Trevor Turner, B. Vet. Med., MRCVS
First published in January/February 2006 Edition
Just about a month after the publication of the Animal Welfare Bill (AWB) on 14th October 2005 our editor, Carol Andrews, e-mailed me ”Just wondering if you could do a piece for us on how the Animal Welfare Bill will affect boarding kennels/catteries, covering licensing, qualifications, buildings etc.”
In the month prior to receiving this e-mail I had spent far more time than I could rightly afford reading thousands of words in the dog and cat press on the Animal Welfare Bill and, I have to say, becoming more and more confused. As far as I personally was concerned, early discussions regarding that new Bill, occurring not long after we had celebrated the new Millennium, was good news. I was a great proponent since, at that time, I was deeply involved in a clutch of what can best be described as ‘animal hoarding cases.’ Some cases involved breeders and other well-meaning individuals running sanctuaries who were clearly under staffed, under resourced and very over stretched. As a result animals under their care were suffering. At that time and still today all that can be used are the powers of the nearly-a-century-old Protection Animals Act of 1911 which in all truth was hardly designed with pets in mind. More importantly, if convicted, these well-meaning folk were criminalised. To me, any legislation aimed at preventing rather than waiting till suffering was undeniable and then criminalising was nothing but good.