Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Minimum Standards for Puppy Peddlers?

If you decide to start a ketchup company, you will quickly discover you cannot just put just anything you want into a bottle and sell it; there are labeling requirements, health requirements, and licensing requirements.

The same is true for vehicles. If you decide to start a car or motorcycle company, you will soon find there are safety requirements, inspection requirements, manufacturing standards, and licensing requirements.

If you want to claim to be able do a job, be advised that whether you are a bartender or a barber, a carpenter or a cake-maker, a plumber or a roofer, you will face educational requirements, skills tests, licensing requirements, site inspections, and mandatory insurance requirements. Also, your clients will have real consumer protections, should you screw up or demonstrate total incompetence.

But not in the world of dogs.

In the world of dogs,
any person can throw any two dogs together for a quick breeding, claim the progeny is anything they want, do no health testing at all, and sell the puppies off to an unsuspecting and poorly informed public.

And what is the result? Simple: A glut of inbred and poorly bred dogs, and dogs with serious health defects that will cause their new owners a lifetime of expense, and the dogs a lifetime of pain and discomfort.

That may soon come to an end in the U.K., however. The Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare has just put out a new report entitled A Healthier Future for Pedigree Dogs. As The London Times reports:

Puppies should be sold with a full family medical history to alert new owners to the risk of genetic disorders, an inquiry will recommend today.

All future sales must be accompanied by a contract stating that the dog’s parents have undergone health checks before breeding to ensure puppies are born free from genetic disorders, MPs and peers will say.

The Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare recommends that breeders provide a veterinary certificate confirming that the dog’s parents have been screened for health defects prior to mating.

Other recommendations include:

• a statutory limit on the number of times a dog can sire puppies, to prevent inbreeding;

• random checks on breeders;

• that all pedigree dogs be microchipped;

• that champion showdogs undergo health screening before prizes are awarded;

• guidelines to inform owners about what to look for in a healthy dog.

The new rules should apply to all puppies sold as pets, whether from a breeder registered with the Kennel Club, a licensed puppy farmer or someone breeding dogs as a hobby at home.

The safeguards come after a year-long review into pedigree breeding after the controversial BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, was aired in August last year.

Interested in reading the whole report? Here it is (PDF).

Will this new APGAW report gain traction in the U.K.?

Quite possibly; it follows hard on the heels of an earlier critical report on dog breeding by the RSPCA, and comes just a few months before a report by Professor Patrick Bateson, commission by the Kennel Club itself, is due to be released.

The Bateson report is supposed to be independent, but the rule is "he who pays the band gets to call the tune," so we shall see.

One thing is certain: as more and more people look into the world of dogs and ask common-sense questions, both consumers and dogs are likely to benefit..


Viatecio said...

I could go for this!

My only concern would be, who is going to regulate all this? I would love to see this come to the US and absolutely tear down the AKC, but which agency will oversee all these changes, both in the UK and the US? (Maybe it's in the PDF...I haven't read through it yet, will do when on a better computer.)

I'm interested as to what this will do for mixed-breeds too. I know that, while mixed-breeds are statistically healthier, they still get diseases based on size, breeds and/or ancestry. But since mixed-breed dogs are used in programs as well to make second-generation pups (the 3/4-1/4 mixes), they need to be a part of this as well.

Retrieverman said...

I wonder if a Tory government might be better for this issue than a Labour one, because as I do recall in Pedigree Dogs Exposed, an MP was involved in the Cavalier health issues. When I looked up that MP's name, he was in the Conservative Party (and still is).

As someone whose real party is Old Labour, it's very hard to me to talk like this.

HTTrainer said...

There is a lot involved and I doubt the AKC will do anything without a lot of kicking and screaming.
The problem here is we have do-gooders with a lot of money and their influence is not good.