Dogs Trust recently welcomed Kevin Foster MP to an event at the House of Commons, to raise awareness of the urgency to progress the Kept Animals Bill which would tackle the illegal trade of puppy smuggling – a manifesto promise from the current Government.
More than 50 MPs and peers were represented to support the Dogs Trust event discussing with the charity how they can work together to end the illegal puppy trade by ensuring the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is passed by Parliament.
The Kept Animals Bill includes provisions to tackle abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which the charity has been exposing since 2014. Unscrupulous traders continue to take advantage of the scheme to illegally import underage puppies – which are often unvaccinated and in poor welfare conditions – to be sold to unsuspecting buyers, while turning a huge profit for themselves at the cost of animal welfare.
Additionally, these unlawful traders are increasingly transporting heavily pregnant dogs which can cause significant suffering and health implications to the mum, puppies and potentially unsuspecting buyers. The Bill would also help tackle this issue by restricting the movement of pregnant dogs.
Attending MPs and peers spoke with members of Dogs Trust staff about the importance of passing the Bill, and how it will improve various areas of animal welfare as well as learning about the charity’s ongoing campaign to end puppy smuggling. At the event, MPs and peers pledged to work collaboratively with Dogs Trust to end the illegal and abhorrent trade.
Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster said:
“I was shocked to learn more about the horrendous ways puppies are smuggled into the UK and the poor conditions they endure. The passing of the Kept Animals Bill will be a big step in improving animal welfare in the UK. I hope Dogs Trust’s campaigning will motivate the Government to progress with the Bill urgently.”
Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, added:
“I’m pleased that there has been strong attendance at this event with some engaging conversations, however it’s equally disappointing that the Government continues to stall the Bill which would be a step in the right direction to end the puppy smuggling trade, despite the clear support of its members in welcoming the Bill back to Parliament.
“The Government mustn’t sit on this any longer; it pledged to crack down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies back in 2019, and it could easily make good on this commitment by passing the Bill now.”
Notes to editors:
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The attached photograph was taken at the event in Parliament on Tuesday 9th May 2023, you are welcome to reproduce it.
About Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for 14,000 dogs a year across its network of 21 rehoming centres in the UK and one in Dublin. Dogs Trust has a non-destruction policy and will never put a healthy dog to sleep. The charity also focuses its efforts on understanding dogs and sharing that knowledge with the wider public to prevent problem behaviours that can result in relinquishment or abandonment. We are working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.
Pet Travel Scheme
* Breeders and traders have been able to continue their crimes by taking advantage of loopholes in the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), a set of rules which allows animals to travel between countries without having to go through quarantine. Dogs travelling under PETS must be at least 15 weeks old, microchipped, vaccinated for rabies, treated for tapeworm and have a pet passport.