned in Wales after a consultation showed overwhelming public support. The announcement put Wales in line with England where Lucy’s Law will be fully implemented in April 2020. The introduction of Lucy’s Law in England and Wales is a result of years of campaigning led by Pup Aid, C.A.R.I.A.D. and Canine Action UK. C.A.R.I.A.D. led the campaign in Wales. At the time of writing, an implementation date has not been confirmed.

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C.A.R.I.A.D. attended an historic meeting in Scotland where it was confirmed that third party sales of puppies and kittens (Lucy’s Law) are set to be banned in Scotland. This meant our Lucy’s Law campaign team had secured a third party ban in England, Wales and Scotland. Our thanks went to Mairi Gougeon MSP, Scottish SPCA, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and all those who supported our LucysLaw4Scotland campaign.

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Following the BBC One Wales documentary aired in September (which C.A.R.I.A.D. worked on extensively) highlighting the appalling state of the licensed, legal, regulated puppy farming trade in Wales, the failures of the inspection process, the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of Council licensing inspection reports and the often disturbing guidance provided to licensing inspectors (who are not animal welfare experts) by vets on the fitness of dogs to be bred from, we launched our petition calling on the Minister to intervene with immediate effect and instruct all Welsh Councils to embargo any further licensing, licensing renewal and planning applications relating to dog breeding until such time as there has been a full inquiry into these failures.

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C.A.R.I.A.D. founder Linda Goodman was presented with the People’s Postcode Lottery Local Hero Award at the Animal Hero Awards on Monday, 30th September. Here’s what Linda had to say: “It was extremely humbling to receive this amazing Animal Hero Award on Monday night and huge thanks to the People’s Postcode Lottery for sponsoring my Local Hero award. It was also a huge thrill to be presented with my award by the wonderful Paul O’Grady. The atmosphere at the awards was quite extraordinary, so warm and genuine and in some cases deeply moving. The hosts were superb as was the delicious vegan menu. And it was just brilliant to be sitting around a table of people I love and respect.”

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With the help of Wales Online we exposed the shocking slaughter of puppy farm dogs. Throughout 2019, C.A.R.I.A.D. researched why dogs were being systematically killed by certain puppy farmers in Wales without any apparent way to stop them. With the current broken licensing system about to be reviewed by the Cabinet Secretary, there has never been a better opportunity to stop this slaughter of the innocents. We called on the Welsh Government to take action as a matter of urgency.

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Our friends at Dogs Today Magazine wrote a super article on how our Foster First initiative is helping victims of domestic violence. We launched Foster First for a number of reasons, what we didn’t anticipate when we launched our initiative was that it would prove to be a lifeline for victims of domestic violence and their pets. Escaping domestic violence can be difficult. Trying to do so with a beloved pet is even harder, but there are people out there ready to help. Our sincere thanks go to our friends at Dogs Today magazine for supporting our work and that of the many animal heroes who work tirelessly to help victims of domestic violence and their beloved pets.

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In November we celebrated our Foster First anniversary. Thanks to a dedicated network of over 100 smaller rescues around the UK and a fantastic number of caring individuals and families who have opened their hearts and their homes to rescue pets in need, we were able to help save over 225 rescue pets including dogs, cats, cockerels and hens. We also helped and supported 42 victims of domestic violence in finding them somewhere safe for their animals to stay for a while. And ofcourse we couldn’t have done it without YOU! The overwhelmingly kind and caring members of the public who opened your hearts and homes to rescue pets in need. So, to all 378+ members of the public who joined our foster carer list this year, we THANK you from the bottom of our hearts.

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In addition to our collaboration on the BBC documentary, we worked extensively with Times journalist Mark Edmonds on an excellent piece for the Times Magazine. Mark Edmonds headed to Wales to investigate licensed puppy farming and with our help was able to further expose the failings of a broken licensing system and how dogs were still suffering in these licensed premises. A number of these premises have since had their licences revoked.

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Throughout December we ran our ‘Make a Difference December’ advent calendar where we celebrated and supported the work of smaller rescues. Rescues that are there for animals in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week no matter the cost or personal sacrifice, and who so often go the extra mile (sometimes hundreds of miles) to find fosterers, adopters or safe havens in cases of domestic violence. Rescues that save pound dogs on death row when their 7 days are up. Rescues that don’t turn dogs away because they don’t ‘fit their brand’s criteria’. Rescues that never turn dogs in need away because they’re too old, or because they need expensive veterinary treatment, or because they’re not a popular breed. Rescues that have volunteers frantically fundraising for them on the streets or at events in their spare time. Rescues who are the backbone of the nation’s rescue system.

There is still a lot of work for C.A.R.I.A.D. to do and there are still many who will do whatever they can to oppose our aims in order to protect their financial interests. We’ve learned never to underestimate the lengths some people will go to. Fortunately, we’ve learned over the years who we can trust to genuinely have the best interests of animals at heart.

2020 will see more campaigning, educating, lobbying, events and no doubt more exposing of those who continue to consider animals as commodities and not sentient beings. But we are more than up for this challenge. And we have more initiatives to bring to the table in an attempt to find solutions to problems, not band aids that maintain the status quo. Our first big initiative, Foster First is gaining momentum by the day and we’re thrilled to say that people are coming forward to become fosterers and more rescue and rehoming organisations are getting involved every day – not just for dogs, but also cats, rabbits and even ex-battery farmed chickens and other animals. And we want to say a special thank you to Ana Cossart Hall for not only embracing #FosterFirst and running with it so brilliantly and with such enthusiasm, but for being such an amazing fosterer herself.

If you would like to join or support our Foster First programme, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

C.A.R.I.A.D. is a not-for-profit organisation that relies solely on the generosity of the public to continue with our vital work. So if you too believe Care And Respect Includes All Dogs then please consider donating or sponsoring us.

We wish everyone and their animal friends a happy, safe and peaceful 2020.

With love from Linda, Sue and Ana xxx

Foster First Family

TODAY WE CELEBRATE OUR FOSTER FIRST FAMILY

C.A.R.I.A.D. ‘MAKE A DIFFERENCE DECEMBER’ ADVENT CALENDAR

Today, we celebrate and support the work of all the rescues who are part of our Foster First programme – our Foster First Family.

Rescues that are there for animals in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week no matter the cost or personal sacrifice, and who so often go the extra mile (sometimes hundreds of miles) to find fosterers, adopters or safe havens in cases of domestic violence. Rescues that save pound dogs on death row when their 7 days are up. Rescues that don’t turn dogs away because they don’t ‘fit their brand’s criteria’. Rescues that never turn dogs in need away because they’re too old, or because they need expensive veterinary treatment, or because they’re not a popular breed. Rescues that have volunteers frantically fundraising for them on the streets or at events in their spare time (not to be confused with the people you often see manning stands who are just paid professionals posing as representatives of large, wealthy charities).

These rescues, these wonderful, generous-spirited human beings have become our family, our friends, our heroes and our inspiration to do even more for rescues who may not be household names but who are the backbone of the nation’s rescue system. Please, as an animal lover, whenever you’re considering making a donation because you really want to make a difference, look at the smaller rescues who won’t just see you as a number, but who will value you as a guardian angel for the dogs, cats and other animals they put first.

On behalf of all our Foster First family, thank you. Together we want to continue to make an even bigger difference for animals in need in 2020 so please keep following the Foster First and C.A.R.I.A.D. social media channels and websites to keep updated.

For details of all our Foster First rescues, please visit our Foster First website at the link below:

www.fosterfirst.co.uk/rescues-needing-fosterers/