Pets at Home recalls food after cats ‘collapse’

Pets at Home is recalling AVA dry cat food after three cats became ill.

The pets “exhibited symptoms of sudden collapse, fitting, widespread twitching and general unsteadiness” the firm said, after consuming the biscuits from their range aimed at senior and neutered cats.

The level of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the cat food listed was much lower than the recipe specified.

Pets at Home said customers would be given a full refund.

“An investigation has revealed that, in the four affected products, the level of thiamine (vitamin B1) was much lower than we had specified,” the company said in a statement.

It added that the symptoms displayed by the three cats identified were “not the classic symptoms of thiamine deficiency”.

bags of cat food being recalledFour products in the AVA range are being recalled

The product being recalled is dried food or “kibble” designed for older cats and neutered cats kept indoors. The rest of the AVA range was safe to use, the company said. The AVA range is manufactured in the UK and sold exclusively at Pets at Home.

The Food Standards Agency, which is also responsible for pet food labelling, said a notification had been sent to vets to alert them to “the atypical symptoms potential for thiamine deficiency”.

A spokesperson for Pets at Home, Brian Hudspith, said it was important to alert vets as well as customers because thiamine deficient cats would usually present with quite different symptoms, including stiff limbs and the head falling onto the sternum.

“Rather than the more typical cervical ventroflexion (head falling onto the chest) associated with thiamine deficiency, in the three cases we saw the predominant clinical signs included sudden collapse, fitting, widespread twitching and general unsteadiness on their legs, which began suddenly after 4-6 weeks of being on the diet,” he said.

The three cats identified are all stable and recovering, he said.

The company advised customers to dispose of the contents and return the packaging to Pets at Home stores for a refund.

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39117832


Outrage as Government accused of going soft on animal abusers

Shocked animal welfare campaigners are savaging ministers for going soft on cruel animal abusers by refusing to bring in tough jail sentences.

Leading charities say the Government’s refusal to clamp down on thugs torturing pets and wildlife on a daily basis shames Britain’s claim to be a nation of animal lovers.

Innocent animals continue to be stabbed, shot, poisoned and scalded by sadistic owners and vicious thugs in full knowledge that the courts only have slap-on-the-wrist powers.

Ministers have steadfastly refused MPs’ recommendations to increase the current paltry six-month maximum jail for cruelty to a punitive five years behind bars.

The Government faces calls to come down with harder punishments for animal abusers

Turning down the call for increased penalties, ministers say there is nothing to “suggest that the courts are finding current sentencing powers inadequate”.

The Express launched a Cruelty Crusade last year in light of soft sentences being handed down to animal abusers.

Tens of thousands have signed various petitions calling for jail time to be increased, and the influential Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee recommended five year terms last year.

Sad looking puppy in chains

Ministers have so far refused to increase minimum jail sentences

As a nation of animal lovers we should be leading the way when it comes to doing all we can to stamp out animal abuse

Philip Mansbridge, International Fund for Animal Welfare

In the wake of ministers’ rejection, many of the country’s leading animal welfare groups today voiced their disappointment and warned of more horrific attacks on innocent pets and wildlife creatures.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: “It’s so disappointing that the Government has chosen to not take on board the recommendations from a recent EFRA Committee Report regarding increased sentencing for those that choose to abuse animals.

“As a nation of animal lovers we should be leading the way when it comes to doing all we can to stamp out animal abuse, but England and Wales currently have some of the lowest penalties in Europe for anyone who chooses to hurt a defenceless animal.”

At the League Against Cruel Sports, chief executive Eduardo Gonçalves, explained how he has to witness some of the most horrific scenes of animal abuse imaginable.

Sad looking cat in a rusty cage

He said: “If we don’t offer a serious punishment to animal abusers then they will continue abusing animals.

“I spend a lot of my time looking at horrific dog fighting footage as the League is working hard to stamp this out in the UK, but I know in the back of my mind that if we catch a dog fighter, the most they will get is six months in prison – and probably much less.

“That’s utterly inadequate and would be laughable if it wasn’t so shocking.”

The Dogs Trust says the current maximum sentences under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act are “woefully inadequate” and that it is disappointed that sentences have not been made more severe.

