Measures outlined in the statement from Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, included a commitment to improving dog breeding regulations, a review of microchipping regulations and an exploration of what veterinary provision, assistance and advice is available for those who need help in caring for their pets.
The statement also signals that the Welsh Government will be publishing newly revised Codes of Practice for horses and dogs as well as reviewing the existing Codes for cats and rabbits over the coming months. Work will also start on identifying any need for further codes such as for exotic pets or racing greyhounds.
Sarah Carr, BVA Welsh Branch President, said: “We’re delighted to see that the Welsh Government is continuing to keep animal welfare, and in particular irresponsible breeding of dogs, at the top of their agenda.
“Sadly, as vets we frequently see examples of animal suffering caused by bad breeding practices and irresponsible dog ownership. There are particular challenges presented by the large numbers of puppies bred in Wales, often in poor conditions with little regard for their welfare. Refining the existing legislation is a welcome step, and it will need to be aligned as a minimum with England’s incoming licensing regulations.
“We also support the Welsh Government’s move to address third party sales, with a view to banning them, but within this review there is also a need to consider advertising, internet sales and pet owners’ buying habits and take a holistic approach to all sources of pet supply and demand to ensure that illegal activity won’t be driven underground.
“BVA fully recommends microchipping of pets as a safe, quick and inexpensive way to reunite lost pets with their owners. However, we also recognise that this is a complex area that merits further discussion, so we would be very happy to engage with the Welsh Government on this as their review progresses.
“We’re pleased to see that there will be a review of what help is available for people who need support with caring for their pets. Prospective owners should always think carefully about how they can cater for an animal’s welfare needs and ensure that they register with their vet at the earliest opportunity to benefit from ongoing and tailored advice and support.
“Finally, it’s positive to see that the Codes of Practice for a range of animals will be reviewed and updated. We would strongly support the revision of the existing Code of Practice for rabbits, and the introduction of a new code for exotic species, developed in close consultation with the veterinary profession, to help build understanding of their very specific husbandry and welfare needs.”