Defra government consultation backs RSPCA campaign goal

The RSPCA is campaigning for stricter licensing for people breeding and selling puppies – and now a UK Government consultation agrees with the charity’s calls.

There were more than 1,700 responses to the consultation on animal establishment licensing  – which ran earlier this year – from animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA; vets; local authorities; dog breeders and pet shops; and members of the public.

More than 70% of respondents want to see the introduction of a general Animal Establishment Licence, connected to improved model licence conditions.  This agrees with the RSPCA’s Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign which is calling for better licensing of breeders and sellers in order to tackle the puppy trade with an ultimate to see an outright ban on third party sales of puppies when that is a workable reality.
Other responses included 90% of respondents agreeing with the proposals to prohibit the sale of puppies below the age of eight weeks, something which the RSPCA strongly advises.

Although the RSPCA would like see the licensing threshold set at two or more litters a year, the organisation is pleased to see 64% of respondents agreeing with the recommendation that it be set at three or more litters a year.

Defra’s proposals are not expected until next year.

The RSPCA’s Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign was launched in October 2015 in response to a rise in the number of calls from members of the public with complaints and concerns about the puppy trade. The welfare charity has also heard many heartbreaking stories from people who have bought puppies from unscrupulous, unregulated dealers which have gone on to fall ill or die.

“It is far too easy to sell puppies and current laws are failing puppies and their parents,” RSPCA’s assistant director of external affairs, David Bowles, said. “The RSPCA wants to see Westminster treat the issue of puppy dealing in England as seriously as they did scrap metal and license anyone who sells a puppy.

“This would not stop illegal trading altogether but it would help to remove the huge layer of unregulated puppy dealing we’re currently battling on a daily basis and be a stage along the route for people to only buy from respectable breeders. This proposal would give local authorities the tools they need to act and improve protections for puppy buyers too.

“We’re pleased with the results of the consultation which are generally supportive of what we’re calling for as and we’d like to see these changes made as a matter of urgency to ensure no more puppies needlessly die.”

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Notes to editors
Consultation responses can be seen in full here:

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