All puppies to be microchipped according to new recommendations to Defra

(TELEGRAPH)   An independent inquiry into dog breeding recommended that all puppies be microchipped before they are sold on.

Initially this should be done on a voluntary basis with the public advised only to buy dogs that are registered. However, the report will recommend that Defra amend the Animal Welfare Act and pass it into law.

This would affect the 6 million households in Britain that have dogs, three quarters of which are pedigrees.

The ten-month research, funded by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, was commissioned following a critical BBC documentary on inbreeding of pedigree dogs in 2008 and led to the corporation’s decision to drop its Crufts broadcast.

Speaking at the National Liberal Club Prof Sir Patrick Bateson, who wrote the report, said the measures would help vets to trace the breeders of dogs suffering from medical problems as a result of inbreeding.

Initially, Prof Bateson, the president of the Zoological Society of London, said: “It will be up to the buyer to check that the dog had been microchipped”, he said. “If the dogs don’t have one then they shouldn’t buy.”

However at a later stage, the registration would be made compulsory with fines or other sanctions for anyone found to be keeping an animal illegally.

The Kennel Club said it agrees with “compulsory microchipping of dogs” and puts the average cost of implanting a microchip at £25-30.

The information gathered would help to set up a computer system to collect anonymous diagnoses of inherited diseases from vet’s surgeries to see which conditions are prevalent in various breeds.

Other recommendations included advice not to purchase puppies unless they had been seen with their mother as part of more robust “accredited breeder scheme” to target dog farming and buying over the internet. An independent Advisory Council on Dog Breeding will also be set up to provide guidance.

“We need to find someone very high profile who has the charisma that Joanna Lumley has,” said Prof Bateson. “This would help the whole campaign to get going and force people to think.”

At present 90 per cent of bulldogs cannot give birth without Cesarean section due to inbreeding while King Charles’ spaniels can suffer from syringomyelia, in which they have brains too big for their skulls causing them pain and fits.

Prof Bateson said animals too closely related should be protected: “It’s certainly unacceptable to breed parent and child, siblings or granddaughter and grandfather,” he said.

The inquiry also called for changes to be made to the Dangerous Dogs Act and treat animal behaviour on a case by case basis rather than banning entire breeds such as the Pit bull terrier.

Prof Bateson said: “At the moment anybody who has a Pitbull has it confiscated and impounded. Making dogs illegal is a waste of time.

“If the dog has been demonstrated to be dangerous then it can be muzzled and if it’s not then it can be impounded. That is a system they have in America and Canada. Most of the injuries are done by things like Jack Russells.”

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