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Leading animal welfare campaigners and behaviourists have joined forces over a new initiative designed to curb puppy farming and back yard breeding in the UK.

www.ethicalbreeding.com, brainchild of top pet behaviour specialist and star of BBC’s Dog Borstal, Debbie Connolly, will become the UK’s only website to showcase breeders who health test, rear their animals correctly and offer a lifetime back-up plan at the time of purchase. 

Debbie, who runs SafePets UK, the highly-acclaimed training organisation dedicated to promoting responsible animal ownership, feels that poor breeding is the root cause of many serious dog problems: "Health problems account for a high proportion of temperament issues and greedy breeders, who don't do their job properly, bring misery and danger to dogs and owners alike. A breeder who refuses to health test is likely to be cutting corners elsewhere, and should be avoided at all cost."

Health testing, while run by the Kennel Club, is not compulsory and this allows many unscrupulous breeders to advertise their puppies without any questions being asked.

Debbie added: “This new site will change the landscape completely. From now on, buyers will have the confidence to select a dog from responsible breeders who put the welfare of their animals above everything else. In time, our approach should bring an end to the UK’s shameful puppy farming trade and replace it with a growing number of well bred, well-socialised animals who are far less likely to cause harm to those around them.”

The campaign has received backing from across the industry. TV Vet, Joe Inglis, said: “Supporting and promoting ethical breeding practices is vital for the health and wellbeing of our canine companion. Puppy farming is an abuse of our loyal canine companions who deserve to be brought up in healthy and loving environments, and I wholeheartedly support the ethical breeding campaign for encouraging all new dog owners to think about where their new pets are coming from.'

Vet Marc Abraham and Peter Purves have added their support via the new website.

Debbie Connolly has been lobbying MP's to try to get better legislation. Roger Baker, joint chair of Conservative Animal Welfare, has given his backing: "As Joint Chairman of Conservative Animal Welfare, I think it fair to say that this scheme shows vision and potentially has the ability to make a significant difference to the way in which we can improve the standards of puppy breeding in the UK."

With a string of high profile dog attacks hitting the headlines over the past year, Debbie Connolly feels people should be extremely cautious when researching and buying from a breeder: "The dogs that feature in these tragedies are not from responsible breeders.  If you want a happy, healthy pet that is safe around children, buy from a reputable, registered breeder who takes every step to ensure their animals are well adjusted and healthy. There is no such thing as a bargain."

The website address is www.ethicalbreeding.com and the first breeders have already registered. 

Further developments are planned for the site over the next 12 months.

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