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Regulating Companion Dog Welfare: A Comparative Study of Legal Frameworks in Western Countries

By June 2nd 2021June 15th, 2021No Comments

Document type: Scientific article published in Animals

Authors: Søren Stig Andersen, Iben Meyer, Björn Forkman, Søren Saxmose Nielsen, Peter Sandøe

Preview: There appear to be growing concerns among experts, NGOs, and members of the public about the welfare of companion dogs. With farm and laboratory animals, legislative initiatives have long been considered valuable tools in the management of welfare whereas the use of legislation to protect companion animal welfare has received less attention. We aim to rectify this by comparing legislation with an impact on the welfare of companion dogs in eleven Western jurisdictions. The comparison also provides a basis for further consideration of regulatory initiatives. We identify the rules applying in the jurisdictions and classify them in accordance with the following categories: breeding of dogs with risks to the health of the offspring, reproductive limitations, sales, surgical interventions, day-to-day handling, and killing. We demonstrate that, overall, there is significant variation across the jurisdictions. However, the degree of variation depends on the specific category. Whereas most countries, with the USA being a notable exception, regulate sales of dogs and ban surgical interventions, there is considerable variation in the regulation of day-to-day handling and the killing of dogs. Furthermore, different jurisdictions employ different regulatory tools to ensure the desired level of welfare for companion dogs. Overall, there appears to be real potential for dialogue and mutual inspiration.

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