New EU Rules Could Interfere With European Dog Shows

Here's an update on European dog shows and new EU regulations. Thanks to The Telegraph for this article. Dog and horse shows under threat from...

Joy  |  Jan 19th 2007


Here’s an update on European dog shows and new EU regulations.

Thanks to The Telegraph for this article.

Dog and horse shows under threat from EU
By Jasper Copping, Sunday Telegraph

Dog breeders, people who exhibit pets at shows and even competing horse riders could fall foul of EU rules governing the transportation of animals, it is feared.

Regulations drawn up to ensure the welfare of livestock also cover all other animals being moved in connection with “economic activity”.

The Kennel Club, the governing body for dog activities, believes the rules could snare people who breed and show dogs for a hobby. It has demanded urgent clarification from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) before any of its members or customers are unwittingly trapped. The British Horse Society also wants clearer guidelines.

advertisementThe rules came into force earlier this month and require anyone taking an animal more than 40 miles in the UK in connection with economic activity to apply for authorisation from Defra. Those failing to abide by the regulations could face prosecution.

Tony Baldry, Conservative MP for Banbury and a member of the Kennel Club, has tabled questions in Parliament demanding answers from ministers. Mr Baldry, whose pug Torres was the 2005 winner of the Westminster Dog of the Year, an annual contest run by the Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club, said: “There is clearly a duty to ensure that dogs are transported humanely.

“However, the problem is not responsible dog breeders, and it would be crazy if this EU regulation inadvertently penalised owners simply taking their dog to Crufts to be shown.”

Mark Weston, from the British Horse Society’s welfare department, said: “There are many areas that need to be clarified and so far, Defra seems to have been unwilling to do so.”

Any hobby riders who transport their horses more than 40 miles to competitions where there are small cash prizes are being referred by the BHS to Defra for clarification on whether they are taking part in an “economic activity”.

The Kennel Club has been involved in the consultation process over the introduction of the rules, which it hopes will help to clamp down on “puppy farmers”, people who make large profits by breeding several litters in a year, thereby endangering the health of the bitch.

The organisation believed it had secured promises from Defra that responsible breeders and people taking their animals to shows would not be affected by the rules, a position repeated by a department spokesman yesterday.

However, the spokesman also said that it would be for the courts to decide what counted as commercial activity.

The Kennel Club is alarmed by recent comments by Ben Bradshaw, a junior minister at Defra, who appeared to backtrack when he said that the rules would cover “professional” breeders.

A spokesman said: “We are seeking assurances from the department that the term ‘professional breeder’ does not apply to responsible dog breeders but to those intensive volume breeders who transport puppies with little or no regard for their welfare.”

Although Defra has provided an exemption for “pets”, the Kennel Club fears it could consider people who show and breed dogs for a hobby as “professional”, because money changes hands when they sell puppies so they can cover the costs of veterinary bills, DNA tests and screening tests.

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