The aim of the project and its report is to alleviate welfare problems arising from harmful animal breeding in dogs. The report is a continuation of the study published in 2020: “The enhancing enforcement of animal protection legislation related to animal breeding. Report from the problems and means of intervention in dog breeding”. The first part focused on the hereditary characteristics of brachycephalic dogs that require the most urgent enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.
This study establishes surveillance criteria and threshold, that will meet the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, for skin and eye diseases, chondrodysplasia, growth disorders of joints, behavioural disorders, inbreeding and for mutations that cause serious harm for welfare or severe breed specific problems, which have high prevalence in the population.
The breeding combination that produces a potentially sick offspring is prohibited under the Finnish Animal Welfare Act. However, there is no functioning legal practice how this part of the law should be interpreted and in what situations it should be applied. The report defines thresholds for situations where the authorities must assess whether animal welfare legislation has been breached regarding breeding and what would be the appropriate actions in a criminal case. The tools come for the use of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finnish Food Authority, and supervisory veterinarians.
The report will also be used to prepare the new Animal Welfare Act. Preparation of a legislative proposal is carried out at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. It is essential that legislation on animal protection will be developed so that prohibited breeding activities can be tackled in practice. The context of the new Animal Welfare Act needs more detailed legislation (a regulation), on which enforcement of the law can rely. The regulation should specify defects that exclude the dog from breeding as well as the hereditary defects and diseases or operations that veterinarians must report. This report provides answers to these questions.