Like many animal lovers across the country, I was delighted with the Government’s announcement last month that it intends to introduce a ban on the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England. The ban will mean that anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten must either deal directly with the breeder, or with one of the nation’s many animal rehoming centres.
Removing puppies and kittens from their litter and mother too soon can often make them sick and traumatised. And, sadly, unscrupulous traders don’t give enough regard to animal welfare. Early separation from their mothers, introduction to new and unfamiliar environments and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys, can lead to serious health conditions and lack of socialisation for puppies and kittens.
The Government has already laid measures in Parliament which include banning sales of puppies or kittens under the age of eight weeks, ensuring licenced breeders show puppies alongside their mother before making a sale, requiring puppy sales to be completed in the buyer’s presence, preventing online sales where the buyer has not seen the animal, and insisting licenced breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves.
The Lucy’s Law campaign, which many of my constituents have written to me about, has been campaigning for this ban to be introduced to stop irresponsible breeders using third parties and ensure all breeders are accountable and I commend all those involved with this campaign.
The Government is consulting on its plans for the outright ban, ensuring the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life.
I would encourage anyone interested in this issue to submit comments to the consultation, which ends on 19th September 2018. This is the best way that the Government can capture everyone’s views on the subject. This can be done either online at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/third-party-sales/, or by emailing your comments to AnimalWelfareConsultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk.
The Government is enhancing the UK’s animal welfare standards across the board, ensuring stronger protections for animals. We are increasing the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty tenfold, recognising that animals are sentient beings in primary legislation, introducing mandatory CCTV into slaughterhouses and implementing new restrictions on pesticides, which harm bees.
It is our duty to leave our planet in a better state for our children, with stronger protections for animal welfare, as well as cleaner air and greener spaces.