Proposals for new legislation to tackle bad practice among dog breeding establishments – commonly known as puppy farms – in Wales have been unveiled by rural affairs minister Elin Jones.
Proposals for new legislation to tackle bad practice among dog breeding establishments – commonly known as puppy farms – and “significantly enhance” animal welfare in Wales have been unveiled by rural affairs minister Elin Jones.
The proposed Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2011, which will replace the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, will introduce major changes to the dog breeding and licensing regimes in Wales by putting animal welfare at the heart of this practice.
The proposals include:
- Tightening the thresholds where a dog breeding licence is required;
- A staff to dog ratio of one person to care for a maximum of 20 adult animals;
- Compulsory microchipping of dogs on licensed breeding premises;
- The need for behaviour and socialisation of animals to be taken account of in the licensing requirements to meet the obligations in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The proposals are subject to a full 12 week public consultation, which closes on January 13, 2011.
Announcing the proposals, Mrs Jones said: “The Welsh Assembly Government is fully committed to raising the welfare standards for dogs in Wales, and I am determined to take action to tackle bad practice in the dog breeding industry.
“I am therefore very pleased to be able to announce my intention to make these major changes to the dog breeding and licensing regimes in Wales – which will go a long way to significantly enhancing animal welfare.
“The proposals I am announcing today have been drawn up following special project reports from Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthen County Councils, the Task and Finish Group on Dog Breeding report, as well as other numerous reports, both written and video recorded, suggesting that some dog breeders were keeping their animals in cramped conditions with little or no provision for their behavioural or environmental needs, and are backed up by a substantial evidence base.
“While the breeding of dogs for commercial gain is a legitimate business, the welfare requirements of the breeding dogs and their offspring must have paramount importance.”
Welcoming the proposals, Welsh chief veterinary officer, Christianne Glossop, said: “These regulations bring the welfare obligations in the Animal Welfare Act into the licensing of dog breeders and fits well with the aspirations of the GB Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.”