News Article

01 - 04 - 2017

2017 Spring News

As you may have been aware recently there was a debate in Parliament regarding the puppy trade. EFRA, the Commons Select Committee were once again pushing for government to halt sales of puppies through third parties.

This is something we wish to see although we fully recognise such a ban won’t end the many problems in the breeding industry. At the end of the debate, Defra minister George Eustice stated there will be no ban on third party sales. His reasoning being that it would be too problematic to enforce and to an extent we have to agree.

Another factor, is that we understand any ban, if introduced would only cover England so anyone wishing to sell pups this way could, and no doubt would, continue doing so in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. We know people are willing to travel miles for pups, we hear it all the time.

In a previous debate, Angela Smith MP said, “I think everyone on committee agreed and most of those giving evidence concurred that they would like to see an end to the 3rd party sale of puppies. However, much expert evidence said just banning it would not work. Unfortunately, the report has very little to say about how enforcement of a ban would work, how this would be paid for, and who would enforce it, which is disappointing”

She further stated, “I am also disappointed the Committee didn’t accept much of the expert evidence that a strong and effective licensing system for sales is more likely to have the desired effect of stopping 3rd party sales.”

And we agree Angela, EFRA gave no consideration to the organisations who work on the front line and pick up the pieces of the puppy trade. Instead they supported a ban with no plan.

It’s worth remembering EFRA Committee members are simply politicians with no expertise in the subject.

However, DEFRA did, it appears listen to those with expertise, and are moving on with new legislation. George Eustice has stated “A tougher approach to licensing provisions and to enforcement of the provisions in the Pet Animals Act 1951. First, we are placing beyond any doubt that online commercial sellers need to have a licence. It is not a pet shop licence; it is now a licence for animal sellers, and we will make that absolutely clear in revisions to the licensing conditions. Secondly, as with dog breeders, we propose that statutory conditions should be applied to all licensed pet sellers, whether online or a shop. These will again be based on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health model conditions for pet vending licensing of 2013. Thirdly, we have also made it clear that, as a condition of having such a licence, if breeders advertise online they will in future need to state their licence number. That will be particularly important in helping with enforcement. I believe that these steps to strengthen the licensing regime currently set out under the 1951 Act go a long way towards addressing the concerns raised.”

So there you have it, we are hoping new legislation will improve traceability of pups sold and may deter some of the worst offenders for that very reason.

We can only hope the situation will improve and we are grateful to Dogs Trust, RSPCA Blue Cross for their continued input and hard work with DEFRA to make things better for breeding dogs.

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