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Vets welcome government inquiry into puppy smuggling

02 August 2019, at 10:00am

The BVA has welcomed the launch of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee inquiry into puppy smuggling, which will consult on tougher controls on pet imports, the impact of Lucy’s Law, and whether the UK’s demand for puppies can be met through domestic breeding

The inquiry follows EFRA Committee’s 2017 report on Animal Welfare in England: domestic pets, which examined the illegal import of puppies and concluded that “the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is providing a vehicle for the illegal importation of puppies”.

In BVA’s Spring 2018 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, three in ten (29 percent) companion animal vets reported seeing puppies in the previous year that they were concerned had been brought into the country illegally. By far the most commonly mentioned breed was the French Bulldog, followed by Pugs and Cockapoos.

BVA Junior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos welcomed the inquiry:

“We are very pleased to see the EFRA committee follow up on its 2017 report findings to launch an inquiry to combat the illegal trade in puppies.

“As vets, we see first-hand the tragic consequences resulting from puppies bred in deplorable conditions and taken away from their mothers at a very young age to undertake long, arduous journeys. They often suffer from disease, health problems and poor socialisation, leading to heartache and financial costs for the new owners.

“Whilst the Pet Travel Scheme has made the transport of pets between the UK and mainland Europe easier and more cost effective, the circumvention of legislation by unscrupulous breeders raises serious health and welfare concerns.

“That is why BVA issued 15 recommendations to the government as part of our pet travel policy to strengthen commercial and non-commercial pet movement legislation, through measures such as extending the waiting time post-rabies vaccination to 12 weeks, better enforcement and clearer routes for reporting concerns.”

BVA will consult members and respond to the EFRA committee inquiry by the 23 September deadline.

BVA’s recommendations for strengthening pet travel legislation can be viewed here.