I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate, and I offer my congratulations to Robert Flello on his persistent campaigning for stronger regulation of the sale of puppies and kittens. As many hon. Members have said, puppy farming is a horrendous business. Dogs are kept for their whole lives in often small, dark and filthy kennels, and they are used essentially as breeding machines. They have no chance to express their normal behaviours, and many suffer from untreated illnesses. Such farms really are factory farms for dogs. We need to grasp the opportunity to put an end to the barbaric practice of puppy and kitten farming once and for all.
We know that there are some key measures that we could decide to take that would make significant steps towards achieving that. That is why I want to add my voice to the many others asking the Government to take what steps they can today. I add my strong support for the measures set out in the motion, and I want to pay my own tribute to someone a number of hon. Members have mentioned, who has been a real driving force behind the campaign. That is the Pup Aid founder and
Brighton-based vet Marc Abraham. His contribution to ending puppy farming and to animal welfare more generally is hugely impressive, and he has helped to assemble a formidable coalition, about which we have already heard a lot, including Blue Cross, the Dog Rescue Federation, the Dog Advisory Council, the Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club and the RSPCA. Added to that, as we know, the latest figure for the number of people who have signed the petition is about 125,000, so the strength of feeling across the country that we should be doing more to act is clear.
As a rescue dog owner myself—I got that dog from a wonderful RSPCA centre in Brighton—I want to add my voice to those of the many Brighton residents who have taken the time to write to share their concerns about puppy farming, and often to share their photographs, too.
I want to mention a vet whom I have been speaking to. It concerned me that she said that in her experience, the problem is actually becoming significantly worse. In her view, it will not change without some kind of intervention or regulation.