MP Neil Hudson has called on the Government to deliver an evidence-based policy that considers “breed and deed” for protecting people and animals from dangerous dogs.
At a debate held by Christina Rees, MP for Neath, Dr Hudson – who, as MP for Penrith and The Border, is the only vet in the House of Commons – implored Defra undersecretary Jo Churchill to ensure Government policy to protect people and animals from dangerous dogs reflected the reality that some dog breeds often exhibit potentially dangerous features, such as a powerful body and jaw structures.
The debate, and Dr Hudson’s remarks, were in response to a petition calling for change to existing legislation – the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 – which explicitly bans breeds of deemed dangerous dog and provides a standard by which dogs should be assessed for their identification as one of these breeds.
At the debate, Dr Hudson said: “Some dogs, sadly, are dangerous, and some behaviors are very dangerous as well to people and animals. When you put that in combination with powerful jaw structures and powerful dog bodies then that becomes quite frightening.
“Some institutions – and the honorable member opposite – talked about how we should be looking at the deed, not the breed. But I can suggest to the minister a middle ground moving forward, as we know that some breeds are dangerous, that we can be thinking about this holistically and think about breed and or the deed. ”
Responding, Mrs Churchill said: “I would like to thank my honorable friend for his intervention, and I know he speaks as both a member in this place and an esteemed member of the veterinary profession. I think pointing out that it is not an all or nothing approach that we’re looking for is very timely, and I thank him for that. “
After the debate, Dr Hudson said: “I am grateful for the opportunity to call for an evidence-based policy in protecting people and animals from dangerous dogs – one that considers both deed and breed. I am also passionate as a vet about this through my passion for animal welfare, as animals too will benefit from an evidence-based policy, which acknowledges the sad reality that some dogs are indeed very dangerous.
“I want to thank the parliamentary undersecretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) for her positive response at the need for an evidence-based policy. I will continue to act to ensure this country is a beacon for animal welfare, both as an MP and member of the EFRA Select Committee. ”