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MPs slam ‘cruel’ puppy farming industry following campaign by Primrose Hill’s PupAid

PUBLISHED: 16:24 08 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:24 08 September 2014

George Eustice MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, addressed MPs concerned about puppy farming

George Eustice MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, addressed MPs concerned about puppy farming

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A landmark debate on the future of the UK’s puppy farming industry has taken place in Parliament following a campaign spearheaded by Primrose Hill-based charity PupAid.

MPs from constituencies across the country spoke for almost three hours in the House of Commons last Thursday (September 4), with many calling for a clamp-down on the “cruel” battery-style conditions suffered by bitches and their pups.

PupAid, whose celebrity backers includes Ricky Gervais, Liam Gallagher, and Brian May, managed to secure the parliamentary debate by getting 100,000 people to sign a petition calling for the government to ban the sale of puppies unless their mothers are present.

Its campaign condemned puppy farming, which sees dogs separated from their mothers at a young age and reared in harmful environments.

It was joined by support from the Blue Cross, Dog Rescue Federation, Dogs Advisory Council, Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, and RSPCA.

Leading the debate, Robert Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent-South, said: “Puppy farming, from which third party dealers get most of their puppies and kittens, is the mass, commercial production of puppies for profit and is almost always done without thought for the health, welfare or quality of life of the puppy and its parents.

“Very often, puppies are separated from their mothers before the puppy is even four weeks old, usually unvaccinated and insufficiently socialised, and sent long distances across the country, and increasingly across the continent, before being sold.

“The breeding dogs are often kept in horrific conditions, with insufficient time given to heal between litters.

“When the bitch is no longer able to breed, she is either killed or abandoned.

“Puppies and kittens are housed and sold without their mothers, and the presence of such retail outlets encourages impulsive buying, irresponsible breeding and the commoditisation of animals, as well as too often leaving prospective owners with the burden of the life-threatening health and behavioural problems associated with pet shop puppies.”

Echoing similar calls from MPs of all parties, he said: “The Government could have an immediate effect, without excessive enforcement costs, by banning the sale of puppies and kittens on high street premises.”

Challenges faced by internet puppy trading, irresponsible breeders, and cash-strapped local authorities responsible for monitoring practices were all mentioned by MPs.

Responding to the calls, George Eustice MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “I have always been clear that we must look after the welfare of puppies and ensure that they are properly socialised.

“As many honourable members have mentioned, that is crucial for the behaviour of the dogs as they grow up and mature.”

He went on to add that a tightening up of the EU pet passport scheme will see no dog under 15 weeks able to be lawfully transported.

He also stressed the role local authorities should play, saying they had the power to “place restrictions on which animals can be sold at a licensed pet shop establishment”, “restrict the number of animals that can be sold” and “judge whether a particular premise is suitable for a particular animal to be sold”.

He said would be writing to local authorities following the debate.

PupAid founder Marc Abraham, who had previously said moving the organisation’s annual dog show from Brighton to Primrose Hill was key to gathering enough support to secure the parliamentary debate, said: “When choosing a dog prospective dog owners should always consider adopting from a reputable rescue shelter, or if looking to buy a pup, contact the Kennel Club for their list of responsible Assured Breeders where puppy and mother will always be seen interacting together.”

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