Three years on from the BBC Pedigree Dogs Exposed programme, producer Jemima Harrison has once again cast light on the welfare of pedigree dogs. A follow up to the original documentary found that though some positive changes have taken place, deeply troubling issues are still prevalent in an industry that has historically cared more about the appearance of dogs rather than the animal’s health and well being.
The Kennel Club in particular was a major target for criticism in both programmes, and for good reason. Though the club’s standards on the appearances of dogs have relaxed in recent years amid growing pressure there are still fundamental concerns about the appearance, function and degree of inbreeding in some breeds.
With no legislative power The Kennel club find themselves in a difficult position, juggling their commitment to both breeders and dogs. This conflict of interest makes the need for an independent regulatory committee all the more urgent.
The Green Party echoes the documentary maker’s call for an independent government-backed regulatory body to monitor dog breeding practices as Green Party Deputy Leader Adrian Ramsay says:
“The breeding practices that have been exposed in the BBC documentary show that dog welfare is being disregarded. It is perverse that some breeders deliberately breed dogs with major health problems and deformities for prestige and to win competitions.
“The Green Party has long supported the measures that the journalist called for in the documentary. An independent regulatory committee is crucial to safeguarding the health of dogs.”
Green Party Animal Welfare Spokesperson and Vet, Caroline Allen comments:
“In my job as a small animal vet it is clear that the Kennel Club alone cannot deal with this problem. I have seen no sign of a decrease in breed related problems and there are many other issues associated with irresponsible dog breeding that the Kennel Club can simply do nothing about. Many breeders act outside of the Kennel Club, as do puppy farms. We need to regulate the whole industry to prevent the sort of suffering that vets are seeing on a daily basis. The financial cost of irresponsible breeding is also a high one, with increasing number of strays and dog attacks, costing local authorities and the NHS millions. The Green Party would introduce a requirement that all dogs be micro-chipped and would require that all breeders be licensed. It is time to tackle all aspects of irresponsible breeding.“