I take the hon. Gentleman’s point on board. There are a number of issues involved. I hope that today we are sending a message to the public to be wise and careful and to think before they shop, and sending a message to the Government to ask, “Can we look again at the legislation? It’s not good enough for it to lie on the statute book—it has to be used to stop the trade that we see today.” Local authorities have their responsibilities as well, and they have to make difficult decisions, but I would argue that this is an important thing for them to check and keep a grip on.
I would like us, as a House, to send these clear messages: first, we cannot support the sale of puppies and kittens in circumstances where it is not possible for the mother to be with the rest of her litter; secondly, we are aware of the serious and life-threatening animal welfare, public health and financial problems associated with pet shops and retail outlets; thirdly, we confirm that local authorities are already empowered to amend licensing conditions or to ban outright the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops if they choose to do so; and fourthly, we encourage local authorities to tackle this issue using their existing powers. Those messages would help animal charities and welfare organisations to put their weight behind a public awareness campaign aimed at better educating owners.
It is clear that all our constituents want the Government to act. Let us speak up for the puppies and kittens who have no voice. Let us stop this cruel and unnecessary practice and improve animal welfare. Let us educate people to think before they buy puppies and kittens, and let us all ask, “Where’s mum?”