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Britain bursting with unwanted pets – Discussion Forum looks at legislative loopholes

BVA | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

Loopholes in animal welfare legislation could be the cause of a rise in unwanted, neglected and sick animals, vets at the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) annual Discussion Forum in June will claim.

The charity will host a discussion entitled “Bursting at the seams: population management issues” with vets suggesting that the Government is failing to put in place measures to control and regulate on indiscriminate breeding as well as the sale and importation of animals. Speakers will claim that this has resulted in an over-population crisis which has compromised the welfare of a great number of companion animals.

Extensive evidence shows that despite animal charities highlighting and attempting to tackle over-population, the situation is getting worse

The RSPCA took in 14 per cent more abandoned, neglected or sick cats in 2014 than in the year before
The number of horses that equine charities took into care in the first quarter of 2013 increased by 40% compared to the year before according to a report by equine welfare charities
The number of declared puppies entering Great Britain between 2011 and 2013 has increased by over 780% from some European countries according to the Dogs Trust

The afternoon session at the AWF Discussion Forum on 8 June will see speakers explore legislative loopholes which have allowed these population crises to develop. Veterinary surgeons Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare, Maggie Roberts from Cats Protection and David Martin will offer solutions to address the situation.

Other topics in the Discussion Forum’s programme are

The science of slaughter – this session will discuss research to improve welfare at slaughter
Antibiotic resistance, the real world view – with speakers from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate as well as food animal and companion animal vets
Ethical dilemma – a treatment too far? – this session explores difficult treatment choices faced by vets in practice (interactive session)

AWF Chair of Trustees Tiffany Hemming said:

"This year's AWF Discussion Forum looks very exciting and I am particularly looking forward to debating how we might tackle over-population issues in companion animals and exploring some potential solutions with the wide range of delegates we attract."

The AWF Discussion Forum brings together vets, vet nurses, animal welfare organisations, students, the media and parliamentarians to confront current welfare issues and inspire change.

The AWF Discussion Forum takes place on Monday 8 June from 10am to 5pm at One Great George Street in London. Places are £95 with lower rates available for veterinary nurses, recent graduates and students.

Delegates are also invited to attend the AWF/BVA House of Commons reception from 7pm to 9pm.

To see the full AWF Discussion Forum programme or book a place visit     

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