The new codes of practice for owners of dogs, cats and horses, just released for consultation, are part of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to prevent cruelty. The guidance says that breaching the three codes will not in itself be a crime, but it could prove to be the deciding factor in whether an individual is found guilty in court of a pet welfare offence – which carries a maximum jail sentence of six months or a fine of up to £20,000. Opposition policiticans criticised the "over the top" rules that "take people for fools".
However, Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said the new laws afford animals "greater protection than ever before". Launching the eight-week consultation, Mr Benn said: "These three new codes of practice will outline the responsibilities of owners under the Act and give practical advice on how to fulfil them. This means no one will be able to claim ignorance as an excuse for mistreating any animal."
The guidelines cover the environment for animals, diet, the company they enjoy, ensuring they exhibit normal behaviour patterns, as well as health and welfare issues.
The code of practice for dogs advises against taking a dog for a walk during the hottest part of the day or feeding it less than an hour before vigorous exercise in order to avoid "bloating". Owners should groom dogs with long hair at least once a day and all dogs should have teeth cleaned with dog chews or canine toothpaste as part of routine care.
Training dogs should be done through "positive reinforcement" rather than punishment that can lead to behavioural problems in the future. Owners can spot signs of stress such as barking excessively, urinating indoors or yawning when not tired.
Is there any part of our lives these people don't want to regulate ? I'll be 'barking excessively' if I read many more stories like the above.
The de-Christianisation of Britain continues ...
Plans to end the dominance of the Anglican faith at the daily opening of Parliament and have multi-faith prayers modelled on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day are to be considered by the House of Lords' procedure committee.
The change could lead to a rotational approach to daily prayers, where different faiths are represented on a particular day, in theway the Today programme gives a voice to different religions throughout the week.
Lord Brabazon of Tara, the chairman of the committee, is to look at a number of ideas being drafted by the Sikh peer Lord Rana and other peers. Under current arrangements, all sittings in both Houses begin with prayers which follow the Christian faith, a tradition which began in the middle of the 16th century.
Bonita Meyersfeld, an adviser to Lord Rana, said the crossbench peer had gathered support for a number of proposals, one of which was a system based on Thought for the Day. The idea is supported by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Roberts of Llandudno, a Methodist minister. Attendance at morning prayers is voluntary but members of the public are excluded.
Aaargh ! Woof ! Woof !