Defra issues note to local authority licensing officers
Any member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme that has three years of compliance history with the body ‘should be considered low-risk and receive the appropriate star rating’.
In a note to local authority licensing regulators, Defra states that the only exception would be if there was significant evidence of poor animal welfare standards or non-compliance found during inspection.
The updated guidance comes after concerns were raised about inconsistencies in local authority licensing. The Kennel Club has been lobbying the Government for several years on the issue, which came on the back of a survey it conducted with Our Dogs newspaper.
The updated document now states: ‘In relation to dog breeding, the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme operates to the higher standards, and is currently the only UKAS accredited scheme operating in this area of animal activities’.
The Kennel Club said that the use of the words ‘higher standards’ is significant as it gives clarity to the fact that members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme are considered to be low risk.
Defra also provides further clarification regarding the £1,000 trading income licensing exemption, which had caused confusion among all parties. Many believed this was a threshold for which anyone exceeding it would need a licence to breed dogs.
The note clarifies that the “£1,000 trading income as referred to in the guidance documents should be used as an indicator and not a ceiling as someone with over £1,000 trading income may not be a commercial dog breeder or pet seller and they may not be making a profit”.
Welcoming the updated guidance, Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “This is very good news for the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme as it means that Defra recognises the fact that ABS members have signed up to meet specific standards of animal welfare, which in most cases go way beyond those required of local authorities.
“We also warmly welcome the clarification on the so-called trading income exemption, which has caused significant confusion for many breeders and local authorities alike.
“The law regulating breeders is an issue on which the Kennel Club has been lobbying the Government for a number of years, so to now see this clarification is very encouraging indeed as it shows that the Kennel Club is being heard by Government on matters involving dog breeders.”