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Soapbox: Sick as a dog

Why is the threatening side practice of some commercial puppy breeders being ignored by our councils? Every year, an increasing number of licensed and unlicensed breeders spread tonnes of dog faeces onto farmland, polluting our countryside and water courses, and spreading disease to our wildlife. Yet this highly concerning common practice, which threatens our health and our ecosystem, is being swept under the rug by officials.

Waste spread to grazing land has been going on unchecked for decades and it’s impossible to quantify the damage already done to the ecosystem. But still these practices are not being monitored and stopped by those with the power.

Ironically, last year the National Farmers Union published their ‘Love Your Countryside’ poster, stating: “Dog poo can spread disease to farm animals. Bag it and bin it wherever you are.” Not only spreading the diseases Neosporosis and Sarcocystosis to farm animals, dog faeces can also contain E. coli, together with an array of parasites such as hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms, roundworm and salmonella. Even after faeces is washed away by rain, parasitic eggs remain, potentially infecting anything that comes into contact; namely people, wildlife, farm animals and our pets. Jennie Rudd, Campaign Director for Naturewatch Foundation says: “Shockingly, local authorities in Wales are well aware of these practices and know they are inconsistent with environmental and health guidelines issued by Natural Resources Wales, yet continue to grant dog breeding licences regardless.”

To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, let's look at Wales. The country is home to many licensed dog breeders, several operating from their working dairy or sheep farms, with up to 150 breeding dogs. According to local authorities and public complaints, it is common practice for dog faeces, used-bedding and carcases to be mixed with farm waste and spread to land. Burning and burying used-bedding mixed with faeces is also common practice, yet deemed unsafe by Natural Resources Wales. In Ceredigion, 45% of licensed breeding establishments are disposing of dog waste unsafely, and in Carmarthenshire this rises to 84%. A combined total of 1913 breeding mums reside at these breeding establishments, not to mention the hundreds of stud dogs, juveniles and retired dogs. Assuming that each mum produces five puppies per year (a conservative assumption) licensed breeders alone are producing a staggering 9565 puppies annually. This equates to tonnes of dog faeces, which the local authorities know are being disposed of in ways that can spread disease to both animals and humans.

Not only should be protect our precious wildlife, but the thousands of breeding dogs and puppies that are suffering at the hands of unscrupulous breeders and dealers. As well as dog waste management, Pup Aid are also carrying out investigations to reveal tax evasion, violations of licences, illegal welfare conditions, illegal importation, unlawful transportation and unregulated advertising – all of which we will use to campaign for better legislation and policing of the puppy breeding industry. We plan to expose legislative failings and generate mass public pressure for the government to systematically clamp down on each of these means currently exploited by unscrupulous breeders and dealers to turn a profit. This in turn will ensure only the most conscientious and ethical of operators will choose to continue trading.

As part of our campaign to end puppy farming, we have launched The Great British Puppy Survey! If you have bought a puppy (up to six months old) from the UK in the last five years and it wasn’t from a rescue centre, please complete our survey. CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE GREAT BRITISH PUPPY SURVEY. The purpose of this survey is to understand in greater detail the puppy buying habits of the British public. The results of this survey will enable us to formulate an enhanced strategy for dealing with puppy farming, and the breeders and sellers of poorly bred puppies. You will play a fundamental role in ending the suffering caused by unscrupulous breeding of puppies. 

Free speech is a right that is worth preserving. Every month we give our SOAPBOX pages to others to tell us their view of the world. 

In Ceredigion, 45% of licensed breeding establishments are disposing of dog waste unsafely, and in Carmarthenshire this rises to 84%.

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