Sale of Puppies and Kittens

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 4th September 2014.

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Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn 1:05 pm, 4th September 2014

I congratulate my hon. Friend Robert Flello on securing this excellent debate. I will be the third Welsh Member to contribute from across the parties, showing the strong consensus and feeling that there is about this in Wales. My hon. Friend Jim Fitzpatrick mentioned the measures in Wales, which have caused a lot of detailed examination of the issue. I hope that the Minister will take that up and look at it.

Like many others, I am an animal lover. I have had dogs from different sources all my life. I first remember that, long before the internet, my father purchased a puppy from Exchange and Mart that came from a long way away in a cardboard box. That was the method that many used. It came on the train and we met it at the station. That dog lived for many, many years and was a healthy dog, and we were very lucky to have it. More recently, for some 12 years I had a sheepdog from the RSPCA. I pay tribute to the RSPCA for the work it does on welfare. I have also recently had a springer spaniel from a rescue centre. Rescue centres do a brilliant job, because if people cannot look after their dog they can take them there. The welfare and traceability of that dog are taken care of from the minute it enters the rescue centre, and that is very important.

A minority of people breed dogs in terrible circumstances. They are still a minority, but the number is growing and it needs to be dealt with. Far too many of these puppy farms are in Wales, I have to say, and that is why Wales is ahead of the game in looking at legislation on how to deal with them. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South eloquently put the case about shops and high street sales, but I want to talk about the puppy farms themselves. Several hon. Members on both sides of the House have asked how we can use legislation and give local authorities the necessary resources. That is a difficult issue and we need to look at it sensibly. We need the Welsh Government, alongside the UK Government, to put forward legislation.