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Reframing Discussions - What is needed for progress?

Brenda Bonnett

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Reframing Discussions - What is needed for progress?

A webinar sponsored by the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), the UK Centre for Animal Law (A-LAW) and Our Dogs Magazine.


December 1st, 2020 saw well over a hundred concerned and committed dog people joined virtually in discussions with IPFD CEO Dr. Brenda Bonnett. Organized and spearheaded by Marc Abraham, BVM&S MRCVS, and Lisa Cameron, MP.

In September, IPFD published an article entitled: Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs: A Call for Respectful Dialogue, Collaboration and Collective Actions.  The goal is to bring together all those individuals and organizations who believe that our world is better because we share it with dogs; who believe that pedigree dogs and all dogs deserve good health and welfare; that people involved with dogs have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of dogs whether they are involved as owners, breeders, veterinarians, legislators, in the pet industry or other; that the diversity of ways in which people interact with dogs varies internationally, and traditions and cultures should be respected, but never at the expense of basic dog health and welfare.

Key UK canine publication Our Dogs published an opinion piece and a column by David Cavill on the IPFD Reframing article (content for subscribers only). | In a related blog post, IPFD CEO Dr. Brenda Bonnett reflects on Our Dogs' move to "wholeheartedly endorse" the IPFD Call to Action and publish our "Reframing" document - in addition to David Cavill's editorial. 

Why and what?

From APDAWG: "There are many stakeholders in this often complicated world of dog health & welfare. However, we must all first & foremost start with our our personal responsibilities if we want to encourage change. Dr Bonnett will give a presentation about her incredible welfare work & impressive collaborative activity, including pandemic puppy buying behaviour, the need for respectful dialogue, brachycephalic update, as well as a look at effective legislation & regulation of dog welfare."

  • Key participants/panellists: Chair Lisa Cameron MP, Marc Abraham, Tiffany Mitchell, Peter Egan, and others; as well as attendees representing many backgrounds and affiliations.  Thanks to all for their contributions!
  • The format included two talks by Brenda (see video below) that were presented separately and interspersed with polls, Q&As and panel discussions.

The Philippa Robinson Dog Welfare Award was presented to the individual or organisation that has made a huge positive impact on improving the lives of dogs & humans; the recipient for 2020 is Michelle Clark from Dogs on the Streets. Congrats for great work!

Goals and Highlights:

reframing blog stakeholders.pngIn addition to the description above, the webinar aimed to Identify benefits of inclusive and collaborative rather than unilateral efforts, and to be a call to action - for individuals, groups and organizations.

Key to the discussion was identification of the wide array of stakeholders that need to be engaged for effective solutions to the complex problems facing the dog world.  The impact of both the supply and demand sides of the situation were stressed.

Also key is understanding that, just as health/disease and welfare exist not as yes/no entities, but exist rather along a spectrum - so do attitudes and beliefs about dogs.  And it is that variability across countries, regions, cultures, and individuals that requires us to both identify where we are and what we need to do, as well as to be aware of (and if possible, accommodating of the issues facing other stakeholders) if we want effective, collective and collaborative actions.

Empathy was raised and discussed as an important part of communication and collaboration, even if human attitudes and feelings cannot be used as an excuse to ignore the needs of animals. Further tools are needed to help move from emotion to evidence in sensitive or contentious discussions.

Given the interests of APDAWG and many on the webinar, there was a focus on the important role legislation can play in improving dog health and welfare.  However, Dr. Bonnett called for increased engagement of all stakeholders in decisions and enactment of solutions, and implementation of monitoring strategies when actions are taken.

IPFD and collaborators will be coming forward with a Roadmap, tools, and suggestions as to how individuals and groups can move forward to make real progress in important issues of health, well-being and welfare.  Check into our evolving resources on IPFD's platform, especially Think Globally, Act Locally - Promoting Open Dialogue and Collective Actions.




Full Webinar:



Additional resources:

The UK Centre for Animal Law (A-law) is a charity which brings together lawyers and other people interested in animal protection law to share experience and to harness that expertise for the benefit of animals, by securing more comprehensive and effective laws and better enforcement of existing animal protection laws. 

APDAWG is an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) set up in 2017 to explore, highlight, discuss and challenge dog-related activities, legislation, and trends with the overall aim of improving the health and welfare of the UK's dogs and dog owners, and society in general.



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