ITV has responded to criticisms from the veterinary profession that Monday’s show was “irresponsible and misleading” and subject to “creative editing”.
Other comments collated by Veterinary Times reporter Emma Cooper included criticism that the viewer did not see any of the undercover consultations, that practitioners were treated unfairly in being presented by healthy animals, and that the show strongly plugged online ordering without outlining the risks of ordering pet drugs from the internet.
An ITV spokesman said: “We strongly refute any suggestion that this programme was irresponsible or misleading.
“The programme highlighted an existing concern among some vets and pet owners, that there can be a wide disparity between the prices charged by vets for some treatments recommended by them, and that some vets are seeking to profit by recommending unnecessary treatments.
“Although there was an undercover element in the form of mystery shopping visits, these were not secretly filmed. Ofcom regulations allow secret filming only if there is prima facie evidence of criminal or anti-social behaviour. As we were highlighting the differences in treatment recommendations and prices, covert filming would have been inappropriate under those guidelines, but we firmly believe our undercover reporting was justified in order to investigate the issue of consumer trust between pet owner and vet.
“Marc, himself, says in his statement on the internet that some material did not make the final cut, as in the case with any edited television programme. Furthermore, we would refute any allegation of ‘creative’ editing. As Marc states on his website , our programme did not change the overall message to the viewer.
“We did not ‘strongly plug’ the use of online shops. We reported that using a reputable website is an option that can be cheaper.”
For further details, see next weeks Veterinary Times