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KC urges dog owners to ‘paws for thought’ before voting

The Kennel Club is encouraging dog owners to seek the views of their parliamentary candidates regarding the Animal Welfare Bill as they campaign in their constituencies to win votes in the forthcoming General Election.

Further, the KC is urging dog owners to lobby their local candidates to make their views known on various issues contained within the Bill.

The Kennel Club welcomes the introduction of the Animal Welfare Bill but seeks changes to further strengthen the protection of animals whilst not interfering with established practices which are not harmful to animals. Examples of some of the issues on which the Kennel Club will continue to lobby Government include:

1) Electric Shock Collars – The Bill as drafted will not outlaw the use of Electric Shock Collars despite the fact that independent scientific evidence proves that these products "are not only unpleasant but also painful and frightening" and "may influence the dog’s well being in the long term in a negative way".

2) Selling Puppies in Pet Shops – As yet there is no clause in the Bill to abolish the practice of selling dogs in pet shops. Puppies may be removed from their mothers before being fully weaned and transported to pet shops. The journey and the alien environment at which puppies arrive, is stressful for them and as a result puppies can develop physical and psychological problems.

Support

3) Tail Docking – The Kennel Club will continue to support the case for choice in docking, ie that it is up to the individual whether or not they have the tails of pups docked, as indicated by the current Kennel Club breed standards.

4) Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) – The KC wants to see this discredited Act reformed with the introduction of the new Bill. Not only has this piece of legislation cost several million pounds to implement and failed to prevent a number of attacks by dogs, it has had a detrimental effect on the welfare of some dogs, which have been euthanased simply because of the way they look.

5) Welfare Inspectors – The KC seeks to ensure that authorised inspectors will be competent and trained to a set of common standards by putting into place a national qualification for animal inspectors. Having inexperienced or unqualified inspectors would undermine the effectiveness of the Bill and destroy trust in the inspection regime.

Caroline Kisko, KC Secretary, said: "As both of the major political party’s election manifestoes underline their commitment to the Animal Welfare Bill, it is the responsibility of the dog loving community to inform the legislators on how to make it as effective as possible in combating cruelty against animals. We would urge all dog owners to make the most of this opportunity by seeking the views of their candidate on the many issues relevant to the Bill."

The KC would like to receive feedback from readers once they have received their candidates' views as this will help greatly in their Animal Welfare Bill lobbying campaign.

The KC would also be interested to know how many local MPs will be entering its ‘Westminster Dog of the Year’ Competition, organised jointly with Dogs Trust both to reward parliamentarians for their dog’s good deeds and to remind them about the importance of dogs and the possible effects of proposed animal welfare legislation.

To send the KC your feedback, or to receive more information on the KC’s areas of concern, please contact Phil Buckley pbuckley@the-kennel-club.org.uk or Holly Lee hlee@the-kennel-club.org.uk or call 020 7518 1020.