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Let’s work together for better animal welfare

There was a great deal of focus on the role of the RSPCA in enforcing animal welfare legislation following the publication of the EFRA Select Committee report on domestic pets. Yet little note of the majority of other conclusions and recommendations which could make a real improvement to animal welfare in England. This blog focuses on those that got little media air time as it is a shame that the other 29 recommendations made in the report got forgotten.

November 2016

The good news is that we agree with the vast bulk of them. The RSPCA applauds the recommendations to improve dog breeding practices and get better monitoring and regulation. This is something we have long called for and stand side by side with the Committee calling on the Government to take the necessary action. They can do this as early as next year when they issue their licensing legislative proposals and have already intimated that they will bring in more consistency in how licenses are used, reduce thresholds for dog breeding and bring in tougher rules on sales of puppies and other animals.

Likewise, we are extremely pleased the Committee has picked up on the issue of equine identification - something many put in the ‘too difficult pile’. Horse welfare remains a serious problem and not being able to identify who owns them is a major problem for us and other horse welfare charities. We recognise the Government are taking overdue steps in this area and from an animal welfare perspective we hope the recommendations help to ensure measures are put in place so horses can be traced more easily.

A recent debate in Westminster highlighted the interest and support for tougher sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty. The RSPCA is well aware of the number of members of the public who express their dismay as seemingly small sentences for some abhorrent acts of cruelty against animals. Once again, the Committee has identified this as an important issue and put its weight behind those calls. Again the RSPCA supports these recommendations and we know from the recent Commons Debate that the Government is looking seriously at this issue.

So while there has been a focus on the areas of disagreement, the RSPCA very much hopes we can move forward on the great number of areas where we do agree. It would be a real backward step for animal welfare if all the positive recommendations supported by the vast majority of MPs and animal welfare organisations were overshadowed and ignored because a few controversial recommendations stole the headlines.

The RSPCA hopes to sit down with politicians and decision makers in the coming months to discuss this important report. We are of course happy to listen to concerns about how we work and if there are areas we can improve on then we will look at those. The bottom line is we want to work with our partners in the animal welfare sector, the veterinary world, the enforcement world and government, to improve animal welfare.

David Bowles

Assistant Director, Public Affairs, RSPCA

Find me on twitter @DavidBowles21

The opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.