Puppies: Welfare Standards

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at on 21 February 2019.

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Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Conservative, Mid Worcestershire

What steps he is taking to improve welfare standards for puppies.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

The ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens is an important step forward in improving welfare standards for puppies in England. When introduced, the ban will address welfare concerns associated with the sale of puppies by dealers and pet shops. It will also crack down on unscrupulous breeders who operate with little regard for animal welfare.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Conservative, Mid Worcestershire

Will the Minister join me in thanking the Dogs Trust for all the work it is doing on the issue of puppy smuggling, and will the Government do all they can to stamp out this despicable trade, including reviewing border enforcement and the pet travel scheme?

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

I welcome the work of the Dogs Trust to highlight the abhorrent issue of puppy smuggling, and I thank it for its support for a ban on third-party sales. The Department is working in close collaboration with the Dogs Trust to tackle puppy smuggling. Our comprehensive approach to this issue encompasses international engagement, enforcement, public communications and tighter regulation. Looking to the future, leaving the EU will open up new approaches to managing our pet travel arrangements.

Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

We all know the welfare of puppies is vital, but will the Minister enlighten us on what his Department is planning to do when it comes to stricter penalties for those who abuse puppies?

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

There are strict penalties available already, but we will be strengthening sentences for real attempts at animal cruelty from six months to five years. We are just waiting for the right time and legislative vehicle to do that. I know that in Northern Ireland there are already strong standards in place.