After a ten month long inquiry, Professor Sir Patrick Bateson FRS called for a non-statutory Advisory Council on Dog Breeding, changes in the law including a requirement for all puppies to be micro-chipped prior to sale, and an up-graded Accredited Breeder Scheme.
Speaking in London today, Prof Bateson (of Cambridge University and President of the Zoological Society of London) said:
“Many breeders exercise high standards of welfare, but negligent management on puppy farms is a major welfare issue as is inbreeding in pure-bred dogs. Fashions for extreme conformations are also a cause of welfare problems.”
Professor Bateson also called for a system to collect data from veterinary practices in order to generate robust prevalence data breed by breed; and for the veterinary profession as a whole to support enforcement authorities, help educate the public, and lead a shift towards a preventative approach to dog health.
The Report concludes that dog-breeding raises a number of serious concerns about the welfare of dogs. Key recommendations include:
· The creation of an independent non-statutory Council to develop breeding strategies which address issues of inherited disease, extreme conformation and inbreeding.
· Changes in the law including requirements for the compulsory micro-chipping of all puppies and a duty of care on all breeders to have regard to the health and welfare of both the parents and the offspring of a mating.
· The need for a robust Accredited Breeder Scheme setting out requirements with regard to pre-mating health tests, purchasers being able to view a puppy with its mother, all puppies micro-chipped before sale etc.
· An urgent need for the creation of a computer-based system for the collection of anonymised diagnoses from veterinary surgeries in order to provide prevalence data for each breed.
· New regulations to replace the now out-dated breeding and sales of dogs legislation, and much better enforcement of good welfare on licensed dog breeding premises.
· A new publicity and education campaign, delivered by all key dog and welfare organisations working together, to encourage a major improvement in how the public go about buying dogs.
- Best scientific research and advice should be available to breeders
- Prospective dog owners should be advised on:
- What constitutes good welfare in dogs
- How to identify the correct dog breed for their circumstances
- How to find a reliable dog breeder
- A non-statutory Independent Advisory Council on Dog Breeding should be established
- The chairman and members of this should be appointed under the Nolan Principles
- Creation of a computer- based system for the collection of anonymous diagnoses from vets in order to provide statistically significant prevalence data for each breed
- Those drafting Breed Standards should avoid the selection for extreme morphologies and should refer to the guidance from the Advisory Council where possible
- Upgrades to the Accredited Breeder scheme should be made (with a written standard to inspect this against) guaranteeing:
- That all pre-mating tests for inherited disease are undertaken for both parents and that no mating should take place if the tests indicate that this would be inadvisable
- That any prospective puppy purchaser is able to view a litter with the breeding bitch
- That every puppy is identified by microchip prior to sale
- That all pre-sale tests on the puppy that are appropriate to the breed have been carried out
- That all breeders have a duty of care to all parent dog and litters with regard to health and welfare
- The Accredited Breeder Scheme should be UKAS accredited
- ALL puppies should be microchipped before they are sold
- Local Authorities should address requirements of the duty of care in the AWA 2006 when inspecting breeding premises for licenses
- A statutory Code of Practice on the breeding of dogs should be established under the AWA 2006
11. Regs under the AWA should be made to replace existing Breeding and Sales of Dogs Acts
- The BVA should compile and have available to LA’s a list of Vets willing to carry out inspections of licensed breeding premises
13. A public awareness and education campaign should be designed to change public behaviour when buying a dog
14. Working with the profession as a whole, the RCVS and the BVA should lead a shift in emphasis towards preventative veterinary medicine rather than simply focus on the correction of the problems after they have occurred
15. Regulations should be made under the AWA 2006 in order to:
- Create an obligation to any person breeding dog to have regard to the health and welfare of both the parents and the offspring of the mating
- Require that any body laying down breed standards must have regard to the health and welfare of the dogs and the need to avoid breed specific health problems. The body could thus be regarded as exercising a power of a public nature and this is susceptible to judicial review
16. Once a robust and audited accreditation scheme is available the buying public should be pointed with confidence towards the accredited breeders
17. A meeting of the relevant parties to bring all recommendations from the APGAW and RSPCA reports together should be embraced
18. The Dangerous Dogs Act should be amended to apply to all dogs that have been shown to be dangerous rather than to specified breeds and should address the problem of dogs being bred and reared specifically as weapons for fighting
19. Dog shows are a powerful and effective lever for change and should be applied to achieve welfare improvements