I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. Not only do I think it should be looked at, but I wrote to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions, and their response was very disappointing. Both of them wrote back and basically said, “Well, if you know of specific cases, report them; otherwise, we won’t do anything.” I think we need to see proper, from-the-top policy having a go through HMRC at those who are not paying tax and through the DWP at those who are not declaring it for other purposes. Let us have a national campaign on that.
Let me reiterate what I would like to hear from the Government today. Will the Minister confirm that local authorities are already empowered to amend licensing conditions and ban outright the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops? Will he require local authorities to tackle this issue using those existing powers? If those powers are in doubt, then given that section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 on licensing of activities involving animals was explicitly designed to amend the Pet Animals Act 1951, will the Government use those powers to bring forward secondary legislation to address this issue?
Every day, hundreds of healthy, adorable cats and dogs are destroyed while at the same time hundreds of kittens and puppies are born in squalid pain and despair to satisfy the high street shops. Today is the first step of a campaign to show we are a nation of animal lovers. This evil trade must end. Today the Minister can be bold and begin the end of this trade. Thousands of animals’ lives are at stake. Minister, take that step with us, and make that change happen today.