Puppy Love welcome the Welsh Assembly's decision to review the way dogs are bred in Wales. We hope this will become law without too much delay.
New Welfare Standards for Dog Breeding in Wales.
Wales' Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, has announced her intention to introduce new legislation which will significantly enhance animal welfare in Wales. Wednesday 07 July 2010
The new legislation, which will replace the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 with Wales-specific regulations that are fit for purpose will be based on proposals made by an expert Task and Finish group which was commissioned by the Rural Affairs Minister to review the legislation on the breeding of dogs to reflect the five welfare needs identified in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She asked the group to report to her by the end of June 2010. The five welfare needs included in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are that animals should:
• have a suitable environment
• have a suitable diet
• have the ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
• be housed separately or together with other animals
• be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
The report, which the Minister has accepted, makes three broad recommendations. First, that there should be legislative change for dog breeding by repealing existing statutory requirements and to provide new legislation; second, that changes to the licensing provision for dog breeding establishments should be made; and Third, that statutory guidance on the new legislation should be made.
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: "Pets are an important element of our society and ownership gives much pleasure, as well as as
sociated responsibilities." The devolution of animal welfare powers to Welsh Ministers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 has provided opportunities for us to make a real difference.
It's about improving standards and preventing suffering - prevention is better than cure, which is a principle of our overarching Animal Health and Welfare Strategy. "We have already made legislation on electronic shock collars and tail docking of dogs and Codes of Practice for dogs, cats, equine's and rabb
its. The CAWES (Companion Animal Welfare Enhancement Scheme) programme has supported and is continuing to support evidence based decisions. Part of that process is to work with the third sector to raise standards."
The Minister announced that licensing conditions for dog breeding establishments will be redrafted to reflect the five welfare needs. To help achieve this, the report recommended that a maximum number of dogs should be kept per full time attendant.
The Minister added: "If the breeding establishment is to meet the welfare and socialisation needs of dogs and puppies it was considered that, at the outside, a maximum ratio of one full time attendant to 20 dogs should be imposed. "I am keen to emphasise, however, that where welfare requirements are fully met, it is a legitimate business and meets the demands of those wishing to buy pets. "What is unacceptable is larg e scale breeding of puppies where welfare of both the parents and offspring may be compromised. Evidence submitted to the Welsh Assembly Government in research undertaken by local authorities, representations from many welfare bodies and several television programmes, all identified room for improvement for animal welfare in existing dog breeding licensing conditions.
"The group also considered the qualifying criteria for licensing. They agreed that existing criteria needed tightening particularly reducing the number of breeding bitches to trigger licensing to three from the current "five or more litters."
Other changes will include the compulsory microchipping of all breeding dogs in licensed premises as well as the microchipping of all pups from these premises prior to sale or homing. This would provide clear traceability back to the breeder in case of health or welfare concerns. It is proposed that statutory guidance will incorporate the five "needs of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
This will give a clear direction to Welsh local authorities and to dog breeders to enable compliance with the licensing requirements. Consideration will need to be given at a later stage as to whether the Code of Practice on the Welfare of Dogs will need to be expanded to include more detail on dog breeding.
The Minister concluded: "My role is to ensure that animal welfare is being promoted and animals protected without placing unnecessary burdens on the breeders or purchasers of dogs.The new legislation will be fully consulted on during a 12 week period.
Ireland & Wales: the puppy farming capitals
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