Sad kitten in a cage

Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden added: “We strongly urge the government to increase the prison sentences available for offences in England to five years in order to reflect the seriousness of the offences that are sadly carried out on a daily basis.”

In its official response to the EFRA report, the Government points out that in 2015 a total of 936 people were sentenced for animal cruelty, with 91 given immediate jail time, while 202 received suspended prison sentences.

“Current sentencing practice for offences of animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not suggest that the courts are finding current sentencing powers inadequate,” it adds.

For Battersea Dogs & Cats Home such a response is hugely disappointing.

Its chief executive Claire Horton said: “The current sentence for such offences is inadequate, both as a punishment and a deterrent for those who mistreat and neglect animals to the point of unacceptable suffering.

“This is an issue that Battersea, along with other key animal welfare organisations, has regularly brought to the Government’s attention and we will continue to speak out on the need for sentences which properly fit the crime.”

While the RSPCA has been told by ministers that its powers to bring private prosecutions are not being withdrawn, it also remains concerned that criminals it brings before the courts are getting off lightly.

Sad puppy in a cage

Jeremy Cooper, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: “We are disappointed the Government has decided to ignore the recommendation to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences to five years.

“Our recent poll showed that seven out of 10 people want the Government to bring in longer jail time for the most serious cases of animal cruelty and neglect.

“Our inspectors investigate shocking incidents of animal cruelty such as animals being scalded with boiling water, stabbed, shot, poisoned or forced to fight to the death. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

Article taken from: http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/764276/Cruelty-Crusade-outrage-government-accused-soft-animal-abusers


Jumpers are knitted for ‘discriminated-against’ unwanted dogs

Dog in knitted jumperSpringer spaniel Barney is one of the dogs to receive a new jumper

Jumpers are being knitted for “discriminated-against” dogs that an animal welfare charity finds among the hardest to rehome.

Dogs with dark-coloured coats are being overlooked at Scottish SPCA centres in Inverness and Caithness.

It is thought the dogs’ features do not show as well in photograph appeals for new homes as lighter-coated pooches.

Scottish Women’s Institute groups, including those in Aberdeenshire, have been knitting the eye-catching jumpers.

The knitting effort forms part of celebrations marking 100 years of the SWI.

SWI member Winnie Anderson and BarneyImage SWI member Winnie Anderson and Barney

Dogs in the care of the SSPCA at Drumoak, near Banchory, were among the first to get the colourful overcoats, designed to draw greater attention to the animals.

The SSPCA describes the problem of rehoming dark-coated dogs as Black Dog Syndrome.

The charity said that, in photographs, the dogs’ features and personalities do not show up as they do for dogs with lighter coats.

SSPCA superintendent Sharon Comrie said: “This syndrome really does affect the adoption of animals in our care and, through no fault of their own, black dogs are almost always the last to find new homes.

“It’s a really creative idea to knit coloured jackets to show these dogs off to their best advantage.

Dog in knitted jumperImage Lurcher cross Archie sporting a colourful woolly overcoat

“Knowing that the SWI has members in every part of Scotland, many of whom are extremely dextrous when it comes to traditional crafts, means that we’ll hopefully be able to help animals in the nine rescue and rehoming centres we operate in Scotland.

“Knitted jackets will be ideal because they will be soft on the skin, have an element of give and stretch, and can be created in any, or many, colours of wool.”

SWI national chairwoman Christine Hutton said: “Some of Scotland’s top craftswomen are making multi-coloured dog coats in aid of homeless pets desperately seeking loving new homes – to boost their appeal and help them become rehomed more quickly.”

Dog jumping
It is hoped that the knitting project draws attention to overlooked dogs

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-38990968


Tough new laws will ban the sale of puppies under eight weeks old

The sale of puppies under eight weeks old is to be made illegal under plans to crack down on so-called backstreet breeders and puppy farms.
Anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of puppies a year will have to apply for a formal licence under tougher rules announced by Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom.

Smaller breeders as well as commercial breeders will have to meet a “strict welfare criteria” and those who sell pets on the internet will be subject to the same licensing regulations.


