A Celebration of Animal Welfare - Lucy's Law, Shock Collar and Cosmetic Surgery Bans!

Today I just want to really celebrate some of the improvements in welfare that have happened just recently over the last few months, or are about to happen. It is only through tireless campaigning from really passionate animal welfare advocates that laws like these are passed and it is important we celebrate and acknowledge their achievements.


Lucy’s Law

The first one is the introduction of Lucy's law to England, something I've talked about in my article about why you shouldn't buy a pet shop puppy. It's a law that aims to prevent and eliminate puppy farms or puppy mill. It boils down to the ban of third party puppy sales. So if you want to get a new puppy now in England, then you need to go to the breeder. You need to actually go to where they breed the puppies and so be able to see the mothers and get a sense of the surroundings. You can't go and pick them up from someone else, from a pet shop or anything like that. And this will cut off a huge area of demand for puppies that are coming from puppy mills.

So this is fantastic. It’s something that's been fought for for a long time by a lot of people. Their hard work has paid off!

Electric shock collar ban

Another thing that's happened recently in the UK as well is the banning of electric shock collars. There are some people who say that these give shocks that are only equivalent and nothing worse than a slap on the wrist. But really there are other ways that we can train our dogs than by giving them an electric shock through their neck. There's absolutely no reason why we need to shock them. And quite rightly, they have been banned, which is fantastic news.

Dog tail docking ban

So something that's happening a bit closer to home for me is that New Zealand is banning all forms of tail docking in puppies. This is great news. In other parts of the world there are maybe bans on docking tales apart from in working dogs. Actually there's some really good evidence that shows that only about 1-2% of working dogs will get a spontaneous injury of their tail and of those, 80 percent or more actually don't require any treatment more invasive than some antibiotics or light bandaging.

If you consider these numbers, it means that it's a really tiny number of dogs who will actually need any significant form of treatment for any form of tail injury. And so that, certainly in my mind, and thankfully in the mind of the people who have been campaigning for this and passed this law, doesn't justify the mutilation of all puppies.

Just because we've got used to seeing breeds, like your Dobermans for example, without a tail doesn't make it right. Unfortunately in Scotland there was a complete ban, but actually the Scottish parliament then changed their mind and allowed working dogs to be docked. In many other parts of the world there is a similar situation. We can do better.

Nova Scotia bans all cosmetic surgery

This leads to Nova Scotia who have just banned all cosmetic procedures in dogs and cats. This includes tail docking, debarking, ear cropping and declawing cats. Now, thankfully I've never practiced or lived in an area where declawing cats is a thing. It seems absolutely ridiculous and quite why anyone does it is beyond me.

Nova Scotia is to be congratulated for banning all of these procedures in new legislation that will take effect very soon.

The future of animal welfare

What will the future hold? We can look to push for these legislation’s to be passed in other countries. We can look to meaningfully prosecute people who are subjecting animals to abuse. Very often they get a slap on the wrist, a tiny fine, they get non-custodial sentences and they're not banned from keeping animals for life or even for any meaningful length of time.

Really it’s not good enough in this day and age where there's great evidence that people who abuse animals are at a high risk of going on to abuse children or to be part of domestic abuse situations. I think we need to be putting a significant marker in the sand and say animal abuse is not acceptable in our society and that if you do subject any animals to abuse, then you are going to be subjected to a meaningful sentence.

We don’t have to rely on legislation alone. Education is also incredibly important. Something I’ve spoken at length before is the problems with flat nosed dogs. Cats are the same, with many breeds having no nose and suffering from chronic breathing and eye issues. There are Dachshunds who suffer a huge amount of disc disease, German Shepherds and osteoarthritis. It’s a long list. Just by being aware of the issues, spreading the word, we could make a real difference.

What do you want to see?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below. Is there anything that you would like to see change? Is there any legislation that you'd like to see that gets brought in? Finn’s Law is currently going through parliament in the UK which looks at providing greater protection to police dogs and horses, which is something to keep an eye on, but is there anything else that you think should happen? What are your views? Please leave me a comment down below. I'd love to hear from you.

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