People who put their pets on a vegetarian diet could be slammed with fines of up to £20,000 ($27,500) and a prison sentence of 51 weeks.
As people are becoming more selective with their diets and refuse to eat mean, many are trying to force their animals into the same lifestyle without thinking of the harm they might be causing them.
And according to a new law, owners who force their dog to go on a meatless diet could be in breach of animal welfare laws.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 states that you are required to feed your dog a “suitable diet”, which means that you could be subject to prosecution if authorities find that the diet you choose goes against the description.
According to The Blue Cross, all owners have a legal obligation to provide for their pet’s welfare needs.
Under section 9 of the act, all domestic animals have the legal right to: live in a suitable environment; eat a suitable diet; exhibit normal behaviour patterns; be housed with, or apart from, other animals; be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
Nowhere does the advice on a suitable diet for dogs mention vegan or vegetarian diets. However, it does mention that the food should “meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs”.
A good example of what we shouldn’t be doing as pet owners
Last year, Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said of the issue:
“In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act 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.”
Should a person be caught in violation of the rule, they could be faced with a heavy fine and even a prison sentence in worse-case scenarios.
Authorities could also take a person’s pet away from them and ban them from having one in the future should they fail to feed it a proper diet.
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