Pet Breeding is a practice that enables mating of specific breeds to maintain certain qualities and retain their characteristics. Today, breeding is not just a practice but a multi crore industry that involves number of pet shops and breeders. However, unlike any commercial industry, pet breeding is still a practice that solely for money purposes, tortures pets into living in shabby conditions and reproduce forcefully under strenuous environment.
To put an end to such malicious practices by pet shop owners and breeders, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, laid down laws in May 2017 to protect the speechless animals from heinous practices/intentions of man. Under these laws, the following are stated-
- As per the new rules and regulations laid, it is mandatory for every breeder to be certified of its registration, issued by the State Animal Welfare Board, and that is to be renewed every 2 years.
- Any person convicted of any offence to the animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (or the Wildlife Protection Act) is not eligible to be registered as a breeder, in the worst case, the offender is taken out of the system for good sake.
- To safeguard the interest and look after the wellbeing of pets, the State Animal Welfare Board has the right to inspect any breeding establishment for any reason, including on the receipt of a complaint from the public. Any inappropriate behaviour/approach of selling or breeding act report to the AWB by the public is looked into seriously.
- The new set of rules and regulations provide a stronger hand in dealing with breeders. Apart from monitoring the actions of breeders, the regulations help segregate irresponsible breeders by holding them accountable for violating the rules of the Act. Not only are the offenders/violators held for their inappropriate behaviours and business approaches, found by the State Animal Welfare Board, then they can cancel licences and file police complaints against them.
- The new regulations specify that no puppies, under the age of eight weeks can be sold. Since studies have shown that dogs can develop social anxiety if separated from their mothers and litter-mates before this age 5. The early separation can also cause behavioural problems. Thus, making it difficult for both the dog and its new owner.
- Due to lack of appropriate care, pups from mass commercial breeders are often in unhealthy conditions, thus resulting in heavy mortality. The new rules state that only vaccinated dogs who match the parameters of health criteria can be sold. Each puppy sold should be microchipped, and their treatment and vaccinations properly recorded. Making it easier for buyers to track the care that their dog has received, and also encourages breeders to take care of the health of dogs
- The new rules clearly mention that breeders should not engage into impulsive sale of dogs by displaying them in public places. They should counsel the purchasers to ensure proper care of the dog, once sold to them.
- To stop the cruel practices of ‘breeding’ dogs, the new set of rules makes it mandatory for the breeders to maintain all records of animals in the establishment, including ‘breeding’ dogs to secure their welfare.
- The practice of abandoning (or even killing) dogs who don’t meet arbitrary standards, or are no longer ‘useful’ (for example, ‘breeding’ dogs who are no longer fertile) is a major cruelty issue. The new rules make it imperative for breeders to rehabilitate pups that are not sold within six months via an animal welfare organisation. Maintaining proper records of all health related issues of the dog is necessary. In case of death, a veterinary doctor must record the cause of death, after conducting a post-mortem examination.
- Pedigree dogs, by their very nature, have a range of genetic issues due to generations of selective breeding. The new rules demand better record-keeping of pedigree dogs, as there are disincentives to breed dogs with near-relatives, and there is a paper trail accessible to potential buyers.
The Dog Breeding & Marketing Rules are a step forward to embracing the four legged animals into our society, but doing it justly is in the hands of consumers. By refusing to buy pets from unlicensed sellers, we can do our bit in safeguarding these pets.