Abbott’s dog fights puppy farming

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 19 Februari 2015 | 20.01

Challenge ... Tony Abbott's dog challenges the Prime Minister's popularity in a new campaign against puppy farming. Picture: YouTube. Source: YouTube

IT may look like your run-of-the mill political social media campaign, but unlike the usual convention of using a human spokesman to spearhead the movement in question, this one is lead by … a dog.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's dog, to be more precise. Her name is Maisie Abbott, and her mission in life is to speak out against the horrible abuses suffered by her kind at the hands of puppy farms.

And she is taking advantage of her master's plunge in popularity to do it.

Or so says Oscar's Law, an animal welfare group that aims to abolish factory farming, which has launched an anti-puppy campaign with a difference — trying to make the prime minister's dog more popular than the prime minister himself.

Bizarre ... A new campaign against puppy farming, featuring Prime Minister Tony Abbott's dog, has been launched. Picture: YouTube. Source: YouTube

"The Maisie Abbott campaign really appealed to me because I knew it would reach a certain audience — an audience that we haven't reached yet maybe," Oscar's Law founder and spokeswoman, Debra Tranter, told News Corp Australia.

"I know that a lot of the graphic photos of the farms don't always work — they disengage some people, and make them feel hopeless and disempowered".

"I don't want to make people feel like that — so this is a fun and political way to reach out," she said.

Like Mr Abbott, Maisie has a Twitter (@maisie—abbott) account, which boasts almost 2000 followers.

She tweets regularly, and appears to like poking fun at Mr Abbott, often using his presence to highlight certain puppy farming issues.

She even has a video: in her "prime ministerial" address to the nation, Maisie discusses her difficulties in persuading Mr Abbott to listen to her pleas to save her friends.

Speaking to the tune of the Australian national anthem, Maicie introduces herself: "Hi, I'm Maisie, Tony Abbott's pet dog, and I'm on a mission to get Tony to end puppy factories," she begins.

"So far, all my attempts to get Tony's attention have failed (insert picture of a poo) — but if there's one thing that Tony takes notice off, it's his popularity.

"So I'm launching a social media campaign to see if I can get more followers than him.

"It's Maisie versus Tony".

The social media campaign also includes a Facebook page, which has 4740 'likes'.

The campaign is the brainchild of advertising agency Droga5, who decided to pitch their idea directly to Ms Tranter.

Executive director of Droga5, Steve Coll, said the idea of humour may seem "at odds" with the seriousness of the issue, but that it "felt very Australian".

"The notion that the most important man in the country could be upstaged by his dog was sure to get Tony Abbott's attention," Mr Coll told News Corp Australia.

"And animal welfare is such an important issue, especially in light of the greyhound controversy."

Horror ... Maisie Abbott educated people about puppy farms in campaign video. Picture: YouTube. Source: YouTube

Ms Tranter said she hoped the campaign would bring the issue to the attention of federal ministers, "even though I know it is a state issue".

"The federal government can influence the policy in this field," she said.

The campaign video — which was launched the Friday before the federal spill vote against Mr Abbott — comes just before the shocking revelations of using piglets, possums and rabbits as live bait within the greyhound racing industry, aired on ABC's Four Corners earlier this week.

Since then an inquiry has been launched into the practices of the industry, resulting in 10 people in NSW, including eight trainers, standing down, and potentially facing charges over allegations they were involved in "blooding" greyhounds.

A further six people are under investigation.

As to whether Maisie will indeed supersede her famous master, it only remains to be seen.

So far, Mr Abbott has more than 449,000 followers on Twitter — Maisie certainly has her work cut out for her.


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