Show Me The Bunny

Last week I was upset to learn that BBC Radio 5 Live were promoting greyhound racing as “a great, fun night out”. Not only this, but Fighting Talk presenter Colin Murray has “adopted” a racing greyhound which the show is encouraging its listeners to bet on & providing live radio coverage of this dog’s races. The dog is called Showme Thebunny.

BBC presenter Colin Murray posing in front of greyhound traps on the Fighting Talk homepage

After listening to the show’s 19th August broadcast I felt utterly disgusted by the BBC’s treatment of this subject & their unashamed promotion of the greyhound racing industry. Having never previously complained to the BBC, I felt compelled to make my voice, & that of all the thousands of greyhounds whose lives are exploited by the industry, heard.

Here is the complaint which I submitted to the BBC via their complaints site on 9/9/11:

I am thoroughly disgusted that the BBC is endorsing the greyhound racing industry. Listening to Radio 5 Live’s Friday 19th August 7 o’clock evening broadcast, I was appalled to hear this cruel ‘sport’ referred to by presenter Colin Murray as “a great fun night out” before introducing his listeners to the greyhound they had “adopted”. I have 2 adopted greyhounds myself – adopted from greyhound rescue charities after they were cast aside by the racing industry having served their purpose. Greyhounds have a lifespan of approximately 12 years, & yet most racing greyhounds’ ‘careers’ are over by the time they are just 3 years old. These dogs are vastly overbred & many are disposed of as puppies when they fail to show sufficient interest in chasing a mechanical hare along a track. For the BBC to inform its listeners that they had “adopted” a greyhound makes a mockery of the many rescue charities that work both within the UK & worldwide to rescue, rehabilitate & rehome these unwanted (often neglected & abused) dogs when they no longer run fast enough, & causes me deep offence.

To listen to the presenters mock ‘ShowMe TheBunny’ as she got “bumped” at the first corner, a corner which for so many greyhounds is the last one they ever turn (tracks being purposefully engineered so that dogs are likely to injure themselves & fall whilst attempting to catch the lure), was sickening. Dogs who are injured at racing tracks are frequently euthanised when owners/trainers decide an injury is not worth treating because it will render the dog unable to race competitively – this often includes minor injurieswhich are easily treated & would have no longterm impact on the dog outside the world of racing. A

At the end of the broadcast, thanks were given “Owlerton Stadium & everyone with the greyhound association” – I wonder how many of your presenters/producers or indeed listeners were aware that Owlerton is one of the most dangerous greyhound tracks in Britain & its trainers are renowned for feeding their dogs class A drugs? Interesting how there was no mention of that on your program. Informing listeners that the light hearted, rose-tinted view which is being presented “is real dog racing” is not only misleading but false. I ask that the BBC not only withdraw their coverage of greyhound racing, but that you present your readers with the cold, hard facts about the treatment & fate of these dogs. I can guarantee that no-one will be deluded enough to think it’s “a great fun night out” then.

Needless to say, I have as yet received no response from the BBC.

Now, during the broadcast which I listened to, mention was made of a Twitter account which had been set up in the name of “adopted” dog, Showme TheBunny, with listeners being urged to ‘follow’ this account in order to receive updates of her races: @ShowMe_TheBunny I’m more of a Facebook person myself, but do have a Twitter account (@greyhoundgal) & thought I would go take a look. & thank goodness that I did…

About a year ago I posted some hand printed pet portraits I had been working on here on my blog, including this commission (sold via my Folksy shop back in July 2010) of retired greyhound, Bomber, chasing a football along with the tongue-in-cheek caption ‘show me the bunny’:

original photograph of Bomber & resulting hand printed image on ladies hoodie

Imagine my horror when I discovered my hand printed image was being used as an avatar/logo for Showme Thebunny’s Twitter account?! No credit whatsoever  is given to me as the artist. What I am most distressed about, however, is the fact that my art actively promotes greyhound rescue & by using my (easily recognisable) image they BBC have associated both it & me with the greyhound racing industry & their show’s irresponsible attitude towards it!

screenshot of @ShowMe_TheBunny’s Twitter page showing my image being used as the avatar

I immediately submitted a copyright infringement report to Twitter & composed my second letter of complaint to the BBC in so many hours:

I am writing to ask that you remove my image from Radio 5 Live’s twitter account @ShowMe_TheBunny immediately.

The image which you are displaying as @ShowMe_TheBunny’s avatar is my original design (see http://www.folksy.com/items/678909-Custom-greyhound-hoodie-treats-pouches-RESERVED-for-Holly) & your use constitutes an infringement of copyright. My work is protected under law & this constitutes a breach of my legal rights. This is unacceptable & must stop.

Furthermore, in view of the facts that my business actively promotes greyhound rescue & by using my (easily recognisable) image you have associated both it & me with the greyhound racing industry & your show’s irresponsible attitude towards it,  I demand an apology. I am seeking legal advice & this case will be pursued if you do not comply with my request.

As well as submitting this through the BBC’s formal complaint site, I have also emailed it directly to Colin Murray via fightingtalk@bbc.co.uk & 5live@bbc.co.uk with copies forwarded to watchdog@bbc.co.uk, strobes@private-eye.co.uk & sarah.jones@bbc.co.uk. I am still waiting for a response & my image remains on public display on their Twitter page.

& what was the reaction of  the customer who originally commissioned this print when I told them how the image was being used by the BBC?

