A PRESSURE group with the ear of the Government is pushing for the compulsory registration of dogs within the next three years, but has, according to the Kennel Club, misinterpreted the scope of a Government proposal of dog registration outlined two years ago.
The launch of the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) report on the Identification and Registration of Companion Animals was opened by DEFRA Minister Elliot Morley who took the opportunity to repeat the DEFRA statement regarding the proposed Animal Welfare Bill. The statement referred heavily to the issue of docking of dogs' tails.
CAWC then presented the findings of the Identification and Registration of Companion Animals report. Bearing in mind that CAWC is tasked with considering all animals - not only dogs - there were parts of the report which are not relevant to the canine world.
However in a statement, issued last week, the Kennel Club was concerned to note that within the CAWC recommendations the DIG (Dog Identification Group) report, of which the Kennel Club was secretariat, is mentioned. The DIG report published in 2000 - recommended a five year period of voluntary identification to be monitored and targeted to achieve an 80% uptake by the end of that period. The CAWC report states that two years of the five-year trial term have already been completed, which is incorrect. To date, the DIG report has not been taken up by Government. CAWC has recommended that compulsory permanent identification and registration of all dogs should commence in 3 years time, which is clearly at odds with the Kennel Club view that the DIG trial has not begun. An essential part of the DIG recommendations was that significant funding would be required to promote identification, but no funding from Government has been identified. The Kennel Club continues to recommend permanent identification on a voluntary basis.
The discrepancy has been referred to DEFRA, and the KC is looking to liaise with CAWC on this point.
Despite strenuous attempts by OUR DOGS to make contact with CAWC who have recently moved their HQ from London to Essex and thus garner a comment, no statement from CAWC was forthcoming at the time of going to press.