Welsh Minister’s decision to reconsider draft dog breeding regulations welcomed

(Kennel Club Press Release) The Kennel Club has welcomed an announcement by Welsh Environment Minister, John Griffiths to consult further on dog breeding regulations in Wales in order to ensure any new legislation “is not burdensome on those breeders who fully meet the welfare needs set out in the Animal Welfare Act“.

The newly appointed Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, John Griffiths AM, outlined plans for officials to “have discussions with interested parties to identify their concerns and proposals and, where relevant, consider these in new draft legislation”.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director responded: “We are delighted that the new Minister recognises that striking a balance, which ensures irresponsible breeders are driven out of business while good breeders are still able to operate, is absolutely essential to the effectiveness of the new regulations.

“The Kennel Club and Welsh Kennel Club will continue to work with Assembly officials to ensure the best, most welfare conscious and reputable breeders are not negatively affected by the introduction of excessive regulation.”

The announcement comes after the Welsh Assembly established a Dog Breeding Review Group in 2009 tasked with looking at existing regulation and formulating recommendations to protect and improve the welfare of puppies, breeding bitches and stud dogs.

In 2010, draft regulations were issued based on these recommendations and a public consultation took place to gather views on the proposals.

The Welsh Assembly received over 500 responses to the consultation, the largest ever received for an animal welfare issue. Although the responses supported the principle of the regulations as a whole and recognised the need for a review of existing legislation, specific details within the regulations raised concerns among many respondents.

Most significantly, many shared the Kennel Club’s concerns regarding the licensing trigger and how this much more stringent regulation would be effectively enforced given funding cuts across local authorities.

Graham Hill, Chairman of the Welsh Kennel Club commented: “We of course welcome the lead that the Welsh Assembly Government has taken in trying to make life difficult for puppy farmers but feel that, if the legislation is to succeed, it is vital that responsible breeders are encouraged to continue breeding.

“For example, members of the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme who go far above and beyond the proposed regulations and what is accepted as good breeding practice, are already subject to inspection and incur great expense in ensuring that they breed happy, healthy puppies. We believe that members of such schemes should be exempt from the licensing conditions to save on local authority resources in doubling up work.”

Discussions will now be held over the coming months, with a view to consulting on the amended legislation during the autumn. Details of the proposed regulations can be found here. The Kennel Club’s full response to the consultation can be found here.

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