Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the announcement from the Government that it intends to introduce a ban on third party puppy and kitten sales in England, which will help drive up animal welfare standards.

Over the past few years, Ministers have cracked down on unscrupulous puppy breeders by banning the sale of underage puppies and kittens, and tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders. New laws are also scheduled to come into force on 1st October 2018 that will ban licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks, while tightening the compulsory licensing of anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

In addition, over the past few months the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has called for evidence on a possible ban on third-party sales. This culminated in the decision from the Environment Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, on 22nd August 2018 to support the prominent ‘Lucy’s Law’ campaign, and consult on an outright ban. This will mean that anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten must either deal directly with the breeder or with an animal rehoming centre.

Giles spoke in favour of such a ban during a Westminster Hall debate on the ‘Sale of Puppies’ on 21st May 2018. This debate came in response to an online petition, which was signed by 147,319 people, including 221 residents of the Clacton constituency.

In his speech, Giles demonstrated that the ban was needed to crack down on unscrupulous breeders who are breeding for profit and selling animals on through third parties with little regard for the animals’ welfare. This practice has a serious impact on the animals themselves, and can lead to serious health problems and a lack of socialisation.

During his speech, Giles also said:

“A ban on third-party sales is the only response to this situation, and it would be warmly welcomed by the RSPCA, the Kennel Club and many other important organisations in the sector. It would, of course, delight the people who signed the petition. I gather that the number of signatures went up extremely quickly—from zero to suddenly more than 100,000. It is fantastic to hear that. I ask the Minister to bear in mind the view of the RSPCA that the ban must be introduced alongside the measures the Government have already introduced.”

Following the announcement, Giles said:

“As I set out in my speech, the experts are clear that if we are to deal effectively with the issue, we need to introduce a ban third-party sales, which will complement the measures the Government has already announced. Those two things cannot be separated, and I am pleased that Ministers have listened to me, my colleagues and the public who want this ban. I hope that Lucy’s Law will be enacted without delay following the consultation period.”

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said:

“A ban on third party sales will ensure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life. I pay tribute to the Lucy’s Law campaign, spearheaded by PupAid, Care And Respect Includes All Dogs (CARIAD), and Canine Action UK, who have fought tirelessly for this step. People who have a complete disregard for pet welfare will no longer be able to profit from this miserable trade.”

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Watch Giles speech from 21st May 2018 here.

Read the full debate here.