In 2020, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) filed a complaint against the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK), the Norwegian Bulldog Club, the Norwegian Cavalier Club and six breeders for violating section 25 of the Animal Welfare Act with regard to breeding. On Wednesday 10 November, the hearing begins in Oslo District Court.
NB: Since 11 February 2022, the NKK, breed clubs and breeders have all been represented by the law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig.
Lawyer Geir Lippestad, who represents all of the defendants, is looking forward to demonstrating in court how well and thoroughly they work with organised dog breeding.
– We are ready to have this case heard in court and present our arguments. I believe we have a very strong case, says Lippestad.
The focus is always on dog welfare
There is widespread agreement that dog welfare is important, and everyone wants healthy dogs to live long, happy lives and also bring happiness to their owners and society. There is disagreement, however, concerning just how this common objective should be achieved.
The NKK puts dog welfare first, and their overriding goal is that the dogs that are bred should be healthy and happy. The health issues are taken very seriously, and a lot of work is put into constantly improving the health situation.
The NKK believes that the organised breeding of registered dogs is the way to go in order to achieve the objective of breeding ever fitter and healthier dogs. By breeding from dogs with known parents and known health status over several generations, there are better chances of being able to combine dogs with desirable traits.
In this sense, there is no conflict between the NKK’s and NSPA’s objectives. Both organisations clearly wish to ensure good dog welfare and fit, healthy dogs.
Organised breeding with rules and regulations
The breeders who are part of the NKK system must observe a number of internal rules and regulations when it comes to breeding, and they also risk various sanctions if they break these rules. In addition, breeders can sign up for different courses and seminars to best learn how to breed robust dogs. The breeders who are active outside the NKK system are only subject to Norwegian laws, and there is no one with the authority to follow up on how these individuals operate.
Unorganised breeding behind closed doors
As the situation stands today, with no obligation to microchip dogs and no record available of the breeders operating outside the NKK system, unregistered breeding can in theory take place "behind closed doors".
There will always be a demand for dogs, and the Corona pandemic in particular has exposed how rogue operators readily take advantage of the chance to breed dogs purely for profit. The increase in demand during this period has led to several attempts at fraud as well as incidents where smuggled puppies have been seized by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The NKK therefore considers it vital to highlight the importance of the responsible breeders who operate with the best interests of the dogs and breeds at heart.
The NKK, breed clubs and breeders have together been served a joint writ of summons. In the summons, the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals claims that it is contrary to section 25, first and second paragraphs of the Animal Welfare Act to breed English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The defendants have all chosen to be represented by Geir Lippestad in this case. His law firm specialises in providing legal assistance to Norwegian organisations and associations.