Protecting our dogs

As a dog lover, and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, an issue I continue to pursue is the mistreatment of puppies bred by unscrupulous breeders who have no regard for their care whatsoever.

In the previous parliament I had the privilege of hosting the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in the House of Commons to shine a light on the illicit and cruel UK puppy trade, and to raise awareness of how anyone buying a puppy can be aware that their new pet is not an unhealthy, possibly puppy-farmed animal.

This month, the Environment Secretary built on plans announced before Christmas, outlining proposals to ensure that licensed dog breeders must show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made. Reforms include requirements for all licensed dog breeders and licensed sellers of all pet animals (including sellers who are not also breeders) to adhere to enhanced strict statutory minimum welfare standards linked to the animals’ welfare needs.

Further plans include the strengthening of regulations so that puppy sales are completed in the presence of the new owner, thereby preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first.

Adverts, including those online, will be regulated by ensuring licensed sellers of all pets, including puppies, include the seller’s licence number, country of origin and country of residence of the pet in any advert for sale. The sale of puppies, kittens, ferrets or rabbits below eight weeks of age would also be prohibited.

These plans are now under a public consultation which lasts until 2nd May 2018. It is being conducted by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, whose website contains additional information: www.gov.uk/defra.

I’d urge any Crawley residents who share my love of animals to take part in the consultation, either via email to: AnimalWelfare.Consultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk or by writing to: Animal Welfare Team, Area 5B Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency