Sale of Puppies and Kittens

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

I will refer to that. Jonathan Edwards mentioned the issues that are already being dealt with through the legislation. The draft regulations that I am talking about are the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014, which were begun by the previous Environment Minister in Wales, who is unfortunately no longer in post. They have been published. A consultation and an environmental impact assessment have taken place, and we need to move forward.

In the short time I have, it would be useful if I outlined some of those measures. Like every Member in this House, I am sure, I want all parts of the United Kingdom to have proper regulations and resources in place. I do not want puppy or kitten sales close to the border to be subject to different regulations. We need a UK-wide approach, although I respect the fact that the issues are devolved to different UK Administrations.

Under the Welsh Government’s proposed regulations, dog breeders would have to have a licence, which would be regulated by local authorities, although I know there is an issue with resources. This would replace section 1 of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 in Wales, and I hope it could also be applied across the United Kingdom. If a breeder was found not to have the required licence, they could face a custodial sentence, so this is as much about having a deterrent as it is about having actual regulations. Dog breeders are defined as those who have a minimum of three breeding bitches on their premises and who breed three or more litters of puppies over 12 months. All adverts for puppies for sale should be done properly. Those types of regulations would open up transparency so that people would know what they were purchasing. Under the proposals, in order to get a licence the premises must be inspected by the local authority. Resources are needed for that, but it would ensure high standards from the beginning.

This House discusses a lot of issues, and animal welfare is very important. I am very proud of the fact that we introduced the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but it does not go far enough. This debate has given the whole House of Commons an opportunity to come together and listen to what people out there really care about—they care about animal welfare as well as other issues—and to act. I am proud of many of the Backbench Business Committee debates we have had over the past three or four years. It is important that the Government listen to what Members relay on behalf of their constituents, and this excellent debate has raised such issues. We want to find a solution to stop the unethical way in which dogs are being bred, because we all care about our animals.

Finally, a number of TV programmes help raise awareness, which is important, because the British public care. The British Parliament must relay their views and we have done so sufficiently today. I hope the Minister will take them on board and look at the Welsh measures to which I have referred.