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Independent Vetcare (IVC) launches illegal Puppy Trade Guidelines

In a first for the profession, IVC the UK’s largest veterinary group, are to release guidelines for their 500 practices giving them advice on how to educate clients and protect themselves from the illegal puppy trade.
The group’s Clinical Board set up a working party in 2017 to study the pitfalls that vets and their clients can fall into when they (often unwittingly) deal with illegal puppy breeders.
Clinical Board Chairmain Alistair Cliff explains, “Within the group we are lucky to have an expert on the Puppy Trade industry, David Martin MRCVS. He presented to the board the lengths to which puppy traders go to hoodwink clients and vets alike and we were all quite shocked by his research. With nearly a third of puppies in the UK being imported illegally we realised just how complex this situation has become. Both the public and the profession need to be aware of what is happening in order to make informed decisions and avoid risking themselves partaking in illegal activity. The way puppies are smuggled into this country and the conditions they endure before being presented as ‘family raised’ pets by bogus sellers in fake homes is disgusting. We have to reappraise the advice we have traditionally given clients because these criminals have developed work-arounds for all of it.  But it’s not only buyers that are being duped, many vets are often legitamising the criminals by vaccinating and microchipping puppies without challenging how they have been raised. As the UK’s largest group, with a reputation for excellence in clinical care, we thought it was incumbent upon us to act and give our colleagues guidelines on the issue.”
The guidelines have been warmly welcomed by vets in the group. Edward Davies MRCVS, one of the members of the working party, explains why, “There is a genuine desire for this help and advice in what can be a lonely and uncertain profession. Initiatives like this are the reasons I joined IVC. When I ran CheshirePet as a standalone practice I could never have had access to this research and and it’s great to our colleagues to feel supported in this way”

Independent Vetcare are also developing a ‘How to choose a Puppy” booklet which will be released under the branding of their accredited My Family Vets network. CEO David Hillier feels that this is an important point of differentiation for the group, “Recent consumer trends have led us all wanting to know more and more about the welfare and sourcing of animals and that obviously includes pets. I think our clients will appreciate the stance we are taking and the advice we are offering.”
Independent Vetcare was founded in 2011.