Legislation vital to protect dogs

WE are a coalition of animal-welfare groups with extensive experience working with dogs in this country.

Ireland does not have the standards in place that are present in other countries thus ensuring that unscrupulous breeders are able to take full advantage of our lax controls, leading to widely reported incidents of over-breeding of animals in poor welfare conditions and the unwelcome title of the “puppy farm capital of Europe”.

The intensive dog breeding industry has acknowledged that approximately 90,000 puppies are bred annually of which 45,000 are exported overseas, primarily to Britain. This trade in puppies is valued at €29m. We strongly believe that permanent identification of these pups before they leave the premises is essential in order to identify the origin of the puppy.

Microchips are currently the only practical means of permanently identifying a dog — all industry experts agree that they are the most effective means of ensuring traceability. Traceability is essential in order to protect the consumer, to prevent the spread of disease and to enhance the credibility of responsible Irish breeders. There are other benefits associated with microchiping, including reducing the instance of straying dogs.

Concerns have been expressed by the Irish Greyhound Board that the proposed legislation may have an adverse impact on the greyhound industry in Ireland. We utterly refute that this is the case and we note that the minister has proposed certain concessions to the greyhound industry to allay any outstanding concerns. As welfare groups we are willing to accept these concessions as long as they do not compromise standards of welfare. The Dog Breeding Establishment Bill 2009 was drafted in accordance with the recommendations of the Working Group to Review the Management of Dog Breeding Establishments which reported in June 2005. The group was established by the then Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in response to a number of cases of mistreatment of dogs on puppy farms.

The legislation is quite simply about bringing our laws in line with international best practice, improving Ireland’s international image, and protecting the welfare of animals. The Dog Breeding Bill is a necessary piece of legislation that will ensure we will no longer be the “puppy farm capital of Europe”.

Dogs Trust Dublin

SPCA

ISPCA

The Irish Blue Cross

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