The use of the phrase 'companion animal' is used to describe the domestic animals which we may refer to as a 'pet' including cats, dogs, horses and often rats, hamsters, rats, ornamental fish and caged birds. Under this title areas like dog breeding and puppy farming often arise as well as the tricky subject referred to as dangerous dogs. There has been move towards improving welfare for companion animals since the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which set out specific guidelines for a duty of care for pet owners. More recently there has been discussion over the brreeding of pedigree animals as pets and how certain practice may be having a negative impact on the welfare of dogs in particular.
Pet shops and breeding facilities are currently licensed by local authorities and some welfare organisations feel that standards are not being met owing to a lack of resource and understanding. Welfare standards of horses kept in livery yards is also an issue which Associate Members like Redwings have highlighted and also the selling of horses at markets.