UK Bans Third Party Sales Of Puppies & Kittens But Still Allows Purchasing From “Transparent” Breeders?

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The UK Government has officially confirmed that it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens in an attempt to solve a range of existing animal welfare issues; including bringing an end to the horror of puppy mills.

The decision, which was made after a public consultation during which 95% of the people supported the ban, is a positive step in the right direction. But, sadly, more steps need to be taken to protect these innocent animals from another threat; breeders.

As reported by the government, “anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten under six months old must either deal directly with the breeder or with an animal rehoming center.”

Why continue to promote breeders when there are homeless, displaced, and neglected dogs and cats, including purebreds, that are in dire need of forever homes?

According to the government, the ban will help to crack down on puppy farms and make it much harder for high volume low welfare breeders, both licensed and unlicensed, whose trade relies on third party sellers.

These include the early separation of puppies and kittens from their mothers, and the increased likelihood of long journeys that puppies or kittens have to undertake. All of these can contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialization for the young animals.

“This ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens is part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life,” Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley recently said in a statement while paying tribute to the Lucy’s Law Campaign and the many stakeholders who campaigned for this ban. “This decision builds on our previous action in this area, including banning the sale of puppies under eight weeks and tackling the breeding of dogs with genetic disorders.”

Under the Lucy’s Law’s ban on third party dealers, every breeder now reportedly becomes accountable and transparent, with prospective owners observing the mother interacting with puppies or kittens in the place they were born; also making illegally smuggled pups more difficult to sell.

“We already know of cases where unscrupulous sellers set themselves up as fake breeders, with fake homes, and fake puppy moms, while shipping in puppies from puppy farms or overseas. By looking to address this loophole, we can also prevent unscrupulous sellers from setting themselves up as a rehoming organization in order to continue their devious trade,” noted a Dog’s Trust spokesperson. “This is one of a package of measures which must be addressed for a ban to be fully effective.”

In addition to the introduction of licensing and inspections of rehoming organizations, Dogs Trust is advocating for an urgent review of the Pet Travel Scheme. The organization noted in a response posted on its website that “abuse of the scheme has thus far allowed thousands of underage puppies to be smuggled into the UK.” Dogs Trust also wants there to be harsher penalties for unscrupulous breeders and sellers who are currently undeterred by what it calls “woefully inadequate penalties.”

“Properly enforced, this will help put an end to dogs being used as breeding machines and kept in shocking conditions,” stated  Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Chief Executive Claire Horton. “The days of unscrupulous puppy dealers lining their pockets with no regard for animal welfare must now come to an end.”

The government stated it will also continue to work with stakeholders on the issue of whether rescue and rehoming centers will require a license to operate.

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