I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the matter of puppy smuggling.
Thank you, Mr Hollobone, and it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship. Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce this debate today. I also extend my thanks to the many organisations and bodies that have campaigned on this issue for many years, in particular the Dogs Trust, which has one of the country’s largest rehoming centres in my constituency. It is a pleasure to work with it.
This is the second time that I have secured a debate on this topic, and I am pleased to be joined again by so many colleagues of different parties from across the House. That is not surprising, as there are 9 million dogs in the UK and many more dog lovers.
I also have with me today a book containing the pledges of more than 137 MPs, and I think more MPs will be signing today, showing that they are committed to stopping puppy smuggling. I hope that that conveys to the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend David Rutley, just how deeply concerned we are about puppy smuggling, and I know that I am not the only Member of Parliament who will say that this issue is also of great concern to my constituents.
In the previous debate that I secured on this subject, I told the House how puppy smuggling was a multi-million pound industry—an illegal trade. Hundreds of puppies are intercepted at our ports and borders each and every year. I will come on to some of the issues surrounding security at our borders a little later, but it is likely that thousands more puppies slip through the net and remain unidentified.