Following discussion at its Ethics and Welfare Group the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called for an independent review of the breeding of dogs as well as the permanent identification of all registered pedigree dogs.
Speaking today (Tuesday) BVA President Nicky Paull said "The BVA believes that now is the ideal time to seize the opportunity that has been presented by recent media coverage to ensure that significant progress is made in the improvement of dog health and welfare.
"While efforts have been made to improve breeding over recent years, it is clear that too little has been done so far and we are, therefore, joining with other interested organisations in calling for an independent review on the breeding of dogs in general. There is the genetic potential for health problems in any dog, regardless of whether or not it is pedigree registered and indeed, as the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) report demonstrated, in other species such as cats, cage birds and fish. We therefore believe that the review should act as a model for a series of reviews covering the breeding of both companion and production animals.
"We also believe" she said "that the solution to breeding problems should be based on scientific evidence rather than emotion and we are actively encouraging the collaboration of all stakeholders to work together to improve the wellbeing of animals. In order to facilitate the reporting of hereditary health problems and surgical procedures resulting in conformation changes, we are also convinced that all registered pedigree dogs need to be permanently identified."
Mrs Paull emphasised that the BVA remained focused on expanding on the efforts that had been and were being made on a daily basis by veterinary surgeons in practices across the country to work with breeders and owners to improve the health and welfare of their pets. "We would also encourage" she said, "members of the public to contact their vet for advice if they are considering purchasing a pet or breeding from an animal that they currently own. The veterinary profession is ideally placed to play an educational role in informing consumers and breeders on matters of animal welfare."