A petition has been posted on the 10 Downing street web site to request that VAT is removed from the health tests run by the British Veterinary Association and Kennel Club. The petition was started by Mr John Weller, a Labrador owner and long time supporter of health testing schemes. John is a moderator on Labrador Forums, a web based group and advises owners and breeders on health issues.
John told Our Dogs, “My thought was that with the Government's Animal Welfare Bill it is a bit of an own goal for the government to want to improve animal welfare and charge us VAT for trying! The VAT may not sound much, but look at it like this. Forgetting the VAT paid on the vet's fee for actually taking the x-rays, which I can understand might be hard to separate, the VAT element for the one off tests, charged by the BVA for hip and elbow scoring is £5.22 each, £10.44 for the two.
“Eye testing, which is a yearly test, costs rather more at £5.48 of VAT. So assuming you test yearly for eight years this test will mean you will have paid £43.84 of VAT, assuming the BVA do not put up the prices, which would increase the VAT to be paid”.
As John also pointed, out most dog owners who own are active in either showing or working their dogs will undoubtedly have more than one dog to be tested. John told us, “Now multiply that by the four or five dogs which form your picking up team or show kennel and the cost really goes through the roof! A five Labrador team for example will cost you £271.40 in VAT alone for the health tests over their life! (These figures are taken direct from the BVA's own website, not just some figure I've pulled out of the air!) No small figure! To be honest, I’m not expecting the government to roll over. I’m sure the argument would be that they are controlled in what they charge by EEC VAT regulations”.
It is hoped that if enough people sign, and the KC are in support of this move it could be very beneficial to dog breeding and would encourage health testing. With the BVA planning to bring out new BVA tests it would certainly make sense for the KC and breeders to try to get the VAT removed from health tests. If you would like to sign the petition it can be found at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Canine-health/
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