UK News

Puppy farming to be targeted in UK government crackdown

Legislation to stop breeders keeping ‘battery dogs’ in appalling conditionswill be unveiled in new year

Unethical puppy farming is to be targeted in a new government crackdownagainst unscrupulous breeders, including tight new restrictions for sellingpups online.

Announcing the proposal, the prime minister said she understood the joy ofbringing home a new puppy, but that pet owners needed to know that many hadnot had an ethical and healthy start in life.

The government plans legislation in the new year to tackle so-called batterydogs, born in large-scale commercial breeding establishments. Campaigners haveuncovered farms where mothers are given just enough food and water to keepthem breeding continuously, in filthy conditions and with no exercise.

Plans include tough new rules for licensed dog breeders, including showingpuppies alongside their mother before a sale is made.

Breeders will only be able to sell puppies they have personally bred andonline sellers will have to publish their licence number, and the pet’scountry 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 Christmasrecess, measures will also be explored to tackle puppy smuggling acrossborders 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 thehighest animal welfare standards in the world”.

“The arrival of a happy, healthy puppy, as I know myself, is a memorable timefor a family, but it’s absolutely right we do everything we can to eradicateanimal cruelty from our society,” she said. “The proposals my government isdeveloping will be an important step forward.”

Downing Street said May herself had not had a dog since childhood, but hadowned a poodle called Tassle when she was a child and later a mongrel calledLucky.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, said dog lovers could often beseduced at Christmas time by puppies needing a home, but said buyers shouldcheck their purchase was being made ethically.

“At this time of year it is all too easy to be moved by images online oradverts in the local press advertising newborn puppies looking for a home forChristmas,” he said. “But what we don’t see is all too often a sad history ofmistreatment and malpractice.”

Environmentalism and animal welfare are key planks of the Conservatives’ newelectoral strategy after the general election. Ministers were blindsided by ahuge public backlash when Conservative MPs voted down an amendment to the EUwithdrawal bill to transfer the EU protocol on animal sentience into UK law.

May has since committed to recognising animal sentience in domestic law. Govesaid the crackdown on puppy farming was the latest of the government’sproposals to improve animal welfare standards. It is set to ban the sale ofpuppies, kittens and rabbits under eight weeks old and make licensingcompulsory for dog breeders.
Source: The Guardian UK

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