John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
Raising standards of animal welfare continues to be important for Government and dealing with unscrupulous dog breeders, who tarnish the reputation of reputable dog breeders, is regarded as a high priority. This is consistent with the objectives of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 introduced the concept of the duty of care for pet animals – which has long been applied to farm animals and the introduction of concept of the “five needs - a suitable environment to live in; a healthy diet; ability to behave normally; appropriate company; and protection from pain, suffering injury and disease.
The current dog breeding regulations, the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 (as amended) do not specifically address these requirements.
The Task and Finish Group on Dog Breeding set up in November 2009 considered these matters and made recommendations which were formalised into a consultation document that issued last October.
In principle, all agreed with improving animal welfare standards but there were some different views about the detail.
I am keen to ensure that new legislation addresses the welfare concerns raised and is not burdensome on those breeders who fully meet the welfare needs set out in the Animal Welfare Act. I have therefore asked my officials to have discussions with interested parties to identify their concerns and proposals and, where relevant, consider these in new draft legislation.
Discussions will be held over the coming months with a view to consulting on the amended legislation during the autumn