The RCVS has confirmed that surgical insemination in dogs is prohibited by animal welfare laws and amended Section 27 of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct so that it now sits alongside tail docking, dew claw removal, prosthetic testicles and feline renal transplantation from living donors on the list of banned procedures.

RCVS Registrar, Eleanor Ferguson said: "Changes to the chapter of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct titled ‘Miscellaneous procedures: legal and ethical considerations’, specifically in regards to surgical artificial insemination in dogs, were discussed at a meeting of the Standards Committee on 30 January 2019.

"The proposed changes to the guidance were to clarify that surgical artificial insemination (AI) in dogs is prohibited by animal welfare legislation – specifically the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which prohibits mutilations. Prohibited procedures are defined as those which interfere with sensitive tissue or bone structure. Surgical AI in dogs is not one of the exemptions permitted within the Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007.

"Due to an unfortunate oversight, the guidance had not been updated following this legislative change, although, in the interim, the guidance still made it clear that surgical AI in dogs was unlikely to be in the animal’s best interests and could only be carried out and justified in very limited circumstances and for exceptional reasons.

"However, we apologise for the oversight, and as soon as the College was made aware that the guidance on surgical AI did not conform exactly with the legislation and regulations, a paper was prepared for the Standards Committee to consider as soon as possible and update the guidance accordingly.

"As always, if any members of the profession or the public have any questions about any aspect of our Code of Professional Conduct and supporting guidance, they are welcome to contact our Standards and Advice Team on"

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