Breeders who break the rules face an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison. Ms Leadsom said: “Everyone who owns a pet or is looking to introduce one into their life will want to know that the animal has had the very best start to life.

“Yet for thousands of puppies born each year to irresponsible breeders, from smaller operations to larger puppy farms, their first weeks are spent in cramped and squalid conditions without the care and attention they need.

“That is why we are cracking down on the worst offenders by strengthening the dog breeding licence and giving councils the power they need to take action.”

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home praised the plans as a “welcome first step”. The charity’s chief executive Claire Horton said: “It’s high time we put a stop to the many undercover backstreet breeders and large-scale puppy farmers that profit from their cruel treatment of these animals.

“No puppy should start its life in cramped, squalid surroundings, before being torn away from their mother at a few weeks old.

“So many owners buying their new pet would be horrified to know that this was indeed the case.”

Battersea Dogs Home 
 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (pictured) welcomes the new law CREDIT: LEON NEAL /GETTY

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “We are pleased that Defra will be taking forward proposals to ban the sale of puppies under the age of eight weeks by commercial third parties.

“We have called for a ban on third party sales, and refuse to register puppies being sold to third parties, but this new rule is a step in the right direction.

“We also welcome the requirement for pet sellers to provide written information about the animals they sell and for those who sell pets online to display their licence number.”

Article taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/02/tough-new-laws-will-ban-sale-puppies-eight-weeks-old/


New plans to crack down on backstreet puppy breeders

Proposals include reducing the number of litters a breeder can produce without a licence to improve pet welfare standards


Tougher dog breeding licensing rules to better protect thousands of puppies are to be introduced as part of a swathe of reforms to safeguard the welfare of Britain’s pets, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced today.

The plans to tighten up laws around selling pets and breeding dogs will make it completely illegal to sell puppies younger than eight weeks and require anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of puppies a year to apply for a formal licence. Irresponsible breeders who don’t stick to these rules face an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in prison.

The new rules will mean smaller establishments – sometimes called ‘backstreet breeders’ – which supply thousands of dogs to families each year, as well as larger commercial breeders, must meet strict welfare criteria to get a licence. Irresponsible breeders can neglect the health and welfare of the puppies they raise and may not properly vaccinate them, leading to steep vets’ bills and heartbreak for buyers.

The rules will also be updated and made fit for the modern age with anyone trading commercially in pets online needing to be properly licensed, to help make reputable sellers easily accessible to prospective buyers.

The plans also cover how pet shops, boarding houses and riding stables are licensed, introducing a single ‘animal activities licence’ to improve the process and make enforcement easier.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

Everyone who owns a pet or is looking to introduce one into their life will want to know that the animal has had the very best start to life. Yet for thousands of puppies born each year to irresponsible breeders, from smaller operations to larger puppy farms, their first weeks are spent in cramped and squalid conditions without the care and attention they need. That is why we are cracking down on the worst offenders by strengthening the dog breeding licence and giving councils the power they need to take action.

With more and more pet sales now taking place on the internet, it’s right that this market is subject to the same strict licensing criteria as other breeders and pet shops so that consumers are not misled. The plans announced today will help people choosing new family pets to be confident the animals have been properly bred and cared for from birth and are ready to move safely to their new homes.

Under the new plans, pet shops will also be required to give buyers written information about the animals they buy, with details of the five welfare needs owners must meet under the Animal Welfare Act around environment, diet, behaviour, housing and freedom from pain. This advice is particularly important when buying exotic pets, which can have very specific welfare needs.

Welcoming the plans, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, said:

As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust welcomes the Government’s review of animal establishments licensing in England and the range of measures it sets out.

We are particularly pleased that it will be illegal to sell a puppy below the age of 8 weeks and that there will be tighter licensing rules which will require sellers of pets to display their licence when advertising. We also applaud the move towards a risk based single licensing system which will incorporate those breeders that have gained UKAS approval rather than exempting them.

We believe that Local Authority Inspectors need support to enforce these tighter licensing rules. As such, moves to mandate the use of Model Conditions and for inspectors to be offered training and standards to be set is most welcome.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said:

We are pleased that Defra will be taking forward proposals to ban the sale of puppies under the age of 8 weeks by commercial third parties; we have called for a ban on third party sales, and refuse to register puppies being sold to third parties, but this new rule is a step in the right direction. We also welcome the requirement for pet sellers to provide written information about the animals they sell and for those who sell pets online to display their licence number.

