RSPCA launches new strategy which aims to end illegal puppy sales

The RSPCA has launched its ambitious new strategy for animal welfare which promises to end the illegal selling of puppies in the UK by 2030.

The charity’s new ambitious strategy – ‘Together for Animal Welfare’ – also aims to reduce neglect and cruelty to companion animals, including dogs in England and Wales by 50% over the next decade.

It is hopes that steps which have been made since the RSPCA’s last strategy, Giving A Voice to Animals – such as a ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens, and a commitment from the government to increase the maximum sentence under the Animal Welfare Act from six months to five years – will put the organisation in good stead to achieve these bold ambitions.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “The demand for dogs and puppies for dogs is greater than ever and we have seen a huge surge in dog ownership during lockdown, which has also created a dangerous marketplace where illicit puppy dealers and bad breeders can make more money than ever before.

“Since 2008, the RSPCA’s officers have looked into 29,565 reports about the puppy trade across England and Wales. We’re working tirelessly to end the illegal selling of puppies; whether that’s dogs who have been bred in poor conditions, been exploited to make quick cash, or been imported from abroad to be sold on to unsuspecting families here.”

“We’re working hard to educate the public and influence buying patterns; we want more people to adopt rescue dogs but, ultimately, we want to ensure that all dogs are being bred with welfare as a priority,” Dr Gaines added.

“We’ve seen positive steps forward in recent years but there’s still a long way to go to ensure that all breeding prioritises health and welfare – rather than looks and commercial profit – and ending the illegal selling of puppies will make us one of the leading countries when it comes to dog welfare.”

The charity has created a strategy with eight ambitious priorities* for animal welfare by 2030 to change life for the better for all types of animals both in England and Wales and abroad.

The priorities for companion animals

  • Reduce the keeping of unsuitable exotic pets.
  • Ban the keeping of primates as pets.
  • Ensure all breeding prioritises health and welfare rather than looks.
  • Reduce the overpopulation of cats, rabbits and other pets.
  • Introduce compulsory microchipping for cats.
  • End breed-specific legislation by repealing the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The RSPCA’s core work of advocacy and prevention through information, advice and education are also a strong focus of the strategy with the charity aiming to reach half of million young people, promoting compassion and respect for animals, by 2030.

Chris added: “Like all charities, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges in the past year due to coronavirus and our strategy reflects that. But at a time of enormous change and uncertainty about the future there are some things we can depend on. The RSPCA is one of them. We will rescue and protect animals for as long as they need us.”

To find out more about the RSPCA’s new strategy – Together for Animal Welfare – visit the RSPCA website.