Dogs: Smuggling

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th February 2015.

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Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Conservative, Tiverton and Honiton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report of the Dogs Trust entitled, The Puppy Smuggling Scandal, published on 16 November 2014, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations in that report which relate specifically to her Department; and what timetable it has for the implementation of those recommendations.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We take evidence of the illegal importation of pets very seriously. The action we are taking to tackle this trade is focused on three areas.

Firstly, responsibility for stopping the illegal movement of puppies begins in the country where they are born, and my officials continue to raise instances of abuse of the pet travel scheme with the relevant countries.

Secondly, we will maintain effective border controls. The UK carries out more checks on pets at the border than most other EU member states and stringent penalties are in place where people are found to be breaking the rules.

Thirdly, the illegal trade is driven by demand for cheap, pedigree puppies and we have published guidance on the steps pet owners can take to avoid buying an illegally imported pet: https://www.gov.uk/buying-a-cat-or-dog.

The Dogs Trust has been invited to meet with the Minister for animal welfare to discuss their report ‘The Puppy Smuggling Scandal’.

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