Dogs: Smuggling

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

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Photo of Ian Paisley Jnr Ian Paisley Jnr Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to tackle the illegal importation of puppies to the UK from Eastern Europe.

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

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, where the authorities have a duty to ensure that the welfare of pets intended for sale is safeguarded and that EU pet passports are issued correctly. Following a recent report by the Dogs TrustThe Puppy Smuggling Scandal’ published in November 2014 the Chief Veterinary Officer wrote to the authorities in the countries highlighted in the report and follow up action has been taken. My officials will continue to act on reports of abuse of the pet travel scheme.

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. We are also working with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group who have developed minimum standards for on-line pet advertisers and which have led to the removal of over 130,000 problematic adverts in the last year.

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