Henry Smith MP has welcomed plans announced by the Government to introduce a ban on third party puppy and kitten sales in England to drive up animal welfare standards.
The Crawley MP, who also serves as Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, has been a strong advocate for this cause, most recently highlighting its importance in a debate in Westminster Hall earlier this year.
Henry said; “I’m delighted that the Government has listened to Crawley residents, the Lucy’s Law campaign and a host of Members of Parliament to put forward plans to ban third party puppy and kitten sales in England.
“The actions of unscrupulous sellers can lead to puppies and kittens experiencing serious health problems throughout their lives. In the previous parliament it was my pleasure to host the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to help raise awareness of this problem, and to highlight the signs of when an animal may be in distress due to the actions of such third party sellers.
“I’m often contacted by Crawley residents on the subject of animal wellbeing issues, not least dog and cat welfare. I’ll be making further representations with the Government in this area and I’d urge everyone interested in securing this protection for puppies and kittens to take part in the Government’s public consultation.
“Those people who have no regard for animal welfare will no longer be able to profit from this miserable trade.”
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation asks for opinions on an outright ban that will mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten will need to deal directly with either the breeder or with an animal rehoming centre, rather than a third party organisation.
The consultation is open until 19th September 2018 and can be completed on the DEFRA website, via email at: AnimalWelfare.Consultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk or by post to: Animal Welfare Team, Area 5B, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.
Earlier this year Henry contributed to a parliamentary debate on ‘Lucy’s Law’, the campaign which seeks to introduce this protection for puppies; supporting the call and urging for this to be extended to include kittens as well.
The Government’s action in this area follows a commitment by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, in December to crack down on cruel puppy farms, and aims to bring an end to the grisly conditions found in puppy farming and tackle a range of existing animal welfare issues connected to this ‘trade’.
These include the early separation of puppies and kittens from their mothers, their introduction to new and unfamiliar environments and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake. All of these can contribute to a chaotic start in life and lead to serious health problems and lack of socialisation.
During the Westminster Hall debate on the Sale of Puppies on 21st May 2018, Henry said; “I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his introduction to the debate. With others, I very much support the campaign behind ensuring a ban on third-party puppy sales. Cats Protection has made the point that such a ban should apply to kittens as well. Does he agree with that?”
Martyn Day MP, who secured the debate, responded;
“I was wondering how to find a link to mention my cat Porridge in the debate—the hon. Gentleman has provided it. I think there should be such a ban. Interestingly, the Government consultation was on puppies and kittens, while the petition is clearly about puppies. There is a broader issue there and I support him on that.”