10 Downing Street's response

A little while ago we asked you to sign our petition calling on the Government to legislate to encourage the KC to reform.

Here was the wording and the background info:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to introduce legislation to reform the Kennel Club.

Following the powerful Pedigree Dogs Exposed documentary on BBC1 the Kennel Club still seems reluctant to grasp the nettle, face the problems and reform itself. The program revealed it urgently needs to bring in mandatory minimum standards on levels of inbreeding, make health testing mandatory, prevent unhealthy physical exaggerations being rewarded and stop the culling of healthy non-standard pups by changing breed standards. The KC continually complains that it lacks the backing of legislation to bring in these urgent and much needed reforms, so we the undersigned urge the Prime Minister please instigate legislation to ensure pedigree dogs are saved from unnecessary future suffering.

An impressive 2,355 people responded.

Here's the response from Number 10, I have to say it does not make my heart leap with excitement. DNA tests are not exactly new, nor will they cure all the ills. Let's just hope the two reviews look a little bit deeper!

Read the Government’s response

The Animal Welfare Act 2006, which came into force in 2007, means that we now have the power to make regulations to protect the offspring of vertebrate animals.

The various genetic problems suffered by pedigree dogs have long been recognised by the veterinary profession and the Government. We welcome the work being done by organisations such as the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association to address these problems. We also welcome the work being done by the Companion Animal Welfare Council to bring together expert opinion on the nature of these problems and how they should be addressed.

We are also aware that advances have been made by geneticists in developing DNA based tests for some conditions. This provides breeders with the opportunity to breed responsibly and to improve the welfare of future offspring.

The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, which amended and extended the provisions of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991, already provides protection for dogs used in breeding establishments. Under this legislation, any person who keeps a breeding establishment for dogs at any premises and carries on at those premises a business of breeding dogs for sale must obtain a licence from the local authority. Those people who are not in the business of breeding dogs for sale, so called “hobby breeders”, and produce less than five litters in any period of 12 months, do not need to obtain a licence.

The local authority has the discretion whether to grant a licence and, before doing so, must satisfy itself that the animals are provided with suitable accommodation, food, water and bedding material; are adequately exercised and visited at suitable intervals; and that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent and control the spread of diseases amongst dogs. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation. In addition to ensuring that dogs are kept in suitable accommodation, the law also places limits on the frequency and timing of breeding from a bitch. Bitches cannot be mated before they are a year old, must have no more than six litters in a lifetime, and can only have one litter every 12 months. Breeding records must be kept to ensure that these requirements are adhered to. Puppies that are produced at licensed breeding establishments can only be sold at those premises or a licensed pet shop.

There are those who consider that the law on the breeding and selling of dogs should be amended because they believe that it is too difficult to enforce. However, there are currently two independent reviews of pedigree dog breeding taking place. One is a joint review by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, and the other is being carried out by the Associate Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare. Both inquiries, which have indicated that they will co-operate with each other, are likely to report towards the end of 2009. It is therefore appropriate to wait until the two reviews have reported before considering whether the law on dog breeding needs to be amended.


Anonymous said…
sounds very sensible to me. not sure what more they could have said at this point.
jo siemieniowski said…
was,nt over the moon, I think they could do more, I dont think they fully understand what is needed.
carolanne said…
Well I wouldn't hold my breath. If anyone saw the channel 5 report on the licensed PFs in Carmarthenshire the conditions exposed at those establishments and how their bitches are kept, is deplorable. Kept cramped, in the dark, no constant clean water, food strewn over the floor, and bitches with puppies laying on bare concrete floors, if their lucky some had sawdust thrown down, and maybe an empty plastic bed. How were they meeting the 5 basic needs of any companion animal. Dogs circling or bouncing of the walls, where are the qualified vets checking thses establishments, not just council inspectors that have done the course work

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