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Workington MP demands Government tackles puppy smuggling

[S]ue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has called on the Government to act now to tackle the issue of puppy smuggling, during a Parliamentary debate on Wednesday 1st November.

In her speech, Sue said: “We’re a nation of animal lovers and we want to see our animals well-loved and living happy lives. Puppy smuggling just one of many serious animal welfare issues that MPs receive literally hundreds of letters and emails about from constituents.

“We want to see the Government do even more. That means driving up standards for online advertising and raising awareness of rogue pet dealers amongst the general public. Government agencies must be provided with the resources they need to tackle puppy smuggling in order to enforce the current legislation.

“As well as cracking down on the import of smuggled puppies, I want to see the Government commit to banning the third-party sale of dogs, which would help to drive down demand.

“Dogs should be available only from licensed, regulated breeders or approved re-homing organisations, and unfortunately the current licensing does not protect the welfare of all dogs or the interests of consumers. The only solution to protect the welfare of puppies is to ban third-party sales entirely.

“Puppies continue to be bred in large numbers in Central and Eastern Europe, sometimes in horrific conditions. They are subject to long journeys in cramped, filthy conditions with little or no food or water. Responsible breeders do not sell puppies through third parties. The third-party licensed pet shop market depends on and sustains low welfare breeding.

“As long as there is a market for cheap, intensively bred puppies, welfare problems will persist because the incentives for non-compliance far exceed the potential penalties.

“When we bought our dog, Max, we knew where to find a responsible breeder—but not everyone does.

“Banning third party sales will improve welfare standards, traceability, transparency and accountability. We need to protect consumers from irresponsible breeders, and help them to make responsible purchases. Animal welfare must come before profit.”

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