London Vet Show: Experts to unpick complexities of ‘dangerous dogs’ debate

With the Government having announced the details of the XL Bully ban following several tragic incidents of dog aggression, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is inviting the veterinary profession to discuss the issue of ‘dangerous dogs’ and the likely long-term effectiveness of breed specific legislation at a BVA Congress session during this week’s London Vet Show.

Titled Breed or Deed? Unpicking the complexities of ‘dangerous’ dogs, the session will feature voices from across the political, legal, veterinary, behavioural and animal rescue professions discussing the nuances of dog aggressive behaviour and how best to tackle it with public safety and animal welfare in mind.

The session will be chaired by BVA Junior Vice President Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux, who will be joined by an expert panel comprising:

  • Dr Neil Hudson, Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border
  • Dr Sam Gaines, Head of Companion Animals, RSPCA
  • Cat Henstridge, First opinion vet & social media influencer (Cat The Vet)
  • Trevor Cooper, Cooper & Co Solicitors

The debate follows on the heels of the Prime Minister announcing in September that the Government will ban XL Bully type dogs in England and Wales by the end of the year, following a concerning rise in serious and often tragic dog bite incidents. The proposed new laws were laid in Parliament on 31 October and, if passed uncontested, will make it illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon or allow XL Bully dogs to stray in England and Wales from 31 December. While some campaigners have supported the ban, a large number of animal welfare and veterinary organisations have challenged its likely long-term effectiveness. The Dog Control Coalition, of which BVA is a member, has called instead for a complete overhaul in the approach to dog control, which tackles the root problems of unscrupulous breeding and irresponsible ownership.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Dr Mullineaux said:

“Dog aggression and bite incidents are complex public health and social issues to which there are no easy answers or quick-fix solutions. With a fifth breed type now added to the list of banned breeds, and with cases of dog bites still increasing, it is important to carefully consider the short and longer-term consequences of the decision, as well as ask questions about how effective this step will be. I hope to see many of our veterinary colleagues attending London Vet Show at what promises to be an extremely interesting and important debate.”

The session will take place at the BVA Congress Theatre on Friday 17 November 2023 at 1.45pm. All London Vet Show attendees are welcome to attend BVA Congress sessions and to visit BVA at stand M70 throughout the event.

The full BVA Congress programme and information on The London Vet Show is available to view at:

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