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Welfare Working group will require good evidence
APGAW says it is ‘not out to abolish breeds’

Following the announcement from the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) that an all party working group for animal welfare would be raised and would be asking for breeders, Our Dogs decided to speak to Mr Eric Martlew, the MP behind the idea.

Eric MartlewMr Martlew made it clear at the outset that this is to be an all party working group which will be reviewing the breeding of pedigree dogs, but which has no set agenda and is definitely ‘not out to abolish breeds’ but to ‘assess what is the best way forward for these breeds, for their health and welfare’, something nobody would disagree with.

It has been widely reported that the working party was been drawn up as a result of the programme Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Mr Martlew told us that the BBC had brought the matter to the attention of the CAWC and as a result it was decided to look at pedigree dogs, but it could easily apply to any companion animal, or cats for example which have much the same problems as pedigree dogs. With calls from many quarters to review breeds and pedigree dog breeding they seemed the logical choice. When asked if the BBC programme would influence him at all Mr Martlew said, “I am old enough and wise enough to not be influenced by a sensational TV programme”.

The next question we put to him was who would be called to give evidence to the working group, and what evidence would the working group require? Mr Martlew pointed out that the review will be along the same lines as the Racing Greyhound industry review, at that enquiry there were two expert technical advisers, dog owners and the RSPCA and The Greyhound Racing Board.

Anyone who submits evidence should be aware that this written evidence needs to be factually based with technical knowledge on breeding of dogs and health and welfare issues for their breed or breeds. From these submissions some will be selected and the person sending in the information will then be contacted and asked to attend the committee. The committee will put questions to anyone called before them and to ensure that nobody will feel that they cannot put forward what information they feel is important to help the committee review the breed standards, breeding practices and any health or welfare issues for any reason, the names of those called to give evidence to the committee, which sits in private, will remain anonymous. Mr Martlew said this is the only way that the working group will be able to find out what the real situation is facing pedigree dogs, the working group will need to hear evidence from all sides of this debate. Mr Martlew said he aware that breeders and breed clubs could break away from the Kennel Club and go their own way, which would not be desirable.

Submissions will be required to have a limited number of pages, so any submission should ideally be concise and precise in its content. Although it has been reported that submissions will be asked for during December it will probably be early January before the call goes out for them. Breeders and interested parties should watch the press and the APGAW web site for further details.

Mr Martlew is first and foremost a dog lover, he is proud to have owned several GSDs and two years his dog, Tax, ago won the Westminster Dog of the Year competition.