Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington, was recently welcomed to a Dogs Trust event to raise awareness of the need to progress the sidelined Kept Animals Bill.
The Bill would tackle the illegal trade of puppy smuggling – a manifesto promise from the current Government.
More than 50 MPs and peers were represented to support the Dogs Trust event.
Parliamentarians discussed with the charity how they can work together to end the illegal puppy trade by ensuring the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is passed by Parliament.
The Kept Animals Bill includes provisions to tackle abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which the charity has been exposing since 2014.
Unscrupulous traders continue to take advantage of the scheme to illegally import underage puppies – which are often unvaccinated and in poor welfare conditions – to be sold to unsuspecting buyers, while turning a huge profit for themselves at the cost of animal welfare.
Additionally, these unlawful traders are increasingly transporting heavily pregnant dogs which can cause significant suffering and health implications to the mother, puppies and potentially unsuspecting buyers. The Bill would also help tackle this issue by restricting the movement of pregnant dogs.
Jeff spoke with members of Dogs Trust staff about the importance of passing the Bill, and how it will improve various areas of animal welfare, as well as learning about the charity’s ongoing campaign to end puppy smuggling.
At the event, MPs and peers pledged to work collaboratively with Dogs Trust to end the illegal and abhorrent trade.
“I’ve been shocked to learn about the horrendous ways puppies are smuggled into the UK and the poor conditions they endure. The passing of the Kept Animals Bill would be a big step forward in improving animal welfare in the UK and I hope that Dogs Trust’s campaign will motivate the Government to progress with the Bill urgently.”
Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, added:
“I’m pleased that there has been strong attendance at this event with some engaging conversations, however it’s equally disappointing that the Government continues to stall the Bill which would be a step in the right direction to end the puppy smuggling trade, despite the clear support of its members in welcoming the Bill back to Parliament.
“The Government mustn’t sit on this any longer; it pledged to crack down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies back in 2019, and it could easily make good on this commitment by passing the Bill now.”
The charity has been calling for the public to email the Prime Minister and demand that his Government delivers its manifesto commitment to stop puppy smuggling and bring back the Bill to Parliament. To date over 40,000 members of the public have shown their support.
You can show support for progressing the Bill by emailing the Prime Minister here.