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British dog owners could face jail-time, $27,000 fines for putting pets on vegetarian diet

The UK has cracked down on its residents’ dog feeding habits, with hefty fines and jail time as a consequence for lawbreakers.

Over the weekend, The Mirror, a British publication, highlighted guidelines and suggestions by several organizations for how to feed their dogs. In addition, those who are found to be giving their animals nutrient-poor meals will deal with substantial repercussions. In the past several decades, as dieting and health have been promoted in the mainstream media, veganism and vegetarianism have been on the rise among humans. Some have considered putting their pets on a similar diet. Now they could face legal consequences as it is viewed as animal abuse- at least in the UK.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires dog owners to provide their pets a “suitable diet”. Owners found to be feeding their dogs an unsuitable diet could be prosecuted (The Mirror). A piece of legislation by Blue Cross also outlines several ways dogs should be provided for. It says owners have a legal obligation to provide domesticated animals with suitable living environments and diets. They also have the right to “exhibit normal behaviour patterns; be housed with, or apart from, other animals; be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease” (The Sun).

Daniella Dos Santos, the president of the British Veterinary Association spoke on the issue in 2020, saying, “the owner has the obligation to feed the animal an appropriate diet […] If your personal belief system means you don’t want to eat any animal protein, that’s fine, but that diet is not designed to meet the welfare standards of your pet. It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right. You would have to do it under the supervision of a veterinary-trained nutritionist.”

Not enough protein in a dog’s diet could lead to a deficiency and a myriad of health issues. Dog owners who are prosecuted for not adequately feeding their dogs could also have their pets permanently taken from them and be banned from ever owning pets again. 

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY STAR

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