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6 July 2012
The Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) has released an update report on dog breeding issues. Working with a small group of stakeholders including the British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, Kennel Club and RSPCA, this report looks at what has been done since the first APGAW report in late 2009 and the airing of Pedigree Dogs Exposed (2008) and Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On (2012).
Welcoming the report, BVA Past president Harvey Locke said:
"The BVA fully endorses the recommendations and practical solutions offered by this timely report."
Mr Locke drew attention to a number of points in the report's action plan including:
- APGAW's call for long-term funding and granting of regulatory powers to the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding
- seeking to remove any ambiguity in the language used within the Kennel Club's breed standards
- giving consideration to the meaning of 'fit for function' in the breed standards
- confirming the introduction of compulsory microchipping as the most effective means of permanent identification
- calling for the tightening up of dog breeding legislation in England (Northern Ireland and Wales have been taking the lead in introducing legislation)
- dog-breeding licensing requirement should be reduced to three or more litters
- pressing for animal welfare to be part of the core curriculum in schools
- all stakeholders should ensure that consistent key messages are delivered in education programmes
- Defra codes of practice should be updated to include breeding issues relating to hereditary disease and exaggerated features
- recognition of the value of a puppy contract
Mr Locke added:
"I am pleased that the APGAW report recognises the vital role that education plays in tackling irresponsible dog ownership and would very much like to see the inclusion of animal welfare as part of the core curriculum.
"I am also delighted that the group recognises the value of a puppy contract. The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation and RSPCA have recently launched a puppy contract and puppy information pack (PIP) which arms buyers with the knowledge to give themselves the best chance of getting a fit, healthy and happy, well socialised pet to join their household. The contract and PIP have also been designed to help good breeders demonstrate the care and attention they have devoted to their puppies' breeding and upbringing.
"Much work has already been undertaken to improve dog breeding but there is much more to be done and the momentum must not be lost. I am most grateful to Neil Parish MP, chairman of APGAW, for his commitment to producing this report. It is an excellent means of keeping the issue high on the agenda by encouraging wider dialogue and debate within Parliament and in the EU."