An interview with World Animal Day Ambassador, Ryan O'Meara (UK)

Ryan O’Meara is a World Animal Day veteran with 2020 being his 12th year as a UK Ambassador. You’d do well to find someone who knows pooches better than Ryan; he’s a former pro dog trainer and runs K9 Magazine and adoption website

What is the biggest challenge that you face in your line of work?

“Educating the small percentage of people who keep irresponsible dog breeders in business.

It’s very difficult to end puppy farming and bad dog breeding while people are handing money over to the industry, either through lack of knowledge or concern for the long-term suffering caused by their actions.”

How does the celebration of World Animal Day help your cause?

“By shining a light on irresponsible dog breeding. If just one person changes their thinking, that's enough to make it worthwhile.”

How can the public help you?

“Spread the message about irresponsible dog breeding. Sometimes people may hear that legislation has been introduced, or is on the way, and this gives the impression that a problem is solved.

The problem will only ever be solved by people changing the way they acquire dogs. Bad dog breeders are not always lawbreakers (i.e. people who breed unhealthy dogs because there is a demand for a particular 'look').

So it's really about helping people to understand that suffering continues unless we reward the ethical and shun the irresponsible. This has to be via a non-preachy, helpful line of communication.”

How have you celebrated World Animal Day in previous years?

“By highlighting (extra loud!) the causes that mean the most to us.”

Has COVID-19 changed the way you work?

“Dog rescues in the UK have been badly affected by COVID-19. There is likely to be a serious uptick in the number of dogs surrendered to shelters in the coming years because of unethical breeders too.”

How do you plan to celebrate World Animal Day this year?

“Same as always. By using the day to bring awareness to the plight of dogs produced by irresponsible breeders and trying to help people understand how they can help.”

What’s your favourite thing about World Animal Day?