Speaking after tabling an Early Day Motion to end the sale of puppies in pet shops and by third parties, Naomi Long MP said, “The cruel conditions in which dogs are bred in these puppy farms is something about which I have been concerned for some considerable time. Dogs are often held in appalling conditions, with no access to the outdoors and exercise or even day light, in some cases, and are bread intensively often until they die of exhaustion. Puppies bred in this way will often be sold to unsuspecting families when they are weak or ill and may not survive, causing distress to the new owners.
“Most people recognise that a puppy is not a retail commodity and, as such, they should not be sold in shops. It has also been shown by many animal welfare organisations that the majority of puppies sold in pet shops are the product of puppy farms.
“One way to end this form of animal cruelty is to make it illegal for anyone other than a registered breeder to sell a dog. That way the breeder will be regularly inspected to ensure that welfare standards are met and most responsible breeders will also want to be sure that the people who buy the dog are fully aware of its needs and whether it is compatible with their lifestyle. It is also clear if someone is selling a dog in other circumstances that they are breaking the law, and this could help with the reporting of illegal puppy farms to the police for investigation.
“DEFRA have the ability to enact subordinate legislation to the 2007 Animal Welfare Act to ban the sale of puppies in pet shops and indicated at the time the legislation was passed that this was an area they intended to focus on within 5 years so I have written to the DEFRA to ask that they consider bringing secondary legislation forward and have tabled the Early Day Motion to raise awareness of the issue in Parliament. I have also written to the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development at the Assembly, seeking her support for similar moves in Northern Ireland.”