New law set to crack down on puppy smuggling

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NEW legislation has been passed to crackdown on illegal puppy smuggling and ban the import of dogs with cropped ears.

This has been hailed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) who welcome the movement. 

The measures form part of the new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill introduced today under The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s (Defra) Action Plan on Animal Welfare, which was announced last month.

puppy| Animal News Uk
These new powers will also enable the government to bring in measures to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears, which BVA and The FOAL Group have campaigned for through the #CutTheCrop campaign, which has received over 104,000 signatures of support(Photo by Bill Stephen on Unsplash)

The Bill also covers a ban on live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, a ban on keeping primates as pets, action on livestock worrying, and improvements to zoo regulations.

British Veterinary Association President James Russell said: “Every day veterinary practices see the devastating consequences of illegal pet smuggling.

“Puppies that have been poorly bred and taken away from their mothers at a very young age often suffer from disease, other health problems, and poor socialisation leading to heartache and financial costs for new owners.

“We welcome changes to the law that will stop criminal gangs abusing pet travel rules for profit.

“We’re also delighted to see that the Government has moved a step closer to a ban on the import of cropped and docked dogs putting an end to the alarming trend of ear cropping that vets have been calling for through our #CutTheCrop campaign.”

The Bill will reduce the number of animals that can travel under pet travel rules and introduce new powers that will enable the government to bring in new restrictions, such as increasing the minimum age that puppies can enter the country.

puppies| Animal News Uk
(Photo from Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash) BVA represent the views of over 18,000 vets and vet students on animal health and welfare, and veterinary policy issues to government, parliamentarians and key influencers in the UK and EU

On the ban on live exports, James Russell added:“BVA supports action to improve welfare at transport, but any changes need to be evidence-based.

“We don’t support a ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening, as this risks disproportionately focusing on journey time and distance, rather than looking at conditions during transport.

“But we are keen to work with Defra and the livestock industry to put measures in place to ensure improved welfare for animals on all journeys.”