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New regulation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture: Not only dog ​​owners shake their heads about the « forced walk » – Insurance for Pets


(bim). Federal Minister Julia Klöckner (47, CDU) has discovered animal welfare for herself. However, not – as one might suspect from her Agriculture and Nutrition department – for farm animals, but above all for dogs. They should be kept more appropriate to the species.
The regulation aims to include Torture breeding and the presentation of such misbred four-legged friends in animal shows are avoided. An advance that is commendable. The highlight, however, is the « forced walk »: « A dog should be allowed to run outside at least twice a day for a total of at least one hour ». For most dog owners this is a matter of course, which does not have to be specified by Julia Klöckner.
Herd guard dogs, which are supposed to protect grazing animals from the wolf, are « robbed » of their shelters, if they exist. This is because these are no longer necessary if there is adequate protection « against adverse weather conditions ».
These advances by the Agriculture Minister are all the more astonishing since the anesthesia-free boar piglet castration, which should be abolished in 2018, is still allowed until the end of this year at the instigation of the Bundestag majority of the CDU, CSU and SPD. It had taken many years until the – anesthesia-free – beak shortening against feather pecking in chickens was banned in early 2017. « Amputations with which farm animals are trimmed to the housing systems that do not meet their needs », as the working group for species-appropriate farm animal husbandry sums it up.
More animal welfare for farm animals
After all: The latest news came that the Minister of Agriculture is now finally campaigning for more animal welfare for farm animals, including due to larger stables and more exercise. For this purpose, 300 million euros are to be made available in the federal government’s economic stimulus program, which can be invested in animal welfare stalls in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the building law is to be changed so that barn conversions, with which more space and better conditions are provided, can be implemented for farmers without great (bureaucratic) effort in the future. Criteria for the keeping of pigs have already been developed, and further livestock species are to meet, the working groups for the animal welfare criteria for cattle and poultry.

In the new « Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance », meanwhile, the « compulsory dog ​​walk » is not only causing head shaking among dog owners. Wrongly, as Ministry spokesman Mathias Paul thinks.
The passage that dogs need sufficient exercise has already existed before, but this has only been specified. The new regulations primarily affect commercial dog ownership. With the passage on keeping guard dogs, one reacts to the current events with the resettlement of the wolf. The revision of the regulation, which lasted over a year, was a demand of the countries, which also have to implement these requirements, including controls and the imposition of fines. The regulation should give the authorities more legal certainty and better handling.
Background of the regulation: « The dog is one of the most popular pets in Germany. Incidentally, the number of pets bought by private households has risen especially in the previous high phase of the Corona. The correct handling of pets, the knowledge about them, is important, » it says there. And further: “Pets are not cuddly toys – their needs must be taken into account. It is important to ensure that dogs are kept in a species-appropriate manner. For example, that they get enough exercise and are not left alone for too long. We are now adapting the requirements for their posture to recommendations from experts.  »

The changes to the regulation essentially include the following aspects:

  • An exhibition ban for dogs that have torture breeding traits: The exhibition ban is intended to remove the breeding incentive to exhibit dogs with tortured breeding characteristics. At the same time, it should be prevented that the demand for these dogs increases. In addition, the exhibition ban is easier to monitor for the authorities, since the animals are actually visible. A difficult prognosis with regard to the characteristics of the offspring is not applicable.
    The amendment prohibits dogs with hereditary pain and damage from being exhibited or from organizing exhibitions with these dogs. This includes that hereditary parts of the body or organs are missing or unsuitable or remodeled for the appropriate use and that this causes pain, suffering or damage, behavioral disorders associated with suffering, any kind-appropriate contact with conspecifics themselves or a conspecific to pain or avoidable ailments or leads to damage or the posture is only possible with pain or avoidable suffering or leads to damage.
  • A tightening of the requirements for dog breeding: In commercial dog breeding, for example, one carer may look after a maximum of three litters at the same time. In addition, a minimum of four hours is given for daily handling of the puppies. This applies to both commercial and private breeding of dogs.
  • Special regulations for guard dogs: Special regulations are now being made for the special conditions when using and training herd guard dogs, especially because of the resettlement of wolves in Germany. So is i.a. clarified that it is not necessary to have a shelter when using herd guard dogs if another adequate protection against adverse weather influences is available.
  • In order to avoid inadequate keeping conditions, the applicable requirements for keeping dogs are specified. Keeping dogs tethered (so-called « chain dogs », not leashes) is generally prohibited. It is only permitted in the context of working dogs under certain conditions.
    The existing regulations on the required outdoor exercise will be specified in terms of duration and frequency. According to this, a dog should be allowed to exercise outside of a kennel at least twice a day for a total of at least one hour (e.g. walk, exercise in the garden, etc.). This is to ensure that dogs are given sufficient exercise and contact with environmental stimuli in the future. As stipulated in federalism, implementation lies with the federal states.
  • Change of the animal protection transport regulation: The transport time for transporting farm animals (within Germany) is limited to four and a half hours, if it is not ensured that at any time during the transport, in the area in which the animals are during the transport, a temperature of no more than 30 Degrees Celsius prevail.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is currently evaluating the comments received from the federal states and associations. This is followed by a hearing of the Animal Welfare Commission, the EU notification and the Federal Council procedure. The announcement is planned for the first quarter of 2021.

This is what the German Animal Welfare Association says
From the point of view of animal welfare, further regulations to protect all pets are absolutely necessary. The enactment of a pet protection ordinance could close existing gaps in the law and regulate the keeping, identification, registration, breeding and trade of pet animals effectively and comprehensively in a uniform manner. A revision of the animal welfare dog ordinance currently valid in Germany is to be welcomed and in many points a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. What is missing from the point of view of animal rights activists: Proof of competence before purchasing a dog (prevention, prevention of spontaneous purchases), an identification and registration obligation and more detailed information on the education / training of dogs.
This is what the Association for the German Canine Industry (VDH) says
It is imperative to seek the advice of expert advisors and the VDH’s scientific advisory board on some points. The VDH calls for improvements, including a definition of requirements for group keeping of dogs, lowering of the care key for commercial dog breeding, specification of the requirements for the whelping box and the puppy run as well as a prohibition of keeping dogs tethered.