Wales takes huge stride towards better dog welfare

(BVA Release) The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have warmly welcomed the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) announcement on reform of dog breeding legislation and the compulsory microchipping of certain dogs.

The announcement, made by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones AM, follows a report by an expert Task and Finish Group, including representatives from both BVA and BSAVA, which reviewed the current legislation and made recommendations to the Government.

The Minister announced:

–          the redrafting of dog licensing conditions for dog breeding establishments to include a maximum ratio of 20 dogs to one full time attendant;

–          the tightening of qualifying criteria for licensing, including the reduction of the number of breeding bitches from five or more to three or more;

–          the compulsory microchipping of all breeding dogs in licensed premises and all puppies from these premises prior to sale or homing;

–          statutory guidance to incorporate the five welfare needs (or ‘five freedoms’) under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to enable compliance with licensing requirements; and

–          future consideration of expanding the Code of Practice on the Welfare of Dogs to include more detail on dog breeding

New legislation on these issues will be drafted for consultation.

Commenting, Professor Bill Reilly, President of the BVA, said:

“This is fantastic news and a huge stride towards better welfare for dogs and puppies in Wales.

“The veterinary profession has been making the case for compulsory microchipping of all dogs before the first change of owner to improve traceability and we are absolutely delighted that the Minister has clearly listened to this call.

“It is incredibly encouraging that these proposals have been made by a group from across industry, local government, the welfare charities, and the veterinary profession. Tackling puppy farming will require all of us to continue working together.”

Grant Petrie, President of the BSAVA, added:

“Parts of Wales have unfortunately developed a reputation for ‘puppy farming’ where the health and welfare of the puppies and breeding bitches is severely compromised. It is therefore very encouraging to see the Welsh Assembly Government taking the lead in the UK on tackling this shameful industry.

“We hope that everyone will get behind these proposals to safeguard the health and welfare of dogs and puppies in the future.

“BVA and BSAVA will continue to lobby the rest of the UK and Ireland to ensure the nationwide adoption of these positive proposals, in particular compulsory microchipping.”


1. The Welsh Assembly Government news release is available on the WAG website.

2. The BVA was represented on the Task and Finish Group by Karen Davies, a vet in practice in Llantrisant, and BSAVA was represented by Mike Jessop, a vet in practice in Merthyr Tydfil. For more information on the Task and Finish Group see the WAG website.

3. For more information please contact the BVA Media Office on 020 7908 6340 or

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  1. While this is a good move in principle the most important fact is missing — who will implement the new regulations? There is a perfectly adequate Animal Welfare Act now but by many welsh councils, especially Carmarthenshire, it is ignored.
    It is hard to think of all these people sat around discussing this appalling cruelty when they have done nothing to help the dogs as shown in the tv expose’s almost 2 years ago( can be viewed on those dogs are still there in the same conditions.
    With all the financial cut backs is the Welsh Assembly going to fund a new ‘body’ to oversee these new regulations?

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