Ouch. That's got to hurt.
This Daily Telegraph headline is a direct jab at DFS Crufts (aka "Direct Furnishing Supplies Crufts").
Peter Wedderburn notes that Dog World is saying that the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) report due in October is going to say there is a serious welfare problem associated with the breeding and sale of dogs, and that this is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently by the government.
How will it it be addressed?
The answer seems to be through basic consumer protection legislation. An AGPAW spokesperson is quoted as saying that “animal welfare problems cannot be looked at in isolation of protection of consumer rights”.
Fair enough. That doesn't seem like over-reaching.
Which is not to say that I think it will do much good. Quite a number of states have "puppy lemon laws" in the U.S. already, including California, Florida, New York, New Jersery and Pennsylvania. The effect of these laws is to put owners of sick, lame and diseased dogs into a Faustian bargain: turn the dog back over to the breeder to be killed, or else whistle past the misery and either accept a defective dog or pay out of pocket all veterinary bills.
But, as Peter Wedderburn notes, if people can be made to take back a defective car, why not a defective dog?
It’s well-known that animals are categorized in the same way as any other goods as far as “consumer rights” are concerned, but perhaps this concept can be developed in a more clearly defined way. For example, furniture must be “of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described”. If a defect develops, you are entitled to have it repaired, or if it cannot be repaired, you are entitled to a refund. Why should the same conditions not apply to the purchase of dogs?
If a Labrador develops hip dysplasia, then it is not “fit for its purpose”. If a Sharpei requires surgery to correct inturned eyelids by the age of six months, then it can hardly be described as “satisfactory quality”. And if a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel develops Syringomelia (the most dramatic inherited condition to be highlighted on the Pedigree Dogs Exposed programme), then surely a defect has developed, and you should therefore be entitled to a refund.
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