The RSPCA has criticised new BBC show Pooch Perfect for placing focus on the ‘aesthetics of grooming’, warning that it’s important not to treat dogs as ‘fashion accessories’.
Pooch Perfect, which is being presented by West End star Sheridan Smith, is a new reality TV competition that sees 16 professional dog groomers go up against each other in a bid to impress judges Colin Taylor, Verity Hardcastle and Bolu Eso.
Ahead of its launch, Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the companion animals department at the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has spoken out about the programme, explaining that often the ‘aesthetics’ of dog grooming is highlighted more than the way grooming can ‘impact a dog’s health’.
In a statement sent to Metro.co.uk, Dr Samantha said that the charity is ‘very pleased that there was a veterinarian and an animal welfare consultant involved early on in the production and present throughout the filming’.
‘This specific expertise is critical in helping safeguard the welfare of animals used in these types of programmes,’ she said.
Dr Samantha explained that grooming is ‘an essential part of responsible dog ownership’, and so the RSPCA is looking forward to information provided within the show that can educate viewers on how grooming ‘can impact on a dog’s health and happiness such as their movement, how easily they can see and breathe, and how they stay cool’.
However, she added that the charity is ‘disappointed that elements’ Pooch Perfect pay particular close attention to the way dogs look.
‘Sadly, the importance of dogs’ appearances has already come at the expense of dog welfare and many breeds now suffer from serious health conditions as a result of the way they’ve been bred to look a certain way,’ she said.
‘It’s important that programmes like this do not further perpetuate the idea that dogs are ours to objectify and treat as toys or fashion accessories.’
In a statement sent to Metro.co.uk, a BBC spokesperson said that ‘throughout the filming of Pooch Perfect, the care and wellbeing of the dogs was of the upmost importance’.
‘On set we had an RSPCA approved Animal Welfare Consultant, a Grooming Consultant, and a Vet, to ensure that we put every precaution in place to keep the dogs safe and well,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Every owner was asked if they were happy for their dogs to have some temporary colour put on them. When colour was used it was kept to a minimum, it washed out almost immediately and was only used in the minority of challenges to demonstrate specific areas of skill and creativity.
‘All the products used were animal safe and temporary and they were used.’
Pooch Perfect begins tonight at 8pm on BBC One.
Credit: Original article published here.