I recently joined colleagues in signing a cross-party letter on behalf of the Dogs Trust Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to the Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith (Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), calling on the Government to take urgent action against the illegal dog imports into the UK.
I know that many residents are invested in this issue and I am pleased to report that a positive response has been received by the Minister, indicating his support to end puppy smuggling. This reply from Lord Goldsmith follows the publication of DEFRA’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which can be found here.
Over the past six years, I know that Dogs Trust have been calling on the Government to crack down on the cruel puppy smuggling trade, and so I am delighted to join them in welcoming the commitment to tackle the problem in the Government’s action plan.
The Government has also pledged to:
- Increase the minimum age that dogs can be imported into the country to make importing puppies less lucrative and make it easier to spot underage pups.
- Reduce the number of dogs that can be moved under the pet travel rules to prevent criminals taking advantage of loopholes in the Pet Travel Scheme.
- Restrict the ability to move heavily pregnant dogs into the country.
- Ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears or docked tails.
The Action Plan also includes measures to deal with other issues that affect dog welfare, including:
- Tackling pet theft
- Banning remote controlled electronic training collars
- Reviewing the operation of the current microchip database systems
- Licensing of animal sanctuaries, rescue & rehoming centres
My colleagues and I see this as a huge step in the right direction, and these measures have the potential to be a very significant milestone in dog and wider animal welfare. Of course, more work needs to be done and so I will support the work of Dogs Trust and other animal welfare charities in helping it all happen.
The response from Lord Goldsmith can be read below.