Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006
16 Mar 2017
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006 and potential implications for cat breeding
There is currently an amount of both incorrect and unsubstantiated information being circulated on social media and elsewhere relating to the proposed revision of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, along with some speculation on what the legislation might mean for cat breeders. I don’t wish to prevent discussion, but I’m aware that a number of breeders are becoming very concerned about the implications, as some have contacted me directly, and I’m saddened that rumour may be causing a fair amount stress for some.
Firstly, let me reiterate some points I have made before, but which may not have reached all: ·
- The GCCF is a member of the Canine & Feline Sector Group (CFSG) and I attend all meetings of the group. ·
- The CFSG is fully involved in the work relating to the proposed legislation (which is an amendment to the existing Animal Welfare Act 2006), and has been given an oversight role by DEFRA. ·
- There is no Bill as yet specifying the amendments because the scope of this is still being debated. ·
- The CFSG will see and be consulted upon the proposed changes and licensing conditions once they are drafted. ·
- This drafting work is currently underway and CFSG is receiving updates at every meeting ·
- Most importantly, the Bill Lord Black introduced some time ago is dead and not anything directly to do with the current work. Its clauses on regulating cat breeding have not been carried forward.
Over the past day or so I have checked on the progress made to date by the Expert Panel charged with drafting the Model Licensing Conditions. I mentioned this panel in my previous update – this is the group established by DEFRA as a working group to write the model conditions. The panel is made up on some members of the CFSG plus representatives from local authorities and it has been meeting since January.
My latest information is things are at the early stages right now and are still gaining shape, but it is absolutely clear to me that DEFRA do not want to be heavy handed and they want any proposals to be realistic. There is a good deal of work still to be done in drafting the model conditions, most of the discussion so far has focussed on dog breeding, with some discussion also on licensing conditions for boarding kennels and catteries. There has been very little mentioned as yet on cat breeding.
DEFRA intend that new licensing regulations will be enshrined in law as part of the revision to the Animal Welfare Act. The Model Licensing Conditions as currently being formulated do not include a specific Condition for cat breeding; there is a specific Condition for dogs, and one specifically for dog and cat boarding. Cat breeding will be covered under a third generic Condition.
Under the vending regulations anyone who runs a business breeding and/or selling animals will have to obtain a licence, but that will not stop people breeding from a home environment. They will have to show that the health and welfare of the animals is being provided for and that they are meeting certain standards.
As yet there is no definition of what constitutes a breeding business. I am assuming that there will be some threshold level or set of circumstances specified which will be used in determining this status, but cannot comment further as this panel is still to address this issue. I know that DEFRA are concerned about the number of puppies, kittens and other animals being sold via the internet, and this may be part of the definition. There has been absolutely no mention of the need for planning permission in order to obtain a breeder’s license.
The Canine & Feline Sector Group is working with the British Veterinary Association and the Pet Industry Federation alongside DEFRA to make sure the new draft regulations are fit for purpose and ensure high standards of welfare without causing unnecessary burdens for hobby breeders and business. As a CFSG member the GCCF is able to advocate for cat breeders during the process. As I have said, all proposals will run via the Group when they have been formed.
The next meeting of the CFSG is 24th March and licensing conditions is a specific item on the agenda.
I have discussed all of the above with the GCCF Board and have considered with them what we might do to prepare for breeder licensing. One thing I have suggested is that we explore accreditation for GCCF under UK Accreditation Service conditions.
The Kennel Club already hold UKAS accreditation for their Assured Breeder Scheme and I have a meeting with KC representatives next Friday, 24th March, to find out more about the process they followed to gain accreditation, along with it cost in terms of time and money. I also want to understand what benefits this gives to licensed dog breeders who are members of the Assured Breeder Scheme. There is an obvious read across to the GCCF Breeder Scheme and UKAS accreditation of our scheme could be beneficial once the new licensing condition are in place.
I will issue further updates once I have more information to share. In the meantime I do urge people not to make assumptions that cannot have basis in facts, as so much as yet remains to be determined.
Steve Crow - GCCF Chairman
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006
27 Feb 2017
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006 and potential implications for cat breeding
I have posted statements in the past to give you information about the Cat Welfare Bill introduced to the Lords by Lord Black and about the Government’s review of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. At the time of the last in May 2016 GCCF had just submitted written evidence to the Westminster Select Committee for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs charged with gathering information on which to base future proposals, and was represented in person at the Committee carrying out the same task in Edinburgh for the Scottish Parliament.
I gave a verbal update to GCCF Council last week on development to date and took some questions from delegates on the possible implications for GCCF breeders. I am aware that there has been comment and speculation over the past week on this matter and that people are concerned about what this means for our hobby. In the interest of clarity I am stating here the current known facts.
