CHANGES to the Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) have caused outrage among some of its members. The Kennel Club has written to all its Assured Breeders telling them of new procedures and fees following the bestowal of UKAS accreditation this year.
Breeders must now be inspected before they can register ABS litters, and fees are to triple next year, rise again in 2015 and be six times higher by 2016. Those who have not been inspected successfully by a KC representative recently have been told that from January 1 they will need to be visited by a KC representative and pass an assessment – or inspection – before they can register their litters ‘in line with our UKAS status and enable the KC to continue to raise the standards of dog breeding in the UK’.
It costs more than £200 to inspect a breeder and maintain his or her membership, the letter goes on, and the KC will continue to subsidise ABS membership, but that annual full membership, including an inspection every three years, will rise from £10 to £30 a year, increasing to £45 in 2015 and to £60 in 2016.
Annual associate membership is now being offered to existing members who breed infrequently, who can pay £12 a year and pay an inspection fee of £167 when they want to register a litter as Assured Breeders. Members who have passed an ABS inspection recently have received their UKAS accreditation and been offered £300 worth of savings on items such as health scans, insurance and tickets to Crufts.
Social media sites were abuzz after the letters were received, with many members saying they were going to resign from the ABS. One, who said she received an ‘excellent report’ when she was inspected in 2011, said she was unhappy with the ‘huge hike’ in fees, which had to be added to the costs of fulfilling all the health tests which are mandatory as part of the scheme. She asked whether registration fees would be raised for those not on the scheme, such as ‘back-yard breeders and puppy farmers’, and wondered if ABS members were being penalised financially for being good.
Others accused the KC of using the ABS as ‘a money-making machine’. One asked why anyone would want to join the scheme if it was cheaper for people who produce many litters and do not health test. It was madness on the part of the KC, said one.
Some said they would rather donate their ABS fees to their breed rescue. The KC declined to comment on Saturday, saying a press release would be issued on Thursday.
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