is recognised that the main thrust of the document is in relation
to farm animals and food production; however, the document makes
it clear that the consultation is intended to be all-encompassing
and therefore includes companion animals, in which The Scottish
Kennel Club has a close interest.
The Scottish Kennel Club is a full-time organisation, serving around two thousand five hundred members and the dog world at large. It is responsible for licensing dog shows and other canine events in Scotland and its main thrust is in the promotion of responsible dog ownership. The Club is the prime source of information and advice on canine matters in Scotland.
The Club operates a register of breeders, all of whom sign a declaration which binds them to the basic tenets of good practice in relation to the breeding and sale of dogs.
two main Club objects in relation to canine health and welfare
To Promote and Encourage the Improvement and Well-Being of dogs
To Promote Education and Study in relation to this
The Clubs logo bears the strap-line Caring for Dogs.
of clubs interest
The Clubs interest in dogs extends to people who:
Keep dogs purely as companion animals
Keep dogs for showing and participation in other canine events
Keep dogs for sport
Keep working dogs
Keep dogs for participation in community service
Care of dogs in kennels, homes, etc.
Need for a strategic approach to animal health and welfare
The Club is in agreement with the basic outline of the strategy and agrees that a need for it exists. It accepts that the outline vision covers the main issues.
Need for separate companion animal strand to the strategy
aspects of animal health and welfare will apply to all owners,
keepers and vendors of animals; however the strategy in respect
of companion animals may diverge from that applicable to animals
kept for food production in certain circumstances.
The relevance of the Strategy to companion animals may also be better understood if it specifically refers to them.
Consistently high standards of health and welfare
standard of health and welfare in dogs is generally high and
the continuous programme of research into animal diseases by
the Animal Health Trust and others has been well documented.
Canine breed standards are also designed to ensure that breeders
and owners strive to produce an animal which is constructed
for its original purpose and which can adapt to our changing
environment as required.
As a result of the experience gained from this activity, the Club believes that any Strategy should include the following requirements:
1. A general Code of Ethics applicable to all animal owners, keepers and vendors.
2. A key role for the promotion of health and disease-free animals in all breeding programmes.
3. The availability of affordable animal insurance and healthcare to facilitate healthy animals
Improved public health
Club recognises the need to link animal health and welfare with
improved public health.
Whilst this may be largely in relation to food production, any strategy in relation to companion animals should include reference to the responsibility for ensuring that public health, and indeed safety, is not compromised by companion animals. At the same time, it is important that any dangers to public health are not exaggerated and this should be recognised in the strategy.
At the same time, the strategy should recognise the significant positive contribution which dogs (and other companion animals) can make towards the improvement of public health and well-being.
Accordingly, the following points are made for inclusion in the strategy:
1. More promotion and education in respect of removal of dog fouling.
2. More responsible approach to the education of the public on the effect of disease transmission from animals to the public.
3. Greater promotion of the therapeutic aspects of animal ownership.
strategy must have a coherent link to relevant legislation and
that legislation must be clearly understood by those who require
to abide by it. Accordingly, the following proposals are made:
1. A direct link between the previously mentioned Code of Ethics and relevant legislation.
2. Consolidation of, and improvement in, legislation relative to animal health and welfare to facilitate its understanding and application by those concerned.
health and welfare is largely funded by the non-profit making
and charitable organisations in this country. The funds available
are governed by the whims and vagaries of public generosity
and it cannot be assumed that this generosity will either continue
at present levels or, indeed, increase in proportion to the
There is therefore a need to generate partnerships between government and these organisations in order that financial considerations do not frustrate the advancement of the strategy.
Docking of tails
Club recognises that the docking of tails is an emotive issue
which continues to interfere with the promotion of the canine
worlds concern for animal welfare. There has been much
ill-informed publicity on the subject over the years and its
origins have been much misunderstood. In recent years, the law
has mitigated this somewhat through the requirement for the
process to be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon.
The Clubs policy has supported the docking of tails where the standard of a particular breed has indicated that the tail is customarily docked. This is on the basis that the standard of the breed should reflect as closely as possible the origins of the breed but especially to ensure that the dogs concerned do not suffer through tail damage which can occur through working and exercise and result in pain and distress to the dog concerned.
Transportation of animals
Club has encouraged the lifting of quarantine restrictions and
the introduction of the Pets Passport legislation. This has
greatly expanded the horizons of the canine world in respect
of competition and companionship. However, it is recognised
that there are dangers associated with the transportation of
animals on their own or accompanied by their owners.
These dangers apply to other companion animals.
Accordingly the Club proposes that a Code on Companion Animal transportation should be established as part of the strategy.
It will be seen that a key part of these proposals in relation to the strategy relates to education. The establishment of codes of conduct provides those concerned with clear guidelines and the direct link to legislation provides a legal framework, within which they are expected to operate and a disciplinary process as the ultimate sanction for those who are not in sympathy with the basic tenets of animal health and welfare.