DEFRA has indicated an intention to review and update the regulations and licensing requirements relating to the breeding and boarding of companion animals, and of specific interest to us are any proposals related to cats (and dogs). In doing this DEFRA has sought advice and proposed models for how this might work. A part of this addresses regulations to cover pet vending from private premises (our homes), as well as reviewing the terms of existing licensing for commercial pet shops and boarding establishments.
At the end of 2016 DEFRA stated it proposed to expand its national group on licensing conditions, comprised of local authority representatives, to give it a broader role as a DEFRA expert panel to assist in the development of the licensing reforms. The RSPCA, Kennel Club, Battersea, Pet Industry Federation, Cats Protection and the British Veterinary Association were invited to assist drafting New Animal Licensing Regulations alongside local authority representatives.
In addition, George Eustice made a statement in the House on 9th January in answer to a parliamentary question. He stated: “As part of the review of animal establishment licensing schemes, the Government is proposing to remove the licensing exceptions in the Pet Animals Act 1951. These exemptions are for those in the business of selling either pedigree animals that have been bred by them or the offspring of an animal that has been kept by them as a pet, for instance, the offspring of their non-pedigree cat. We will be publishing our ‘Next Steps’ document on the proposal shortly.”
We need to await the publication of ‘Next Steps’ to see the detail. No date has been set for its publication as far as I can ascertain. I know work is ongoing on the model licensing conditions, a risk based assessment framework for animal activities licensing, and guidance to accompany the regulations, so there is a way to go yet before any precise information is released.
GCCF was not asked to participate on the licensing panel, nor were many other small organisations, including International Cat Care (formerly FAB). The large charities with their multi-million pound turnovers, giving an ability to run high profile national campaigns, carry far greater clout.
However, there will be consultations deriving from its work which potentially will involve the wider membership of DEFRA’s Canine & Feline Sector Group. GCCF has had membership of this since its organisation, and I have established many useful links with other members, including the Kennel Club, which shares many of the same concerns about licensing regulations. There is no intention to relinquish GCCF’s current position and I will be looking for opportunities to input into the consultative process whenever possible.
As I said in Council I think it’s important that GCCF does not react defensively, or with any form of outrage, to what may be proposed. It’s essential that we are designated as a forward thinking self regulating authority, to establish a recognised position with those drafting the legislation, and limit its impact on breeders who register with us, if at all possible. The link below concerns dogs, but indicates where I believe our path forward could lie. We have to demonstrate we are responsible breeders who do not need to be targeted - (see paragraph immediately after the quote from Battersea). Local Authorities efforts should lie with control of the ‘back-street’ businesses:
I shall be discussing this matter with the Board again at our meeting on the 7th March; there is also a meeting of the CFSG later in March. I will give more information as and when it is available.
The "Next Steps" document mentioned above is now available at:
Steve Crow GCCF Chairman
Additional certificate for Overall Best In Show winner
20 Jan 2017
From 01 January 2017 an additional certificate will be given to the exhibitors, pedigree and household pet, for the overall BIS Winner, where offered, as voted for by Council in 2016.
The exhibitor(s) of the overall BIS Pedigree and overall BIS Household Pet Exhibits, where offered, will receive an additional certificate at the level of award they are currently aiming for, or if they have achieved their current level at that show already, they will receive their first certificate for the next level.
The certificate will be issued from the office once the level of entitlement has been established. This will be when the results of the show have been entered and cleared, which is normally between seven and ten days from the date of the show.
The certificate will be issued by post from the office and signed by the office, and annotated to indicate the show at which it has been earned.
SUPREME SHOW MANAGER
01 Dec 2016
For more than 25 years I have been an enthusiastic member of the GCCF, Birman Cat Club, Yorkshire County and other clubs carrying out a varied and growing number of responsibilities, together with judging and show management commitments. Unfortunately this is putting enormous strain upon my diminishing ‘free’ time, a problem now compounded by my recent return to work (financially highly attractive!).
The result is that my home and family activities take still more of a back seat, something I am no longer prepared to accept. I have also noticed my previous huge enjoyment of judging has waned a little – this is not at all like me!
When I accepted the Supreme Show Manager 2017 role, I felt this fresh challenge would rekindle my enthusiasm and was sure we could really succeed with a planned “relaunch”. Sadly, for numerous reasons, I really do not feel that this is likely, and instead of feeling inspired, I feel rather disillusioned. It leaves me more determined to walk away to enjoy much more time with my family.
