Last week Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a call for evidence on a ban on third party puppy sales. This follows the Scottish Government in December also seeking views on an aspect of the puppy industry requiring urgent attention: the regulation of animal sanctuaries and rehoming centers. These are both major moves which indicate these Governments are recognising the industry is complex with many problems. It also shows that they realise that in order to tackle it effectively, a comprehensive approach is needed. As animal welfare is a devolved matter, we’re pleased that at least Scotland and England appear to be moving in the right direction for the dogs – we’d like to see more from the Welsh Government.

The announcement from Michael Gove, alongside the plans for legislation laid out last week, due to be in force later in the year have been welcomed by many, including the main charities. The noises from those in the know are positive and the fact the Government has launched a Consultation indicates at least a willingness to listen before enacting something half-baked.

We are hopeful that if and when a ban on third party sales of puppies is introduced – and we sincerely hope it is – that it’s done with effective enforcement measures and closes off as many loopholes as the Consultation brings to the Government’s attention.  Like us, many of those who also understand what’s really going on nowadays in the puppy industry are calling for action to close loopholes such as regulating rescues to prevent abuses of breeding dogs continuing just in another form if third party sales are banned without this also being dealt with.

We will be submitting to both Consultations and know that much of what we understand on how the puppy business operates, from our first-hand experience, is shared by others. For years we’ve worked with the RSPCA and other organisations in fighting this cruel industry and we’ll continue to do what we can to get it under some kind of control. We’re committed to highlighting key areas that need including in any new legislation as we strongly wish to increase the chances of a ban being effective and the dogs being best protected. It’s what we’ve devoted many years to wanting to see happen.

We’re well aware that in the years we’ve been campaigning for breeding dogs and their puppies, we’ve seen apparently good ideas come to life, only to see terrible consequences soon appear down the line. The puppy smuggling crisis we’re now facing is the most obvious, where relaxed rules around the Pet Travel Scheme seemed such a good idea by many at the time and concerned voices were ignored. We don’t want to see the same happen again and support all calls for a ban to be done thoroughly and effectively.

Loopholes will no doubt remain, or develop. But for those that are already identified, it makes sense to get them under the nose of the legislators sooner rather than when it’s too late.

We urge everyone with an interest to contribute to both consultations.

Details of the Scottish Consultation – which is open until 4 March 2018 – can be found HERE.
Details of the Westminster Consultation – which is open until 2 May 2018 – can be found HERE.

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