Loopholes in animal welfare legislation could be the cause of a rise in unwanted, neglected and sick animals, vets at the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) annual discussion forum will claim.

The AWF discussion forum brings together vets, vet nurses, animal welfare organisations and parliamentarians to confront current welfare issues and inspire change.  

The charity will host a discussion in June entitled “Bursting at the seams: population management issues”, suggesting that the Government is failing to put in place measures to control and regulate on indiscriminate breeding as well as the sale and importation of animals.

Speakers will argue this has resulted in an over-population crisis which has compromised the welfare of a great number of companion animals.  

Extensive evidence shows that despite animal charities highlighting and attempting to tackle over-population, the situation is getting worse, with the RSPCA taking in 14% more abandoned, neglected or sick cats in 2014 than in the year before.

The number of horses that equine charities took into care in the first quarter of 2013 increased by 40%, compared to the year before.  

The afternoon session at the AWF discussion forum will see speakers explore legislative loopholes which have allowed these population crises to develop.

Veterinary surgeons Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare, Maggie Roberts from Cats Protection and David Martin will offer solutions to address the situation.  

Other topics in forum’s programme include a discussion on improving welfare at slaughter, antibiotic resistance and difficult treatment choices.

AWF chair of trustees Tiffany Hemming said: “This year’s AWF Discussion Forum looks very exciting and I am particularly looking forward to debating how we might tackle over-population issues in companion animals and exploring some potential solutions with the wide range of delegates we attract.”  

The AWF discussion forum takes place on Monday 8 June from 10am to 5pm at One Great George Street in London.

Places are £95 with lower rates available for veterinary nurses, recent graduates and students.  

To see the full AWF Discussion Forum programme or book a place visit http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/events.     

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