This consultation ran for 12 weeks, from the 20 December 2015 until the 12 March 2016.
The consultation covers proposals to introduce new secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, as had been anticipated when the Act was originally enacted. This proposed a single ‘Animal Establishment Licence’ for animal boarding establishments, pet shops, riding establishments, and dog breeding.
A total of 1,709 responses to the consultation were received. Of these, 1,386 were substantive responses that specifically addressed the questions in the consultation document.
Defra also received a total of 151 formulaic responses relating to a Kennel Club campaign.
Defra received a total of 136 formulaic responses relating to a Cats Protection campaign.
These responses did not specifically address any of the consultation questions, but suggested the following changes:
• A prohibition on sales of kittens under eight weeks
• The closure of loopholes that allow repeat commercial breeding for sale from the family cat or cats
• A clear definition of commercial pet sales (which might include a threshold of two or more litters bred or acquired for the purpose of sale per 12 month period and/or other factors suggesting trading)
An additional 27 email responses from members of the public and nine emails/letters from organisations were received that did not specifically address the questions in the consultation. These are discussed later in the document.
Points were raised that: “We do not see how one licence can be used to cover ALL animal establishments when the activities are so vastly different,” and “The difficulty with blanket laws is that they do not consider that some requirements are species specific.”