I agree with my hon. Friend, although I am not sure about his earlier remarks about the castration of his dog. It is crucial that puppies are exposed to extensive social interaction and stimuli during the first 12 to 14 weeks of their lives, but that is more than commercial farmers are willing to provide. As a result, dogs coming from commercial puppy farms are undoubtedly more aggressive, less responsive, and less trainable. Current legislation regulating the operation of pet shops dates back to 1951—a very long time ago. We need to change the legislation, particularly to reflect the impact of the internet, which is the issue that has brought so many colleagues to the House this afternoon. The Pet Animals Act 1951 appears only to address the physical requirements that pet shops need to meet. It takes no account of the mental well-being of a pet being sold, or of dogs that need physical exercise. Clear guidance needs to be provided to local authorities.
I have also been made aware of the growing problem of illegal dog importation to the United Kingdom, and I urge the Secretary of State to examine how the influx of puppies from rabies-endemic eastern European countries can be addressed. I say again to the Minister: be bold, tear up the speech, and do something to stop puppy and kitten farming.