New pet legislation is nothing to fear for the bona fidos
Pet insurance technologist Aquarium Software has welcomed tough new legislation aimed at cracking down on backstreet breeders; pointing out that big data can make it harder for dishonest breeders to ply their trade, while enhancing the ownership and the pet breeding experience for the bone fide and reducing premiums for all.
Announced by Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom on 2 February, the legislation requires anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of puppies a year to apply for a license and selling puppies under eight weeks old becomes illegal. Breaking these rules will see breeders facing an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in prison. The laws have been welcomed by animal charities, the British Veterinary Association and Aquarium have added their voice in support of the changes and how best to make the new legislation work.
“A crackdown on unscrupulous breeders is long overdue and this legislation is very much a step in the right direction,” said Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director at Aquarium Software. “This needs to be underpinned by the right resources and technology to help ensure no one slips through the net. Software can help by keeping vet and breeder records up to date and of course microchips are playing an increasingly big part too, but the impact will be limited unless the details are up to date and co-ordinated.
Authorities have been hampered in enforcing animal welfare standards by antiquated laws that have failed to keep up with the modern world. Diverse animal related businesses with buying and selling conducted online, have left authorities with an administrative burden second only to taxi and gambling licences.
“To be successful, the administrative burden will need to be cut and technology must play a key role,” added Colonnese. “The Government acknowledged one of the difficulties in developing policy is the lack of data with respect to licences issued and being forced to rely on estimates rather than reliable data. Hardly surprising with thousands of pet shops, breeders, riding establishments and boarding houses to consider,” he added. “A good interim guide for pet parents is to ask the breeder for a valid pet insurance certificate for the animal being sold. Our advice would be to walk away if no such insurance policy exists, as this could be a first indicator of breeder malpractice,” concluded Colonnese.
DEFRA proposes Local Authorities submit annual data in electronic form to ensure more accurate information, oversight and scrutiny, without which the new laws impact will be limited.