In a bid to improve animal welfare standards, Michael Gove has announced the Government is looking to ban puppy sales by pet shops and third-party dealers.
Speaking of the ban, Gove said: “We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life.
“From banning the sale of underage puppies to tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, we are cracking down on sellers who have a total disregard for their dogs’ welfare.”
Paula Boyden, veterinary director for Dogs Trust, welcomed Gove’s announcement, saying: “We are delighted that the Government is exploring a ban on third-party puppy sales and implore them to fast-track crucial steps before a ban is implemented.
“If a ban was introduced now, puppy farmers could exploit loopholes such as setting themselves up as unregulated re-homing centres or sanctuaries. Licensing and inspection of dog breeders and sellers must also be stronger to ensure that everyone involved in the trade is on the radar of local authorities.
“The Government must tackle these loopholes now, so we can be confident a ban will be the success we all want to see.”
RSPCA deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright was equally optimistic: “We are delighted that Defra is considering a ban on third-party sales of puppies. We believe that cracking down on unscrupulous traders, who put profit ahead of animal welfare, will provide much-needed protection for prospective pet owners and puppies.
“We have always said that an end to third-party sales alone would not be enough to end the puppy trade crisis, and we are pleased that this is being looked at alongside enhanced licensing conditions for breeders which will come into force later this year.
“Together, we hope these moves will offer better protection to puppies and their parents and also reduce the number of families duped by rogue traders in this illegal multimillion-pound trade.”
Michael Gove has made unexpected moves in his position as Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs Secretary, taking steps to recognise animals as sentient animals after Brexit.