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Animal Breeding: Disability

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 126593, tabled on 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what policies his Department has in place to prevent the breeding of animals with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

Answered on

1 March 2022

This Government takes the issue of low-welfare and illegal supply of animals very seriously. Significant steps have already been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England to crack down on unscrupulous breeders who breed dogs purely for financial greed at the expense of animal welfare.

Where the commercial breeding of dogs is concerned, animals are protected by the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations). Under the 2018 Regulations no dog may be kept for breeding if it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype, phenotype or state of health that breeding from it could have a detrimental effect on its health or welfare or the health or welfare of its offspring, and would include suffering from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

In addition, my department maintains Petfished, a public communications campaign, to raise awareness of issues associated with the low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes guidance on ensuring that a dog's physical appearance has minimal adverse impact their physical well-being and welfare.

More broadly, where an animal is subject to inappropriate breeding practices, whether for commercial activity or not, their welfare may suffer. To combat this all animals are protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The 2006 Act requires those in charge of animals to protect them from harm and to ensure they have five key welfare needs provided for. Those in charge of animals who fail to protect them from harm, or fail to provide for their welfare needs may be prosecuted and face penalties including a custodial sentence or an unlimited fine, or both.