Vets respond to shocking BBC Panorama investigation: Dogs, Dealers and Organised Crime

New, hard-hitting BBC Panorama and Disclosure investigations have revealed the links between organised crime and the breeding of dogs with extreme features. In light of these investigations, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling for urgent action on better enforcement and regulation of dog breeding and selling.

The two documentaries, broadcast on Monday 23 January, show how the growing popularity of breeds like American and French bulldogs has led criminal gangs to resort to cruel and dangerous breeding practices. The investigation also uncovers the impact of extreme breeding on the health and welfare of dogs, including links to the recent spike in unregulated canine fertility clinics and the trend for cropping dogs’ ears for fashion.

Responding to the investigation, British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Justine Shotton said:

“It is horrific to see unscrupulous individuals breeding dogs to meet the demands of fashion without any consideration for the health or welfare of the animals. Sadly, this BBC investigation doesn’t come as a surprise to vets and animal welfare organisations. BVA has long raised concerns about irresponsible breeding and its links to unregulated canine fertility clinics and illegal ear cropping.

“This investigation is a wake-up call to government to take urgent action to protect the welfare of these animals by introducing regulation for fertility clinics as well as banning the importation of dogs with cropped ears through the Kept Animals Bill. Such a ban would close the legal loophole that allows this trend to continue despite the procedure being illegal in the UK.

“The public also has an important role to play in stemming the tide of irresponsible breeding. Responsible pet ownership begins even before you get a puppy, so we’d encourage anyone looking to buy a dog to pick health over looks or the latest fashion and always speak to your vet for advice. Use the free Puppy Contact to help guide you on the questions you should be asking a breeder, to ensure you’re getting a healthy, happy puppy from a responsible source. We encourage people to report concerns around dogs with cropped ears and unregulated fertility clinics to their local government authority.”

BVA is calling on vets and members of the public to download its template letter and send it to their local MP, urging them to call on the Government to deliver its promised commitment to animal health and welfare by ensuring the continuation of the crucial and long-awaited Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill through Parliament. Download the template letter:

The Puppy Contract is available to view at: 

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