The Kennel Club continues to be concerned about the use of electronic shock collars. It launched a campaign last year to see the product banned as part of the Animal Welfare Bill.
The KC had letters published in the veterinary press and dog papers, resulting in a large postbag on the issue, with the vast majority of respondents supporting the Kennel Club’s position. Three politicians have raised the issue in Parliament – as a result of the briefing document that the Kennel Club issued to politicians – and the KC awaits the DEFRA response with interest. The Kennel Club recently attended a presentation given by one of the electronic collar manufacturers and two Kennel Club representatives took the opportunity to have the products tested on the palm of their hands at differing levels. Level 2 was uncomfortable and Level 5 painful. It was very easy to change the Level settings and this is key to the abuse issue. When one considers that the product would normally be worn around the dog’s neck, the pain level can be appreciated even further. There is no doubt, in the Kennel Club’s opinion, that these products are unacceptable.
Kennel Club presentation to DEFRA on Breed Standards
Towards the end of March, Kennel Club representatives were invited to the DEFRA offices to present to the Animal Welfare Bill team on health and welfare and breed standards. This included the positive work regarding amendments to some breed standards, such as the Bulldog, to negate the need for Government to sign the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (ECPPA), Canine genetics, the Charitable Trust and the Kennel Club Health Foundation Fund, the KC/BSAVA Scientific Committee Health Survey and the Accredited Breeder Scheme were also discussed. The presentation was very well received.
Animal Welfare Minister visits Crufts 2004
Mr Ben Bradshaw, the Minister responsible for both the Animal Welfare Bill and the Government’s position regarding the ECPPA, attended the first day of Crufts with senior DEFRA civil servants and was looked after by the KC’s External Affairs Department. Mr Bradshaw visited the Council of Docked Breeds to discuss the docking issue and also conducted interviews and a Questions and Answers session with the media on the DEFRA stand. The Kennel Club took the opportunity to show him breeds within the Discover Dogs area that could be affected by the ECPPA – such as the Shar Pei, Bulldog and Chow Chow – and were absolutely delighted to hear the Minister say that, whilst he was in power the ECPPA will not be signed and that he is happy with the work that the Kennel Club has been implementing in conjunction with Breed Clubs.
In early March, the Kennel Club produced a Parliamentary Briefing document which was distributed to politicians and peers, highlighting the positive work being implemented for the good of dogs and further encouraged them to become involved. Issues raised included the fate of thousands of dogs if hunting is banned, having initially stressed that the KC is neutral on the hunting issue. This generated a parliamentary question tabled in the Commons - and, a request for action to be taken to end the sale and use of electric shock collars – which has generated a series of questions to the Secretary of State. Other issues included the ‘Safe and Sound’ Around Dogs Award, the promotion of responsible dog ownership and the health benefits of being owned by a dog.