I am delighted to have joined the parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce and support Dogs Trust in their efforts to raise awareness of and tackle the abhorrent puppy smuggling trade. I echo their calls for the Government to stop the illegal importation of puppies into the UK.
At the Dogs Trust virtual drop-in this week, I was told about the many heart-breaking examples of puppies being illegally imported into the Great Britain. Those responsible for this trade are making vast profits by exploiting innocent puppies, breeding and transporting them thousands of miles across Europe with little water, no food, exercise or toilet breaks, to then sell onto unsuspecting dog lovers here in the UK. Many suffer significant health problems and/or lifelong behavioural challenges, and some don’t survive, leaving their buyers helpless and heartbroken – as well as out of pocket.
At a time when demand for dogs in the UK has never been higher, I wish to take this opportunity to urge my constituents to really do their research before buying a puppy advertised for sale online, as it’s all too easy to be duped into buying a dog that’s been illegally smuggled into the country.
Currently, pet travel is governed by EU legislation, and as we approach the end of the UK’s transition period, we must ensure that we introduce revised legislation to effectively regulate pet travel and commercial movements as an urgent priority. Leaving the EU is an opportunity to strengthen, not compromise, our animal welfare standards and I know that Ministers are working hard to guarantee this as we look towards a future working closely with our European friends.
Dogs Trust has been campaigning on this issue for many years now after exposing this abhorrent trade through undercover investigations, and I am proud to be able to say I’m part of the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to help put a stop to puppies needlessly suffering at the hands of criminals.