Animal rights activists have urged the government to press ahead with a Spiegel-backed ban on puppy imports as MPs prepare for a debate in Westminster on Monday.
Thousands of readers signed an e-petition to block young dogs from being brought into the UK from abroad – helping the petition reach its 100,000 goal in just six weeks.
Our goal is to increase the import age of the puppies from 15 weeks to six months.
Last month the government said it would introduce powers to “increase the minimum age at which dogs cannot be brought or imported into the UK commercially”.
David Bowles, Director of Public Affairs for the RSPCA, said, “We share public concerns about puppy imports.
(Image: Daily Mirror)
“This cruel trade is selling sick and dying puppies to unsuspecting families, and it boomed during lockdown due to pet demand. In its latest Animal Action Plan, the government said it was ready to take action against this trade and we welcome that commitment.
“The RSPCA is calling on the government to amend the law to increase the age at which puppies can be introduced from 15 to 24 weeks.
“Not only will this better protect their welfare, it will lower the puppy’s value to dealers, make trading less lucrative, and also make it easier to spot puppy smugglers when they are trying to illegally import younger dogs.
Michael Webb, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Political Officer, said: “Battersea approves the petition and welcomes the government’s proposed ban on bringing puppies and kittens under six months into the UK.
“While a blanket ban based solely on the age of the animal would be a welcome move, Battersea would suggest other complementary measures to improve animal welfare.”
He said an important change would be “to extend the requirement that animals be fully vaccinated before travel and to increase the post-vaccination waiting time before travel from three weeks to 12 weeks”.
Mr Webb added, “Given that vaccines against diseases such as rabies cannot be given until a puppy or kitten is three months old, this would mean that six months is the earliest age an animal can travel and ensure that it is fully vaccinated to ensure better protection for adult dogs and puppies at the same time. “
The Kennel Club says it is “clear that the existing import regulations do not provide adequate protection for dogs”.
However, she warns of a “blanket import ban for all dogs under six months”.
While such a move is “appealing,” “it would have an undue impact on a significant number of people lawfully entering the UK with their puppies under six months of age,” says the KC.
MPs will spend 90 minutes discussing a range of measures to protect animals, including calling for a ban on puppy imports and crackdown on shark fins and donkey ears.
Conservative backbencher Elliot Colburn, MP on the Petitions Committee who will chair the debate, said: “The government’s action plan on animal welfare is very welcome and directly addresses the three petitions we are debating on Monday and their demands.
(Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto)
“Shark fins, puppy imports and dog-ear cutting have devastating consequences for animals exposed to poor welfare standards that are unacceptable in the UK, so it is only right to combat the import and export of these practices.
“I hope the government will be able to convey some positive news on the timetable for implementing these proposals and commit to working with our partners around the world to encourage others to follow our example.”
A government minister will respond to the debate.