Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dogs Trust response to the APGAW report: A healthier future for pedigree dogs

Below is Dogs Trust's statement, as can also be seen on www.dogstrust.org.uk. Please contact the Dogs Trust Press Office by email with any queries.

Dogs Trust welcomes the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare Report into pedigree dog breeding. There are serious problems with the health and welfare of some pedigree dogs, resulting from inappropriate breeding practices and directly from the conformation of the dog imposed by breed standards. We were pleased to be able to contribute to this report, which suggests measures which can now be implemented to improve the situation.

We welcome the report recommendations on health screening; public education; the enforcement of codes of ethics; the revision of breed standards; permanent identification; the showing of dogs; health certificates; and the development of an Independent Advisory body. We are disappointed that the Report does not concentrate sufficiently on the welfare implications of breed standards or suggest improved legislation. Similarly we believe that many of the recommendations must be applied to all dogs not just pedigrees.

Dogs Trust has been encouraged to see that the Kennel Club has made a start in reviewing all breeding practices including the breed standards. However we are concerned at the lack of good data currently available to underpin the review.

Dogs Trust rehomes both pedigree and crossbreeds dogs through our 18 Rehoming Centres. Too many dogs in our care have come from irresponsible dealers, pet stores or puppy farms. Dogs Trust believes that more research and discussion about how to stop the 'battery farming' of dogs within puppy farms is long overdue. Dogs Trust believes that peer review science is an essential part of the solution. And that all breeders, not just Kennel Club members, must follow the scientists' guidelines.

Dogs Trust continues to work closely with the Kennel Club to improve the current situation, and we have jointly commissioned an independent review of the showing, breeding, and registration of all dogs. The inquiry Chairman, Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, will publish his findings in January 2010. Following the publication of this report Dogs Trust would welcome a meeting of all relevant stakeholders to discuss ways in which the recommendations from both reports can be translated into effective solutions.

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