I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the Dogs Trust’s campaign to end puppy smuggling. I very much share the concerns raised about this illegal activity and support the Dogs Trust's campaign.
It is vital that the Government acts quickly to end the illegal importing of puppies and other pets. When animals are smuggled into the UK, often at a young age and without the vaccinations or care that they need, it can cause significant harm to the animals and even lead to death. The way the pets are treated when being transported across countries can be absolutely appalling and no one should get away with treating animals in this way in an attempt to circumvent the law.
Furthermore, this is a consumer rights issue for people who buy pets. There are many cases of people buying dogs or other animals in good faith and then finding within a few months that their pet has major health problems, which can be extremely expensive to address. Yet there is very little in the way of legal recourse in these situations. It shouldn’t be the case that as a consumer, you have more rights buying a washing machine than buying a pet.
My party has been campaigning on puppy farming and pushed the Government to make it illegal to sell puppies in pet shops under eight weeks old and to introduce mandatory licencing of dog breeders. In our recent manifesto, we also committed to clamping down on illegal pet imports and increasing prison sentences for criminals involved in animal cruelty offences, as the current six month maximum sentence is too low.
The issue of pet welfare should be taken more seriously and I am delighted to join others supporting the Dogs Trust’s campaign to press the Government for better enforcement of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) and for stronger deterrents for those involved in the illegal importing of animals.