15th January 2024

BVA calls for breeding regulation

The British Veterinary Association is urging for legal loopholes that are being exploited by criminals to be closed.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
The British Veterinary Association would like to see the Government act swiftly to clamp down on these unregulated and dangerous practices

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Small Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are calling for tighter regulation of dog breeders to curb criminal activities and improve animal welfare. They have also urged the Government to introduce licenses for premises such as ‘canine fertility clinics’, many of which undertake medical procedures without any veterinary involvement, putting the wellbeing of dogs and their litters at risk.

The BVA says improved regulation would help to close legal loopholes that enable unethical and irresponsible breeding, which has been linked to organised crime and poor animal welfare.

The BVA’s latest Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey shows that irresponsible breeding or sourcing of animals is the top animal health and welfare concern for vets in the UK, with more than half (55%) of vets in clinical practice citing it as the most pressing issue.

More than nine in 10 (93%) vets are concerned about the boom in unregulated breeding services such as canine fertility clinics. Among vets who work in companion animal practice, 30% said they were aware of such establishments operating in their local area last year.

BVA Junior Vice President Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux said: “Vets across the UK are extremely concerned about unscrupulous individuals cashing in on the huge demand for certain fashionable puppy breeds by offering dog breeding services like artificial insemination and blood sampling without any qualifications or veterinary oversight, fuelling a potential animal welfare disaster.

“The British Veterinary Association would like to see the Government act swiftly to clamp down on these unregulated and dangerous practices, including bringing in licensing, mandatory inspections and tough penalties if they are found to be operating outside the law.

“Our advice to anyone looking to get a puppy or to breed their dog is to always speak to their vet first. Ask any dog breeding premises the right questions before using their services to avoid getting duped. This includes questions around the staff’s qualifications and training, how they are regulated, and about relevant health tests to make sure the dog is fit to breed in the first place.”

BSAVA President Carl Gorman said: “The surge in the number of commercial businesses offering canine breeding services in the UK, driven by an increased demand for puppies, is a real cause for concern among vets in small animal practice. The procedures advertised by some such businesses, if carried out by unqualified laypersons, pose potential risks to the health and behaviour of the dogs involved and also their puppies.

“BSAVA would like to see canine breeding services better regulated and unscrupulous breeding practices robustly tackled to protect animal health and welfare.”

BVA and BSAVA’s recommendations on canine breeding services can be viewed here.

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