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    • 15 May, 2020

    Lucy’s Law – the story of a little dog who changed the world

    With the launch of his new book, ‘Lucy’s Law: the story of a little dog who changed the world‘, we couldn’t wait to catch up with vet, animal welfare campaigner, supporter of Mayhew and author, Marc Abraham.

    Hi Marc! First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

    Marc: I’m a vet, animal welfare campaigner, and author based in Brighton.

    When did you first come across Mayhew, and why did you decide to support us?

    Marc: I started supporting Mayhew a long time ago now! I think the reason I became first aware of you guys was when I was a TV vet, and you invited me to judge one of your fun dog shows, as well as look around the home. I remember being so impressed with Mayhew’s attitude to animal welfare, as well as hearing about all your important community work including Therapaws, as well as having lots of fun meeting all the dogs and their owners at the fun dog show! Since then I’ve always enjoyed supporting your work, and can’t thank you enough for all you do for animals, as well as for all your support of Lucy’s Law and my campaigning.

    Do you have any pets yourself?

    Marc: Not at the moment as life is just too hectic, but one day I’d like to adopt a rescue greyhound or borzoi.

    We’ve heard you get involved with lots of different animal welfare campaigns in the UK and USA. What drives your interest in this?

    Marc: There’s no better feeling than making a difference for animals, and that can range from running a successful campaign in Westminster to help end puppy farming like Lucy’s Law, to neutering a dog in the Amazon or Mumbai Slums; from speaking at a political rally against puppy mills in the States, to helping close down a dog meat farm in South Korea. Every project and campaign I get involved with, here or abroad, aims to help animals in some way, which from a very young age is the only thing I ever wanted to do.

    Last month saw Lucy’s Law come into effect in England. What is Lucy’s Law and why is it important?

    Marc: Lucy’s Law is a ban on 3rd party commercial puppy and kitten dealers e.g. pet shops, which enable and encourage often large, irresponsible, and low welfare breeding establishments, known as ‘puppy farms’ to keep abused breeding dogs hidden from the public. Lucy’s Law means anyone selling a puppy or kitten must show them interacting with their mum in the place they were born. Named after a brave little rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniel used for breeding on a Welsh puppy farm, Lucy’s Law is the first major step in ending puppy farm cruelty, finally making all dog and cat breeders accountable, providing much-needed buyer transparency, and promoting rescue pet adoption as the only other responsible alternative to choosing a dog or cat.

    You’ve also just published a book about Lucy’s Law and your personal experience with the campaign – can you tell us a bit more about that, and what your readers can expect from the book?

    Marc: Yes ‘Lucy’s Law: The story of a little dog that changed the world was published this spring to tie in with the actual incoming legislation. The book tells the story of two very unlikely candidates for changing the law: young, geeky, nerd Marc who struggled to communicate with humans growing up, and a brave little dog who was kept in a dark puppy farm in the middle of nowhere, and thankfully rescued before being bred to death. When our paths crossed at Pup Aid fun dog show in London – an annual event I started that Mayhew supported since the very beginning of the campaign – Lucy, her owner Lisa, and I began the journey of our lifetimes which culminated in finally changing the law, after a total of over 10 difficult years of campaigning.

    As well as Lucy’s Law, the book is also an example of how grassroots campaigning, with minimal resources and using some of the free tools available e.g. e-petitions, rallies, and meetings with MPs, can actually raise awareness and indeed in this case successfully change the law to protect animals. The book is also an advert for rescue dogs, the importance of fostering, and contains some interesting stories involving some of the UK’s highest profile animal rescue supporting celebrities who, and not a coincidence, are also proud ambassadors of Mayhew, including Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan.

    How about the next steps – is this campaign over now or do you still have more to do?

    Marc: With animal welfare campaigning there’s always more to do. Lucy’s Law is the first step to ending puppy farming, and is only enforceable in England at the moment, although it has now been promised by the Welsh and Scottish governments; however they haven’t yet set their dates of implementation yet, so I’ll be continuing to campaign to help ensure the UK mainland becomes puppy dealer free. Northern Ireland have also started the process of making Lucy’s Law happen there too.

    What have you been up to whilst we’ve been in lockdown? Has the coronavirus pandemic affected your work?

    Marc: Most of my campaigning I can do from home, I just haven’t been able to meet with parliamentarians in Westminster and discuss things face to face as usual. I’ve also been invited to give pet advice for various TV shows, podcasts, and been interviewed about Lucy’s Law for a few online ethical programmes as well. Living on Brighton beach I’ve also been lucky to have been photographing sunsets and swimming in the sea!

    What are you planning to do next?

    Marc: As well as more campaigning I have a few ideas I’m working on at the moment, all about campaigning and/or animal welfare related topics surprise surprise! For updates people can follow me on Twitter @marcthevet, or visit my Facebook page Marc the Vet.

    Finally, what expert advice would you give to someone looking to buy or adopt their first pet?

    Marc: Make sure you have the lifestyle and finances that can look after a dog or cat well. Then do your research into what type of pet, including age, breed, and where you source him or her from. Obviously, I would always recommend checking out your local rescue first, where they also often have puppies and kittens. If you want a pedigree pup or designer crossbreed, and you can’t find what you’re looking for in rescue, then spend time locating a responsible breeder, visit more than once, and always insist on seeing mum interacting with the pup or kitten, in the place he or she was born. If in doubt, or you suspect something isn’t right, or perhaps even illegal, then try and take pics, walk away, and alert the local council ASAP.

    Order your copy of Marc’s book, ‘Lucy’s Law: The story of a little dog that changed the world, today.

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