New puppy legislation a step in right direction, but must be fully resourced, say leading vets

02 February 2017

In response to the announcement today from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) regarding new legislation around animal establishment licensing in England, Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:

“This is a significant step in the right direction to improve the welfare of puppies and dogs in the UK, an issue our members are extremely concerned about as increasing numbers of poorly bred puppies are brought into veterinary practices. 

“Poorly bred and badly socialised puppies cause terrible health and welfare problems for dogs so it is right that Defra has made irresponsible dog breeding a priority.

"We particularly welcome the move to make the sale of a puppy under eight weeks illegal, the reduction in the number of litters bred requiring a formal breeder’s licence, and the moves towards a single animal activities licence. In the future we would also like to see that anyone breeding from a dog should be required to register with their local authority. 

“For these new measures to work in practice local authorities must have the necessary resources and support to fully enforce the legislation, supported by local veterinary expertise."

BVA, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) responded to Defra's review of animal establishment licensing in England in March 2016. 

“We hope the new legislation will encourage owners to stop and think about where they’re getting their puppies from to tackle irresponsible breeding both at home and abroad. Prospective owners should do their homework and always use the puppy contract and information pack to make sure they ask breeders the right questions for a happy, healthy puppy.” 

BVA Media Office