As the litter licensing threshold is set to reduce from five litters to three we look forward to working with Defra on the new risk based licensing system, to ensure that UKAS accredited Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) members will continue to be inspected by the Kennel Club for the maximum licence length of three years. This will incentivise more breeders to join the scheme, and breed to a higher standard of welfare that the ABS requires, and reduce the inspection burden on local authorities.

Pet owners are also being urged to make sure their pet’s microchip details are up to date. Latest figures show 94% of dogs have been fitted with microchips, nine months after the Government introduced a law requiring all dogs to be painlessly fitted with a chip containing their owner’s details. But a Battersea Dogs and Cats Home study of stray dogs last year found that only 20% of their microchips contained up to date information.

It’s vital that owners who move house or change their phone number make sure they keep their pet’s details up to date, so they can be reunited should their four-legged friend ever go missing. Owners can check with their microchip provider that their details are correct.

Andrea Leadsom added:

It is absolutely critical that owners not only make sure their pet is microchipped, but that they also make sure details are kept up to date so they can be reunited if their pet is lost or stolen.

It is excellent to see that so many owners have taken action to get their dogs chipped, yet all too many still need to be rehomed because the owner hasn’t updated their details—heart-breaking for the owner and the dog, and easily avoidable with a five-minute phone call.

Article taken from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-crack-down-on-backstreet-puppy-breeders


Bid to put an end to the brutal slaughter of foxes for fun once and for all

Legal loopholes that have enabled hunters to continue killing foxes are to be closed at last say campaigners


Loopholes allowing fox hunters to flout the law and slaughter animals could be closed.

The Scottish Government has said it will look at strengthening legislation which was intended to bring an end to fox hunting in Scotland.

However, get-out clauses in the Wild Mammals Act 2002 mean that rather than bring the practice to an end, at least ten hunts are still in operation.

A review by Lord Bonomy has concluded that the legislation needs revised and strengthened.

He suggested that the main loophole that allows hunting to continue, flushing foxes with packs of hounds towards guns, could be interpreted as a cover to allow traditional hunts to take place.

His report also suggested that a code of conduct be developed and a system of independent hunt monitoring be implemented.

Now the Scottish Government has opened a consultation on his proposals, a move which has been welcomed by animal rights groups.

Harry Huyton, director of OneKind, said: “The commitment by the Scottish Government to strengthen the Act takes us one step closer to ending this cruel practice once and for all.

“OneKind welcomed Lord Bonomy’s report and we hope to see all of his recommendations implemented as soon as possible. Ministers must also consider what further action is needed to end fox hunting in Scotland for good, starting with closing the loophole in the law that allows fox hunting to continue under the guise of pest control.”

“Our priority is a real hunting ban in Scotland, but in the meantime voluntary measures and independent monitoring of hunts could be useful interim measures. We look forward to contributing to this process to ensure that these measures protect foxes as much as possible.

“Closing the loopholes and banning fox hunting in Scotland for real should be an urgent imperative for the Scottish Government. Not only is fox hunting cruel, but the fact that it continues 15 years after it was supposedly banned undermines Scotland’s reputation as a leader in animal welfare.”

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, said: “This is a good first step in making the law which prevents wild mammals being hunted, chased and killed for sport clearer and more suited to its intended purpose. We agree with Lord Bonomy that hunts are using exemptions within the current legislation as a decoy for continuing with traditional hunting practices and that their activities are incidental to pest control.

“We all thought the act would put a stop to hunting but sadly this wasn’t the case and we now look to the Government to keep the momentum going, following Lord Bonomy’s review, to progress towards a situation where hunting in Scotland is really banned.”

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I am determined to ensure the highest possible levels of animal welfare and Lord Bonomy’s recommendations will help us build on the advances already achieved.

“This package of measures will substantially improve the language used in the existing legislation, address inconsistencies in the law, and strengthen the scrutiny and accountability of hunts.”

Article taken from: http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/fox-slaughter