27th July 2018

New guidance for animal inspections

New guidance for companion animal establishments and their inspection has been published following six years of research and development by an international team of leading scientists and vets.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
Animal welfare and improved public health are the clear winners from a standardised inspection system

‘Guidelines for Inspection of Companion and Commercial Animal Establishments’, which has just been published in scientific journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, is believed to provide the best evidence-based and most objective information resource of its kind anywhere in the world.

The report offers comprehensive coverage for animal husbandry (including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds), as well as inspection protocols for a variety of commercial and non-commercial establishments such as pet shops, breeding centres, boarding kennels and sanctuaries.

Concerns over animal welfare and public health issues have long been reported for a variety of animal establishments including dog breeding kennels, pet shops and other facilities but formal inspection methods have been inconsistent at best. A lack of objective, universal, guidance has only made the jobs of those involved in inspecting such establishments more difficult.

Lead author and biologist Clifford Warwick says: “Clear, definitive and objective guidance for animal care and facility inspection has long been needed to enable responsible authorities to oversee animal health and welfare with confidence, and hopefully many will welcome and find helpful this new report.”

According to co-author and veterinary expert Mike Jessop, “Animal welfare and improved public health are the clear winners from a standardised inspection system that is applicable to all companion animal establishments. Moving to a more objective and evidenced system of inspection is long overdue.  The same principles and protocols are readily adaptable to encompass inspection of any animal holding facility.”

The guidelines, which are freely accessible to anyone, are intended to reach a global audience, whether for formal governmental, professional managerial or private use, and offer assistance to all those who are modernising their legislation or procedures.

Animal Protection Agency Director Elaine Toland comments: “Britain has been called a ‘nation of animal lovers’, and many want the best for their pets. But there is also a nation of ‘animal traders and keepers’ out there who often aim to provide the most ‘cost-effective’ and therefore lowest possible standards of space, habitat and general care that they can get away with, and that mindset needs to change.”

The full publication can be read here.

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