Collaboration is key to curbing puppy farm trade in Scotland

The Kennel Club has launched its report ‘Collaboration is Key: the way forward for Scottish dog breeding regulations’ ahead of its presentation at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The report sets out a collaborative proposal to modernise the Scottish licensing system following the recent Government consultation on amending the current breeding regulations, with the aim of preventing the abhorrent puppy farming trade and to ensure more dog breeders are licensed. Tomorrow’s presentation will allow Parliament, MSPs and stakeholders to discuss how to make the most effective changes which clamp down on rogue breeders and promote responsible breeders.

As existing regulations on dog breeding are poorly enforced, and similar updated regulations elsewhere in the UK have had little impact to date, the Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club’s ‘Collaboration is Key’ report proposes a solution to assist local authorities. Better collaboration would enable the Kennel Club to inspect the premises of dog breeders who are members of its independently accredited Assured Breeder Scheme, so valuable local authority resources could be freed up and used to inspect breeders who are not affiliated to any such schemes and are therefore ‘higher risk’ breeders. This would help avoid duplicate inspections, additional paperwork and associated costs.

This framework, laid out in the report in more detail, would also incentivise more breeders to breed responsibly by introducing a risk-based model. This system would see ‘high risk’ breeders require more frequent inspections, in turn incurring a higher licence fee, and ‘low risk’ breeders would require less frequent inspections and therefore a reduced licence fee.

Since the standards of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme go above the requirements necessary for dog breeders to receive a local authority licence, members of such schemes would be rewarded for being responsible breeders who meet high health and welfare criteria.

With almost three quarters of puppy buyers (73%) saying they would be interested in a list of breeders who have been checked by an independent approved body to help them find a responsibly bred puppy more easily, the proposed system would also help to inform puppy buyers’ decisions, increase demand for responsible breeders and help to eradicate puppy farms; ultimately improving the health and welfare of pet dogs and the standards of breeding.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “It’s so important that the Scottish Government learns from the both the successes and failures of other UK jurisdictions in their approach to updating dog breeding regulations, and strike the right balance between making proper improvements without overcomplicating the system for those involved. Our proposal is a natural development from how the Scottish Government is considering regulating animal sanctuaries i.e. by allowing qualified inspectors from other organisations to assist in the vast workload, which is why we hope they are open to working with the Kennel Club, through our UKAS-accredited Assured Breeder Scheme. We believe that by avoiding duplicate inspections, rewarding the best breeders and freeing up resources to target rogue breeders, this will benefit local authorities, puppy buyers and most importantly of course, the health and welfare of puppies being bred.”