What you can do

It's time Parliament did something about the puppy trade.

The fact that puppies can be sold in pet shops and by vendors trading through the internet and newspaper advertisements is one of the reasons puppy farms exist. Every major independent organisation involved in animal welfare opposes the principle of puppies being sold as a retail commodity and recommends that puppies should only be purchased direct from a responsible breeder.

The legislation which governs the retail sale of pet animals was introduced 60 years ago and has had only minor amendments since then. When it was introduced there was no internet, no mobile phone network and less than 50% of households had a landline telephone.Five years ago, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was passed and hailed by Defra as a major step forward which would raise standards in every area. Scotland has its own similar law.

It made the process of introducing secondary legislation to address specific issues relatively straightforward. One of the issues which were supposed to be addressed in this way within five years, at least in England, was the outdated Pet Animals Act 1951. The lack of progress on this matter was highlighted as a concern in the Post Legislative Assessment of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 prepared for the Commons Select Committee overseeing Defra in December 2010.

We think it's time for all of us who think Elizabeth Truss, the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and her officials have their collective heads buried in the sand, to let our constituency MPs know that we also don't accept the current position and want to know when the original intentions are going to be put into action.

The British Parliament only has powers to make new regulations for England, but if they do, it will strengthen the case for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to follow suit. So even if you live in Scotland or Wales, getting your MP to raise the issue is well worthwhile.We've drafted a suggested message which can be emailed to your MP by following the steps below. It shouldn't take more than about a minute to make your views known

  • STEP 1
  • Click on the link below to find your MP's contact details
  • http://findyourmp.parliament.uk
  • Enter your postcode in the Search box and click 'Find MP'
  • Click on the member's name for their contact details.
  • Note how they prefer to be addressed as Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Sir etc.
  • Click on the email link to open an email on your computer addressed to them.
  • STEP 2
  • Copy the message below and paste it into the email message you've opened. Of course you can change any of the content if you wish - it's only a suggestion.
  • Remember to also copy the subject line into the subject box of your mail.
  • Add the preferred method of address after the opening 'Dear'
  • Add your own name and home address at the end. You need to give your address so they know you are one of their constituents.

  • STEP 3
  • Click 'Send'
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for helping.
  • Think whether you know anyone else who would also like to help and send them an email - suggested text to copy under 'Friends email'
  • If you're on Facebook, perhaps you could also post a link here on your page
  • MESSAGE TO YOUR MP

    Dear [add preferred mode of address]

    I would be grateful for your assistance in raising an issue with the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

    It is widely acknowledged that puppies sold in pet shops are almost exclusively the product of puppy farms. In addition, there is a substantial trade in puppy farmed dogs conducted by dealers via the internet and local newspaper advertising.

    The conditions in which these puppies are bred are appalling. Many of the breeding establishments supplying the trade are in Ireland or operating without a licence in the UK. There is also substantial evidence of a lack of consistency by local authorities in monitoring and enforcing even basic health and welfare standards at UK breeders which have been granted a licence.

    Whilst there are some moves towards tightening the licensing regime for breeders in Wales, and hopefully soon in England and Scotland, pet shops and traders are free to buy stock from anyone they wish, regardless of whether the supplier is subject to UK law, or operating illegally.

    Every major independent organisation concerned with animal welfare has expressed the view that dogs are not a retail commodity and recommended that puppies should only be purchased direct from a responsible breeder.

    The current legislation governing the sale of animals in pet shops, the Pet Animals Act 1951, is now 60 years old. The welfare provisions it makes, which must be met by the conditions imposed by licensing authorities, simply do not reflect current best practice, nor do they cover the retail methods used in the 21st century.

    The Animal Welfare Act 2006 made provision for the introduction of secondary legislation to address specific issues. At the time of its introduction, Defra stated that one of the areas it intended to address in this way within 5 years of the Act coming into force was the sale of pet animals.I would like to know when the Secretary of State intends to instruct her officials at Defra to put in motion the process to replace the current outdated legislation and whether it is her intention that the sale of puppies will be better controlled.

    Yours faithfully [Your name] [Your home address]


    Contact us if you have purchased a sick puppy giving us details of seller. Also contact Trading Standards and the local council who license the seller. Other ways to help are listed below.

    1. Contact your local council and ask for details of:-

  • Licensed dog breeders
  • Pet shops licensed to sell animals
  • They should give you the full name and address of these premises, plus for dog breeders, the number of dogs they are licensed to have, and for pet shops, what animals they are licensed to sell.

    While writing to them, please also ask the last dates that these premises were inspected and the results of the inspection. You can ask for a copy of the latest inspection report but you must do this under The Freedom Of Information Act.

    You can find out details of your local authority here.

    Please e-mail this information to us.

    2. Watch the Channel 5 puppy farm investigation and forward it to all your friends.

    With our help Channel 5 exposed pet shop "Dogs 4 Us", which has branches in Manchester and Leeds, as retailers of sick puppy farm puppies. See the film here: investigations

    3. Join a protest near you – or organise your own

    These protests have successfully convinced pet shops to stop selling puppies, so please join if you can or organise your own.

    4. Raise public awareness in your area

    Download posters and fliers to hand out in your area. You can also write to your local paper to explain the issues, ask people to adopt from shelters and ask them to get involved.

    5. Support your local animal shelter

    They have to deal with the non-stop flow of unwanted animals and need all the help they can get. They are always in need of volunteers and donations so please help if you can.

    6. Contact your local MP

    Tell them your concerns about dog breeding, puppy farms and the rise of stray dogs in the UK and ask them what they are doing about it.

    You can find and send message to your MP here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/


    Please help our campaign, just right click on posters then "Save Image As..." or "Save Picture As..." then print out and display, thank you.

    If you would like to get more involved, please e-mail us here.

    Good places to display are vets, groomers and hairdressers.

    Images are sized to fill an A4.

    Click the leaflet to see it full size. This is a double sided leaflet which folds into three sections.

    leaflet1a

    Click the poster to see it full size.

    leaflet1b