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John Burns Blog :: VAT on Guide Dog food

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A BBC news item from 17th May has just been brought to my attention.  You can read all about it via this link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18084228

Labour MP David Blunkett has called on the Treasury to exempt guide dog food from VAT in the same way as is “special high protein food eaten by racing greyhounds and other working dogs".

Treasury Minister David Gawke in rejecting the idea said, according to the article, that the definition of a working dog was based on the type of food consumed rather than the role performed.  That really is, if you’ll forgive the metaphorical species-crossover, putting the cart before the horse.  “I eat high protein food; therefore I am a working dog”.

The Guide Dogs Association claims that high protein food is unsuitable for guide dogs as it “lessens the owner's control over their dog's toilet habits".

I venture to suggest that high protein food is not suitable for guide dogs because it will make them excitable, hyperactive and aggressive.

As usual, where Burns leads, others follow.  I foresaw this problem a number of years ago when we launched the Burns ALERT range of foods for assistance dogs.  These are specifically formulated to meet the needs of all assistance dogs including guide dogs and are VAT-free. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association could save themselves the £300k VAT AND have food suitable for their needs if they recommended Burns.  They claim they are spending £1.8 million a year on food. I’d happily supply all their food for £1.5 million, and save them a cool 300 grand a year.  Still – another cross species metaphor – that’s probably chicken feed to them.

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