The Kennel Club seeks clarification from Welsh Government on new animal welfare laws

Following the proposal of new animal welfare regulations in Wales, the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare is seeking urgent clarification from the Welsh Government amid concerns about the potential negative impact of the laws on responsible puppy breeding and buying.

Laid by the Welsh Government in the last fortnight, the draft Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Wales) Regulations 2021 introduce a ‘pet vending’ licence for anyone deemed to be in the business of selling animals as pets in Wales. The Kennel Club has raised concerns that despite the existence of specific dog breeding legislation in Wales, low volume breeders could fall into the scope of these new regulations. Based on evidence which highlights the failures of similar approaches to breeding licences in England, the organisation believes that this new barrier would deter responsible, low volume breeders from continuing and could result in an increase in puppy importing and farming.

As this newly proposed licencing threshold also does not appear to be in line with recommendations made from the independent review of Welsh dog breeding, and was not discussed during the consultation period, The Kennel Club is urging clarification from Welsh officials.

Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, commented: “The Kennel Club fully supports the main aim of this legislation, which is to ban third party sales of puppies in Wales, and we have long-campaigned for this vital step. However, we do need clarification that these regulations will not also result in the introduction of a new licencing threshold for one and two litter breeders in Wales; we don’t want the Welsh Government to take one step forwards and two steps back.

“We urge the Welsh Government to provide more clarity on these regulations and to also consider the unintended consequences for those low volume, responsible breeders in Wales who typically raise their dogs in loving, happy home environments, how the regulations fit with the recommendations from the recent independent review of Welsh dog breeding, and whether such a step would actually support the legislation’s aim of cracking down on bad breeding practices.”

The Kennel Club has engaged with and lobbied policymakers at every stage of the legislative process to ensure that any regulations enacted are both effective and fair, and do not disproportionately target responsible breeders. Dr Hayes added: “We need low volume breeders to continue to breed responsibly and meet market demand with happy and healthy puppies. This couldn’t be more important right now, as we continue to see astonishing demand for puppies during the pandemic, and rogue breeders and disreputable sellers cashing in.”

More information about breeding regulations across the UK is available on The Kennel Club website.