Puppy farming to be targeted in UK government crackdown
Legislation to stop breeders keeping ‘battery dogs’ in appalling conditions will be unveiled in new year
Unethical puppy farming is to be targeted in a new government crackdown against unscrupulous breeders, including tight new restrictions for selling pups online.
Announcing the proposal, the prime minister said she understood the joy of bringing home a new puppy, but that pet owners needed to know that many had not had an ethical and healthy start in life.
The government plans legislation in the new year to tackle so-called battery dogs, born in large-scale commercial breeding establishments. Campaigners have uncovered farms where mothers are given just enough food and water to keep them breeding continuously, in filthy conditions and with no exercise.
Plans include tough new rules for licensed dog breeders, including showing puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made.
Breeders will only be able to sell puppies they have personally bred and online sellers will have to publish their licence number, and the pet’s country of origin and country of residence.
Puppy sales will only be legally completed in the presence of the new owner, meaning sales cannot take place unless the buyer has physically seen the dog.
In a consultation to take place when parliament returns after the Christmas recess, measures will also be explored to tackle puppy smuggling across borders and address the breeding of dogs with harmful genetic disorders, Downing Street said.
Theresa May said the new regulations would be part of a “drive to achieve the highest animal welfare standards in the world”.
“The arrival of a happy, healthy puppy, as I know myself, is a memorable time for a family, but it’s absolutely right we do everything we can to eradicate animal cruelty from our society,” she said. “The proposals my government is developing will be an important step forward.”
Downing Street said May herself had not had a dog since childhood, but had owned a poodle called Tassle when she was a child and later a mongrel called Lucky.
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, said dog lovers could often be seduced at Christmas time by puppies needing a home, but said buyers should check their purchase was being made ethically.
“At this time of year it is all too easy to be moved by images online or adverts in the local press advertising newborn puppies looking for a home for Christmas,” he said. “But what we don’t see is all too often a sad history of mistreatment and malpractice.”
Environmentalism and animal welfare are key planks of the Conservatives’ new electoral strategy after the general election. Ministers were blindsided by a huge public backlash when Conservative MPs voted down an amendment to the EU withdrawal bill to transfer the EU protocol on animal sentience into UK law.
May has since committed to recognising animal sentience in domestic law. Gove said the crackdown on puppy farming was the latest of the government’s proposals to improve animal welfare standards. It is set to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits under eight weeks old and make licensing compulsory for dog breeders.
Source: The Guardian UK