Sale of Puppies and Kittens

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons at 12:12 pm on 4th September 2014.

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Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Labour, Sheffield, Heeley 12:12 pm, 4th September 2014

The hon. Gentleman cannot have heard that point being raised by other hon. Members on both sides of the House, but they have indeed done so. Some of us have always been motivated to go to those organisations first. Indeed, those organisations also have puppies and kittens. I have visited the RSPCA centre in Sheffield, which is housed in a fabulous building and looks after its animals well. It also takes seriously its responsibility for proper aftercare by ensuring that people who take on animals as pets understand what is involved, and it is available to offer advice and support.

I entirely agree that that is a good way to find a pet, but of course not everyone goes down that route, so my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South has been right to secure this debate so that we can discuss the options when money and profit enter the situation. We must always be conscious that, when the profit motive is present, there will be unscrupulous people who work in a different way. As the legislation changes and tries to keep up with the trade, those people will find ever more clever ways of getting round it in order to make a profit.

We need to do a number of things. Raising awareness is enormously important, and this debate will put this story into people’s minds. It will appear in newspapers and on the internet, and people will learn what they might unwittingly be involved in when they buy an animal from a pet shop or even from a dealer. They will then be empowered to understand the questions they should ask, and be clearer about what they need to know before they take on the important role of looking after a pet. The Government also need to work harder in this area; I agree with hon. Members who have said that they need to do more. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South has set out how that can be done quickly, and I urge the Government to take this matter forward.