The beautiful countryside setting of Stanmer House and Gardens rocked to the sound of top local bands and a chorus of woofs ‘n’ barks last month, as this year’s PUP AID boutique music festival and fun dog show bow-wow-wowed dog-friendly Brighton.
Over a thousand people – and their dogs – attended the inaugural event, organised by TV Vet and Kennel Club veterinary advisor Marc Abraham, to mark Puppy Farming Awareness Day.
Visitors were given information about buying from a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder or rescue centre and were told about the suffering caused to puppies and their parents by puppy farming – the cruel battery farming of dogs purely for profit.
The celebrity-judged fun dog show, which raised money for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, was MC’d by Annabel Giles (pictured), and included classes from the Kennel Club’s popular Scruffts competition for crossbreeds such as the ‘Handsomest Dog’ and ‘Golden Oldie’.
Winners from the Scruffts heats go through to the Discover Dogs grand final at Earl’s Court in November. Pedigree classes included ‘Most Glamorous 6 Legs’ and ‘Best Doggy Stand-up’ – all judged by a veritable constellation of dog-loving TV and radio stars.
Familiar faces included actors from Monty Python, EastEnders, Midsomer Murders and The Bill, as well as designers, fashionistas, and even Brighton’s top stand-up comedians – although the true stars of the day were undoubtedly all canine.
Meg Mathews (third from left), fellow ‘Most Glamorous 6 Legs’ judges and MC Annabel Giles (front right with microphone). Pic: Julia Claxton.
Top London designer ex-Mrs Noel Gallagher, Meg Mathews (pictured), praised the event saying “Congratulations for a truly wonderful day. Everyone I met at PUP AID was great and the rescue dog people so passionate. Good cause and a job done. Massive pat on the back and I’m glad I could be part of it.”
Vet Marc Abraham, who is also currently the resident vet on BBC Breakfast News, ITV’s This Morning and Sky1’s My Pet Shame, said: “I am thrilled with how the event went. There are so many people out there, including dog-owners, who have no clue about the sheer scale of the puppy farming problem in the UK and this event helped to spread some much needed awareness.
“Laws and organisations are consistently unsuccessful at curbing this horrific practice so I guess the only way is to stop the demand for these farmed pups.
“We wanted everybody to go away with the knowledge that they should always insist on seeing the mother with her pups in their breeding environment, and that they should go to a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder or rescue centre rather than buying from a pet shop or from a breeder of unknown credentials, advertising online or in the classified section of the paper.
“I would strongly advise other vets and pet-lovers to consider organising similar events, as the more public awareness that we raise in the UK, the quicker this growing problem is finally dealt with.”
Playing all day on the main stage were some great local and national bands and musicians including active puppy farm campaigner Maria Daines, urban breakthrough act RizzleKicks, London based indie-blues band April in the Shade and Call Me Laura who stopped-over in Brighton to play PUP AID, between singing with Tom Jones in gigs in Moscow and New York!
PUP AID 2010 was proudly supported by numerous charities including the Dogs Trust Shoreham who brought along their re-homing van and The Mayhew Animal Home in London.
The UK’s two puppy farm campaign groups Be Puppy Farm Aware, and Stop Puppy Farming End Cruelty brought along rescued ex-breeding bitches for a moving parade that formed the centrepiece of this unique day and which quite justifiably didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.
The Bill’s DCI Burnside aka actor Chris Ellison. Pic: Julia Claxton.
As well as the fun dog show, the public and their four legged friends were also kept entertained by have-a-go agility, fairground rides, a boutique doggy shopping village, canine portrait painters and caricatures, the amazing Canine Partners Demonstration Team, as well as a rare spaniel breeds parade that included both the Irish Water Spaniel and, of course, the very locally originated Sussex Spaniel.
Guests were also treated to view the now-famous PUP AID Guitar – a classic Epiphone Casino kindly donated by Gibson Guitars, London to launch the event and now signed by dog-loving rock legends including Liam Gallagher, David Gilmour, Paul Weller, Mick Jones and Gary Moore; and going under the hammer at the prestigious Bonhams Auctioneers in Knightsbridge in December to raise money for Dogs Trust, Oldies Club and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
PUP AID 2010 was a great success all round and especially for canine welfare, managing to raise much-needed awareness of the growing problem of puppy farming in the UK and beyond, and plans are already in place for a bigger and better PUP AID next year.
To see photos of the event check out photographer Julia Claxton’s fantastic pics from the day here, where you can order photos and a proportion of money will go to Dogs Trust.
For details of the signed guitar auction, or to get involved in next year’s PUP AID then watch this space!!
And on a personal note, I really can’t thank enough everyone who attended this year’s PUP AID. From stall-holders, volunteers, celebs, public with their dogs, KC, Dogs Trust, and of course all the other organisers, and everyone else involved – you’re all fab and see you next year for PUP AID 2011… x