Parliament to debate ban on exploitative puppy imports

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Lucys Law to be introduced in Wales to protect puppies

Monday 7 June is set to be an important day for animal welfare in the UK, as the Parliament is set to debate two important e-petitions for the welfare of dogs relating “to the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare“.

Parliament will debate a petition to “ban the exploitative import of young puppies for sale in the UK”. With just over 128,000 signatures, the petition reads, “Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers.

“Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds and protect these poor animals ASAP.”

Animal welfare campaigner and TV vet Marc Abraham is calling for the minimum age for puppies imported into the UK to be raised to six months – a change charity Dogs Trust has been calling for for years, so far without success.

The current minimum age – fifteen weeks – is designed so that pups can come in three weeks after receiving their rabies shot. An extension of that waiting time, the charity argues, would strike at the heart of the puppy trade.

Not only it’s far easier to spot the difference between an underage puppy and a six-month-old one, thus increasing the likelihood of illegal pups being seized at the border, but it would also make smuggling far less lucrative: the demand for older puppies is non-existent compared to that of younger ones.

Another petition to be debated on 7 June is the one calling for action against the rise in dogs with cropped ears in the UK through a ban on the import of cropped dogs, which is legal and, campaigners argued, a convenient loophole that needs closing.

“Owners and breeders can send their puppies abroad to be cropped and then returned to the UK, only to claim that the dog is a legal import,” a statement by the  the Foal Group (Focus On Animal Law) reads.

petition against cropped ears parliament debate
Staffordshire bull terrier Rocky’s owner was prosecuted for removing his ears with knife

“The ability to import cropped dogs has also been relied upon by pro-croppers to hide a very dark back street practice, where breeders or owners are undertaking illegal DIY cropping.”

In response to the petition, the Government said, “The Government welcomes further evidence on this abhorrent practice from the RSPCA. We will also explore options to tackle the import of mutilated dogs, consistent with World Trade Organisation rules.”

A petition to ban the importation of shark fins in the UK will also be debated.

The debate on all three issues is set to last 90 minutes, taking place in Westminster Hall from 16:30, and will be available to view on Parliament TV and on YouTube.

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