Sale of Puppies and Kittens

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons at 12:18 pm on 4th September 2014.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Chair, Committee of Selection 12:18 pm, 4th September 2014

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to catch your eye in this important and well-attended cross-party debate. I pay tribute to Robert Flello for having secured it, and I agree with many of the points he made. I also pay tribute to my constituent, Carol Fowler, who has been campaigning on this issue for many years. Her campaign led to the television documentary “Pedigree Dogs Exposed”, which raised such disturbing issues on dog breeding that the BBC temporarily suspended its coverage of Crufts the following year.

First, let me start with puppy farms. We need the Government to introduce strategies for improving conditions on those farms. I pay tribute to the Dog Advisory Council and to Professor Sheila Crispin, who runs it. The council has made recommendations on regulation and legislation to address the issues and to reduce red tape in relation to the farms. There are poor conditions on puppy farms, and they need to be addressed by the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which places a duty of care on the person responsible for pet animals. That duty of care must be enforced.

The issues relating to puppy farms have already been rehearsed in this debate, but they are so shocking that they need repeating. There is often a failure to provide veterinary care, including vaccinations and simple health checks. Puppies suffer from lack of exercise, stimulation and socialisation. Breeding establishments are generally unsuitable and not fit for purpose. If puppies do not have suitable exercise, they are much more likely to suffer from problem behaviour.

Puppies are often prematurely taken away from their mothers, and, as my hon. Friend Mark Menzies said, the mother is often then expected to produce another litter and is left exhausted from repeated breeding.