As Crufts Dog Show gets underway at the National Exhibition Centre (8-11 March 2012), puppy farm campaigners are calling on the Kennel Club to stop registering puppies that have been produced in appalling conditions in puppy farms.
“Puppy farms are breeding establishments, many of them in Wales, where dogs are kept and raised like livestock, often in inhumane and unethical conditions, “explains Veronica Lambert of Puppy Love Campaigns.
Of the 70 licensed breeders in Ceredigion, which alongside Carmarthenshire is known as the puppy-farming capital of the UK, 62 register at least some of their puppies with the Kennel Club. Some are licensed for 100 breeding bitches and more.
“Some keep dozens of breeding bitches in row upon concrete row of barely-converted pig-pens,” says Linda Goodman of C.A.R.I.A.D. “They often have no access to natural light or outside exercise areas. Some have only one or two people looking after hundreds of animals and even when the premises are licensed by the local authority, checks are often totally inadequate. The bitches are bred from until they are worn out and then killed, never having known any home life or what it is like to be loved.”
The puppies are often sold through the small ads, pet shops or internet sites to an unsuspecting public persuaded by Kennel Club papers that the animal has been produced ethically.
“The Kennel Club promised to tackle this issue as long ago as 1986 but it has singularly failed to act,” says Veronica Lambert of Puppy Love Campaigns “yet here we are a quarter of a century later and the KC has done nothing to ease the situation for puppy farm dogs, but is now happy to appear to be campaigning against it.”
At the moment, anyone can register a dog with the Kennel Club as long as both its parents are themselves Kennel Club registered. Such pets are in high demand, fetching more money than non KC-registered dogs.
A survey conducted by Puppy Love Campaigns and C.A.R.I.A.D. of internet site Epupz reveals that, on average, Kennel Club registered dogs cost £200 more than non-registered dogs – a good return for the £15 it costs unscrupulous breeders to register puppies with the Kennel Club.
The Kennel Club recently released a film warning of the horrors of puppy farms – a move that the puppy farm campaigners insist is “hypocrisy of the highest order”.
C.A.R.I.A.D. Founder, Linda Goodman says:
“Registrations are a huge revenue stream for The Kennel Club and they have continued to profit from the misery of puppy farming. The KC will claim that only 2% of the breeders that register dogs with them are what are known as “volume” breeders – those that breed five or more litters a year. But that figure is very deceiving because the dogs they produce represent much more than two per cent of the dogs the Kennel Club register.
“Their own research that: “As many as one in four people could potentially be buying their puppies from puppy farms” beggars belief when they’ve been so instrumental in making this possible. Their campaign against puppy farming just makes them look like utter hypocrites.”
Veronica Lambert at Puppy Love Campaigns:
“For years the KC have registered puppy farm stock. They are the only organisation that makes a profit from the misery of farmed dogs and campaign against it at the same time.”
The Kennel Club directs the public to buy from members of its Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS). Joining the ABS is as simple as applying for pedigree registration and, currently, requires no advance inspection or checks. In fact only up to 15% of ABS members have been inspected – and even then they are given advance warning of checks, despite the Kennel Club claiming that the checks are “random”.
C.A.R.I.A.D.’s Linda Goodman:
“The KC’s Assured Breeders Scheme is little more than another registry. Again the public is being duped into believing that it actually means something. The ABS scheme will only be of value if the KC invests in mandatory inspection of all breeders within the scheme. At present only a tiny proportion of ABS breeders have ever been inspected by the KC and we have evidence of some ABS breeders conducting business in ways that the KC says it does not endorse.”
Puppy Love Campaigns has footage of one ABS breeder illegally selling puppies at a motorway service station.*
Puppy Love Campaigns and C.A.R.I.A.D. want the KC to act now to make sure that no one who engages in puppy farming can benefit from Kennel Club registration.
Puppy Love Campaigns:
“We call on the Kennel Club to stop registering puppy farmed dogs immediately and to put measures in place to ensure that Kennel Club registration guarantees that a puppy has been raised in good, humane and ethical conditions. Otherwise there is no point in KC registration.”
The President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Carl Padgett has also added his voice to calls for England to tighten up regulations on dog breeding.
Mr Padgett expressed disappointment at Defra’s stance on the updated dog welfare code to protect the progeny of any mating. On dog breeding regulations Mr Padgett said:
“In Northern Ireland and Wales ministers are using their powers under animal welfare legislation to crack down on irresponsible breeders by tightening up licensing regulations.
“Here in England veterinary surgeons are constantly dismayed by clients bringing in new puppies with a host of health problems. These dogs are often purchased from pet supermarkets with little or no information about their background. We have to ask ourselves: What kind of message are we sending to the public when puppy buying becomes as easy as the weekly shop?
“But Defra has no plans to review existing laws on dog breeding and once Wales and Northern Ireland update their legislation, England is in danger of being left behind.”