With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, Wales’ Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Christianne Glossop, is reminding people across Wales to think responsibly before buying animals as gifts for themselves or others this Christmas.
Since 2007, the Welsh Assembly Government has put in place a number of measures designed to enhance the welfare of companion animals in Wales.
The measures include:
* The introduction of Codes of Practice for dogs, cats, rabbits and equines, which set out practical advice to help owners and keepers to understand the welfare needs of their animals, which they are legally obliged to fulfil. Wales was the first country within Great Britain to produce Codes of Practice;
* The introduction of a ban on the use of electronic shock collars for dogs and cats in Wales;
* The introduction of a ban on tail docking for dogs, with exemptions for certain types of working dog;
* The proposed introduction of new regulations to change the requirements for breeding dogs in Wales.
While the Welsh Assembly Government has established a framework of standards for animal health and welfare in Wales, the purchaser and owner of pets and other animals have a vital duty of care to ensure these welfare standards are met.
Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr. Christianne Glossop said:
"Becoming the owner or keeper of a pet or other animal brings with it a range of long-term responsibilities.
"While pets can give a huge amount of pleasure, comfort and companionship, anyone considering buying a pet this Christmas has to decide whether they or the person they are buying the pet for have the space, time, commitment and money to provide for the pets’ needs now and in the future.
"Owners and keepers have a duty of care for ensuring animals’ health and welfare. They should ensure that they have a proper diet, are able to exhibit normal behaviour, are given appropriate exercise and training. Pets also need the company of other animals, and it is vital that they are kept in an appropriate environment.
"Some pets, such as micro-pigs, which are becoming increasing popular as so called status pets, need to be considered differently to companion animals.
"Micro-pigs are livestock and are subject to the same rules that apply to regular pigs. Keepers must register as a keeper of pigs with Animal Health, maintain movement records, identification and comply with movement restrictions and licence requirements.
"Pets are a long-term commitment, and should not be bought as a short-term Christmas gift.
"We want to ensure that pets have caring, responsible owners and a home for life – not just for Christmas."