I would HATE any image of my beautiful boy to be promoting something which treated him and his companion like a disposable bit of consumerism.

If you are even half as appalled by all this is I am, please show your support by

My hope is that in some way the BBC’s careless use of my image can be used to create (more) adverse publicity against their irresponsible coverage & endorsement of greyhound racing. This is an opportunity to educate both the BBC’s staff &  its listeners about the harsh realities of what goes on in the industry, so please, please consider taking action.

17 Responses to “Show Me The Bunny”


  • I am pleased to report a small victory: This evening the BBC removed my image from the Twitter page @ShowMe_TheBunny & replaced it with the Radio 5 Live logo. Hopefully this is just the first step towards winning this battle…

  • thanks for drawing attention to this and making the complaints, yes i agree, hopefully the BBC will see sense and stop this dog racing promotion. Still can’t believe they used one of your lovely designs on twitter, total lack of respect!

  • Wow, you’d think a big organization like the BBC would know better than to steal photos! Good for you that you’re fighting back and happy to hear they’ve removed the image. Now let’s hope they change their stance on the whole racing issue! (my parents adopted two retired greyhounds and they’re the best dogs ever!)

  • I’ve posted the link to this article on my twitter.
    Glad to hear the BBC has removed your image now

    x

  • I am a volunteer for a Norfolk greyhound charity. And I am saddened to see that the BBC would promote dog racing as a ‘fun night out’….. what the BBC need to do, is a programme showing the public the horrendous treatment that some of the these dogs receive. And just how many are bred and the ten’s of thousands that are destroyed each and every year ! People ~ for every greyhound you see, on the track or rescued, there are 1,000 dead ones !! think about that at your good nite out folkes !

  • Grehounds for Fun not Racing!

    This is not the first time the BBC have promoted greyhound racing Some of their representatives should be made to go and see some of the greyhounds after a dog race especially those who have broken hocks, torn shoulders and other horrific injuries I am currently the adopter of my 4th and 5th rescued greyhounds who were dumped after their last race obviously no longer coming 1st as they used No longer making their owners any money so discarded like an old coat! Radio 5 Live is no longer tuned in to my radio
    We need to campaign to get Owlerton closed as have so many other race tracks!

  • Yesterday I listened to one of Colin Murrays shows on my laptop. Dara NObrain was there and a liverpudlian comedian called John Bishops who made derogatory comments about his children, as usual, and couple of other morons. Their talk was, for me, a perfect example of men who haven’t grown up, who are cynical and appear to be ruled by needing to prove what ‘men’ they are. They are football crazy, football mad and it has robbed them of the wee bit of sense they ever had!
    This business of promoting greyhound racing, in which thousands and thousands of greyhounds have been sacrificed, treated as objects, had terrible cruelties inflicted upon them, is deeply and horribly sad.
    The BBC show that they have no interest in giving the public the full picture on many issues. They demonstrate their biased attitude often. Not just in this case but, for example, when they tell us about spokepersons for the Israeli Govs position with regard to the Palestinian issue, they don’t give voice to the Israelis who are against the expansion of Israel into Palestinian lands etc.
    To use anothers property, just because they believe they can, without a care as to the ownership of this persons logo, shows their insensitivity. I am very happy to hear that this has now been dealt with.
    As for Colin Murray, he is a loudmouthed ignoramus who is wilfully encouraging a horrific and totally inhumane money making industry and to describe this death industry as a ‘fun night out’ shows his lack of being able to look into greyhound racing and be properly informed.

  • I’m so pleased you’ve been able to get them to remove your image – what a horrible thing to happen.

  • Well, I have shared this with as many of my Greyhound friends as possible – even the ones in the US! I can’t believe that you have not had a response from the BBC! Hopefully, if as many of us as possible bombard them with the true facts about racing, they will start to take notice! Ripper (my Grey) and I are supporting you fully and wish you well. Actually, Ripper said ‘aroooooo’, but I know what he meant!

  • As a volunteer for a US adoption group, and a member of the Board of Directors for GREY2K USA, I am appalled at the ongoing promotion of greyhound racing by the BBC and have forwarded your article to all of the greyhound advocates I know. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will file a complaint with the BBC also, but being from the US, I imagine it won’t carry as much weight as those from the UK.
    Meanwhile, congratulations on your victory with your image, at least.

  • this is horrible! I have complained to the BBC and twitted to “ShowMeTheBunny”. They should be ashamed of their selves. I always thought that the BBC was a respectable chain.

    I wish you success and that all of this stops!

    greetings from California,
    Karla

  • I’ve emailed the BBC and phoned them too. I didn’t this last week, no reply as yet. Shame on them! I will be watching this one with interest.

  • More power to you, Jane, for standing up and fighting this. I am appalled. What a perverted use of the word ‘adoption. I’ll be tweeting!

  • Hi – I have emailed a complaint to all the email addresses and to Points of View pov@bbc.co.uk – if you want to get the BBC’s attention – suggest you mention your objection to licence payer money being spent endorsing the sport – Laura

  • Hi fellow EFA member. I’m glad you were able to protect your artwork.

  • Hi, absolutely horrified for you that your image was used without permission AND for something you are so opposed to. It would be like one of my photographs of a rescue dog, being used without my permission, to promote puppy farming or some other dreadful practice :(

    Really sorry that this happened – and appalled at the BBC. I hope all is resolved to your complete satisfaction.

    Angela

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