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Two contentious issues debates at this year's BVA Congress considered aspects of pet welfare. ‘Dog breeding – where is it going?’ examined progress since the broadcast of ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ in 2008, while ‘Budgeting for pet health care’ discussed how to encourage owners to be realistic about the long-term costs of their pet. Suzanne Jarvis reports
‘IT is all very easy to say how many problems there are, but coming up with solutions that are practical [and] proportionate can be quite difficult, and this is where the veterinary profession perhaps has a greater role to play.’ So said Sheila Crispin, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding, during the debate on dog breeding, held on September 24.
Although the issue of welfare problems resulting from various breeding practices had been raised by a number bodies, particularly the Companion Animal Welfare Council, in the past, it was not until the ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ programme in 2008 that real activity began, she said. Three inquires had looked at the issue, with the report of Professor Sir Patrick Bateson recognising that there were problems across dog breeding in general, not just with pedigree dogs. Also as a result of the programme, consumers had become less keen to own a pedigree dog. This had led to the increase in ‘designer dogs’, which were essentially crossbreeds. This had brought its own problems, Professor Crispin said, as the demand meant that such dogs could be sold for £1000 to £2000 and the ‘welfare of dogs gets lost in the making of money’.
Many of the recommendations made by the three inquiries, such as the establishment of a non-statutory advisory council and restricting the breeding of …