Dogs: Animal Breeding

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th July 2021.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle illegal puppy smuggling and inhumane breeding practices.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. This will allow us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on puppy smuggling and other low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain. The Bill reduces the number of pet dogs, cats and ferrets that can be moved under the pet travel rules which apply to non-commercial movements from 5 per person to 5 per vehicle for ferries and rail routes and 3 per person if a foot passenger or via air travel.

The Bill also includes a power to make regulations about the importation of pet animals into Great Britain for the purpose of promoting animal welfare. This will enable us to go further in the future and explore measures to prohibit or restrict imports of puppies below a minimum age, heavily pregnant dams, or dogs which have been subjected to mutilations such as cropped ears or docked tails.

The Government is planning to launch a consultation later this year on the proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation will allow us to refine the scope of the measures.

Significant steps have also been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England. Under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a twelve-month period needs to have a valid licence from their Local Authority. Licensees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by Local Authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences.

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