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BVA calls for review
Independent review will also pull in puppy farmers



THE BRITISH Veterinary Association (BVA) has issued a press release, underlining the Kennel Club’s recent call for an independent review, in association with the Dogs Trust, as announced in OUR DOGS October 17.

Nicky PaullFollowing discussion at its Ethics and Welfare Group the BVA has called for an independent review of the breeding of dogs as well as the permanent identification of all registered pedigree dogs.
Speaking last Tuesday, November 4th, BVA President Nicky Paull said, ‘The BVA believes that now is the ideal time to seize the opportunity that has been presented by recent media coverage to ensure that significant progress is made in the improvement of dog health and welfare.

‘While efforts have been made to improve breeding over recent years, it is clear that too little has been done so far and we are, therefore, joining with other interested organisations in calling for an independent review on the breeding of dogs in general. There is the genetic potential for health problems in any dog, regardless of whether or not it is pedigree registered and indeed, as the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) report demonstrated, in other species such as cats, cage birds and fish. We therefore believe that the review should act as a model for a series of reviews covering the breeding of both companion and production animals.

‘We also believe’, she said, ‘that the solution to breeding problems should be based on scientific evidence rather than emotion and we are actively encouraging the collaboration of all stakeholders to work together to improve the wellbeing of animals. In order to facilitate the reporting of hereditary health problems and surgical procedures resulting in conformation changes, we are also convinced that all registered pedigree dogs need to be permanently identified.’

Efforts

Mrs Paull emphasised that the BVA remained focused on expanding on the efforts that had been and were being made on a daily basis by veterinary surgeons in practices across the country to work with breeders and owners to improve the health and welfare of their pets.
‘We would also encourage,’ she said, ‘members of the public to contact their vet for advice if they are considering purchasing a pet or breeding from an animal that they currently own. The veterinary profession is ideally placed to play an educational role in informing consumers and breeders on matters of animal welfare."

Positive move

OUR DOGS asked the BVA a number of questions and in particular to amplify their statement concerning the ‘permanent identification of all registered pedigree dogs” without mention of cross breeds.

Mrs Paull said: ‘The BVA believes that we would like to see all registered pedigree dogs identichipped as a positive move by the breeding community to be able to better accumulate data on health issues. This has to be beneficial to the breeders themselves, the dogs that both breeders and their veterinary surgeons care for and to the puppy purchasers. Currently about 70% of the dogs going through the canine health schemes are indentichipped so it would appear that majority of breeders who are keen to be involved in health schemes see this as a positive step.

‘I fully understand your concerns about all other dogs and we would hope that as the independent review we are calling for should consider all dogs that this will also be something that is looked at. For now BVA feels that permanent identification of registered pedigree dogs is a step in the right direction.’

OUR DOGS also queried the recent claims by the PDSA when they stated in their own release that their position was “entirely consistent with that of the veterinary profession, including the British Veterinary Association”.

The BVA responded by saying: the BVA/BSAVA is mentioned in their press release in as much as the PDSA want to support the KC’s recent efforts to improve the health status of pedigree dogs – and this fits with our joint BVA/BSAVA published letter in the Vet Record.
Mrs Paull concluded by saying that the BVA is asking for one fully independent review looking at all dog breeding issues as this will also pull in subjects such as puppy farming.