I’ve recently received quite a lot of emails from constituents about puppy smuggling. This is when puppies, some as young as four weeks old, are smuggled across the British border many in shocking conditions. The scale of this unacceptable behaviour has been uncovered by Dogs Trust, who have created a campaign with the aim to get the government revise inadequate legislation.
There’s a huge demand for puppies in Great Britain and in March 2017, the Government acknowledged the issue of puppy smuggling but noted that transport companies are obliged to check all pets travelling under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. They stressed that there are already penalties in place for people caught illegally smuggling animals. However, the operation of the Pet Travel Scheme is currently being reviewed and this includes the pet checking and carrier approval process – This is something I will be keeping an eye on.
I completely back Dogs Trust’s calls for tighter controls and think more should be done to block wholesale puppy imports which are abusing the Pet Travel Scheme, and to ensure that all puppies have legitimate documentation. I also think it’s important we’ve got the resources at the borders to enforce the legislation – which is why Labour committed to recruit 500 more border guards in our manifesto.
As with most things, Brexit has relevance to this situation and it’s important we don’t see any watering down of any existing EU standards. I will, in fact, aim to back more progressive and ambitious domestic policies which go beyond EU standards.
It’s important that buyers also make sure they are responsible when looking to buy a puppy and make sure their new pet is not a victim of the puppy smuggling trade - research is vital. They’ve got some tips on the Dogs Trust website here: