The government has announced a ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens in England to help drive up animal welfare standards.
The announcement confirms the government’s support for the prominent Lucy’s Law campaign and Defra has published a consultation on an outright ban that will mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten must either deal directly with the breeder or on of the nation’s many rehoming centres.
The steps follow a commitment by the Prime Minister Theresa May in December to crack down on cruel puppy farms and aim to bring an end to grisly conditions found in puppy farming and tackle a range of existing animal welfare issues.
These include the early separation of puppies and kitten from their mothers, their introduction to new and unfamiliar environments and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake.
All of which can contribute to a chaotic start in life and lead to serious health problems and lack of socialisation.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “A ban on third party sales will ensure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life. I pay tribute to the Lucy’s Law campaign, spearhead by PupAid, Care and Respect Includes All Dogs (CARIAD), and Caine Action UK, who have fought tirelessly for this step. People who have the complete disregard for pet welfare will no longer be able to profit from this miserable trade.”
The proposed ban on third party sales is part of a series of government reforms on pet welfare, including banning the sale of underage puppies and kittens and tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders.
New laws come into force on 1 October this year, banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks and tightening the compulsory licensing of anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs.
Today’s news has been welcomed by animal welfare charities across the UK. RSPCA deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright, said: “We’re delighted that the UK government has committed to a programme of reforms to animal welfare law, including this announcement on how to bring in the ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England.
“Our work to tackle the puppy trade means we’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact that unscrupulous breeders and third-party dealers can have on dogs and people. It’s disgusting that these sellers can make so much money from the misery of animals and prospective owners.”
London-based animal charity, Mayhew‘s CEO, Caroline Yates commented: “Mayhew is very pleased to hear that there will be a ban on the sale of puppies and kittens by pet shops and other third part dealers – a great step forwrd in improving animal welfare standards. We are delighted the government has taken on board the evidence supplied by Mayhew and other welfare organisations on this important issue that we have all been very concerned about. We purpory to be a nation of animal lovers. As such, bringing a pup or kitten into a family should never be a purely commercial transaction, where profit is the primary purpose, and where no thought is given for the welfare of defenceless animals that feel pain and distress as we do.”
As part of the animal welfare reform programme, the government is also bringing in higher maximum sentences of up to five years for animal abusers – the toughest sentencing in Europe.