Sale of Puppies and Kittens

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons at 1:34 pm on 4th September 2014.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Chair, Public Accounts Commission 1:34 pm, 4th September 2014

That point is absolutely right.

We have to resist the temptation to legislate. I say gently to my hon. Friend Justin Tomlinson that I am not sure that it would be wise to stop pet shops selling puppies through legislation in this place. That might be too heavy-handed. We have to be careful that we do not, because of our concern and emotion about these subjects, bring in more legislation that might be unenforceable. We must remember that enormous numbers of puppies are brought in from without the jurisdiction and from where we have very little control.

My hon. Friend Richard Graham makes an important point. First, we need to enforce the legislation that we already have. Local authorities have the powers. Secondly, we need to proclaim the message that the key to this problem—all the organisations and charities that are involved in this matter agree with him about this—is to inform the consumer. It is the consumer who must make the informed choice, as we did, to go to the dog breeders to see the puppy with the mother. They should not buy a puppy in some halfway location or go to a pet shop. They should do their research and work out whether they have the resources to look after what is a living creature. I hope that we can send that message from the debate, rather than calling for more and more legislation.