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Criminologists speak out on BSL
‘The UK does not have laws that discriminate against human children of criminals, in fear that they may also offend.'
Legislation ‘not in keeping with how humans are dealt with by the law’ 

Criminologists are calling for a move away from banning certain ‘dangerous’ breeds of dog in the UK, and focusing more on the way we, as a society, treat animals.

Dr Adam Lynes and Jenna Page, who are both lecturers in criminology at Birmingham City University, issued a statement on the current controversy over breed specific legislation (BSL), which bans four types of dog.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into BSL, which has been criticised for failing to protect the public from dog attacks, as well as negative impacts on dog welfare. Animal rights group, PETA, however, recently called for Staffordshire bull terriers to be added to the banned list.

Lynes and Page argue that BSL - which has led to hundreds of pet dogs being killed, not because of their behaviour, but because of their heritage - is not in keeping with how UK legislation treats humans.

They wrote: ‘The UK does not have laws that discriminate against human children of criminals, in fear that they may also offend. Whilst such positivistic notions were once a popular theoretical position in the early 19th century, criminology and the criminal justice system has since moved away from such deterministic and simplistic notions.

“Our criminal law system is deed (or attempted deed) orientated which is rooted in one of the most important tenets of the criminal justice system: innocent until proven guilty. Sadly, BSL does not extend this closely guarded principle to dogs.”

They further point out that there are ‘astonishingly’ high numbers of recorded animal cruelty cases. In 2017 alone, the RSPCA emergency helpline received over one million calls about animal cruelty and 141,000 cases were investigated.

With this in mind, they said ‘it is clear that perhaps the focus should shift from these supposedly dangerous breeds, and instead ask important questions about how we, as a society, are treating animals more generally.’

BSL critics also argue that since the Dangerous Dogs Act came into force in 1991, hospital admissions due to injuries inflicted by dogs rose by 76 per cent between 2005 and 2015. Furthermore, 21 out of 30 human deaths caused by dog attacks since 1991 involved non-banned breeds.

There are rising calls for the legislation to focus on ‘deed not breed’, making dog owners and handlers responsible for their dogs, rather than banning certain breeds.

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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BVA launches award to celebrate young vets

A new award has been launched to celebrate inspirational young vets who are making a difference in their day to day work.

Nominations are now open for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award, which is the first of its kind. It is open to all vets registered with the RCVS in the first eight years of their careers, working in any veterinary sphere, including clinical practice, research, education or veterinary politics. Organisers are looking for an ‘exceptional young vet’ whose work has benefitted the veterinary community or the workplace.

The awards are open for self-entry and nominations by 1 August 2019. The winner will be announced at London Vet Show on 14 November 2019, where a £1000 cash prize will be awarded, alongside a ‘career enhancing experience’ with Zoetis.