I appreciate that this will come as a complete surprise to you all, and can assure you all it is not a decision I have arrived at lightly. I will be ceasing all my involvement with the Cat Fancy from 1st January 2017. This includes the 2017 Supreme. In a year or so I’ll take stock and see how I feel.
I am sorry to drop this bombshell news to you all, but at the end of the day, as Nigel Farage so eloquently put earlier this year, “I want my life back”. I do too, and I sincerely hope you understand my reasoning, if not my feelings.
I wish each of you all the very best.
Bengal article in the Daily Mail
21 Nov 2016
On Friday 18 November, the Daily Mail published an article on Bengal cats by journalist Stephen Moss. In order to give Daily Mail readers a more balanced and accurate view of the breed, a letter was sent to the Letters Editor:
How sad to see the beautiful Bengal breed demonised by Stephen Moss in his article in Friday’s Daily Mail.
Contrary to the on-line headline about this “terrifying new breed”, the Bengal has been in the UK since the early1990s. It was recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1997, and granted championship status in 2005. The aim of the original breeders in the USA was to create the look of a small spotted wild cat with the friendly and affectionate nature of a domestic pet, and this is still the aim of responsible breeders today.
Anyone considering buying a Bengal as a family pet should understand that they are highly intelligent, alert, curious and lively. They are active athletic cats and need exercise and mental stimulation. They enjoy free access to the outdoors but this is only advisable in rural areas where the risk of road accidents and theft is minimal. Breeders highly recommend garden enclosure systems to allow a Bengal the freedom to play outdoors safely. Bengals can adapt well to life indoors provided they have human or feline company and plenty of space. Cat activity centres incorporating scratching posts, tunnels and boxes in which to play and hide and high level beds for relaxation and keeping an eye on what is going on are ideal for keeping an indoor Bengal happy.
So, in just the same way that you should not consider buying an active working dog like a Border Collie to live in a small town centre apartment, you should choose a cat breed that suits your lifestyle. It is unfair to damn a whole breed because of irresponsible owners that don’t consider the specific needs of their pet.
However, Stephen Moss does raise an important issue that is of interest to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, and other organisations concerned with cat welfare, and that is the number of kittens (of all breeds) appearing on pets for sale websites. These adverts are often from what responsible breeders refer to as “Back Yard Breeders”. Kittens bred without consideration for the specific needs of the breed, sold under age, unvaccinated, unregistered, possibly from parents that are not DNA tested for specific health problems. The public should undertake more research before buying a cute kitten on impulse from an on-line advert. There is plenty of information and advice to be had from websites such as that of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy www.gccfcats.org
Before purchasing any kitten, whether pedigree or non-pedigree, take a look at Cats Protection’s current “True Cost of Kittens” campaign to protect kittens bred for sale, and help change the law to prevent the sale of sick and underage kittens.
CAT OF THE YEAR COMPETITION
04 Oct 2016
Please notify of any spelling errors or title amendments ASAP as these will otherwise be engraved as is, unless notification is received in good time.
CAT OF THE YEAR WINNERS' LIST
I can be notified at
GCCF President Grace Denny
25 Sep 2016
It is with great sadness that I have to announce that the GCCF President Grace Denny passed away on Monday 8th August 2016.
A great loss not only as a personal friend but as a staunch supporter of the GCCF over a great many years. Our thoughts at this time are with Grace's sons and their families.
Grace's funeral was held at All Saints Church, Church Road, Alburgh, IP20 0DA on Thursday 25th August 2016, followed by refreshments at Alburgh Village Hall.
If you would like to make a donation in Grace’s memory that will be much appreciated. Donations will be divided between All Saints Church, Alburgh and the Air Ambulance Service. Donations can be made by cheque and sent to Allcock Family Funeral Services, Falcon House, 96a City Road, Norwich. NR1 2HD.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me
LAUNCH OF PROJECT PHOENIX
05 Aug 2016
If you encounter any problems when using the GCCF on-line services, please report direct to the GCCF office on firstname.lastname@example.org
and put PHOENIX ISSUE in the subject line.
LAUNCH OF PROJECT PHOENIX
30 Jun 2016
The launch of Project Phoenix is finally getting close!
See the full details, and what to expect on the Notices page.
Mrs Anne Gregory
03 Jun 2016
It is with deep regret that GCCF has to announce that Anne Gregory passed away on Tuesday, 31st May following a long illness.
Tributes to Anne can be sent to: email@example.com and can be read here.
A Eulogy for for Anne from the Chairman and Board of GCCF can be read here.
Anne Gregory’s Celebration of Life took place Monday 27th June
Brian thanks all who were able to attend.
Donations to Cancer Research UK