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Written Statement - Animal Welfare - Dogs

Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food

I am making this statement to provide an update on the Welsh Government’s ongoing policies in relation to dog welfare. I also wish to thank the Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee for their thorough draft report on the draft Regulations.

I asked for the draft Animal Welfare (Identification of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014, as laid on 24th June 2014, to be withdrawn.  The decision to do this was not made lightly, but I wanted to be satisfied that they were entirely fit for purpose.  I have charged my officials with revisiting the draft Identification of Dogs Regulations, and to continue working closely with their counterparts in Defra, engaging with database stakeholders in particular.  

Due to this ongoing work, the previously stated date of 1 March 2015, by which all dogs in Wales should be microchipped, is unlikely to be achieved.  I will ensure the additional work required to consider the concerns raised by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee is undertaken and I hope to introduce the draft Identification of Dogs Regulations as soon as possible to maintain the momentum we have built up in Wales in relation to moving towards the goal of having all dogs in Wales microchipped.

Of course members of the public and breeding establishments should, as best practice, continue to have their puppies and dogs microchipped to ensure traceability of their animals.  I wish to thank the third sector stakeholders for their support, in particular the Dogs Trust, for the programme of free microchipping they have been undertaking across Wales.  

In relation to the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014, which were also laid on the 24th June 2014, my immediate plans are to meet with key stakeholders to ensure the Regulations are fit for purpose. The draft Breeding of Dogs Regulations will be withdrawn and re-laid before the National Assembly for Wales as soon as possible.  These Regulations will not make provision in relation to the microchipping of puppies born at the breeding establishments covered by the Breeding of Dogs Regulations as this issue will be picked up in the redrafted Identification of Dogs Regulations.  

I appreciate that this may not be wholly welcome news, but I wish to assure you that these two important pieces of legislation will be taken forward in Wales as swiftly as possible. I will emphasise that it is important we get these Regulations right.

I will issue a further Written Statement on the status of these Regulations as work progresses.