Backing #LucysLaw: putting a stop to puppy farming.

As an outspoken animal rights campaigner I am happy to put my name behind #LucysLaw which aims to stop puppy farming in the UK.

Lucy’s Law was launched in December 2017 at Parliament at a reception hosted by vet and campaigner, Marc Abraham, of Pup Aid, and supported by APDAWG, the All Party Parliamentary Group for dog welfare.

Lucy's Law calls for an immediate ban on the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third-party commercial dealers.

The term ‘commercial’ means sales as part of a business, for profit. Third-party sellers are dealers; people who did not breed the dogs and who operate as ‘middlemen’ between the breeders and the buying public.

Lucy was a King Charles spaniel; a victim of the puppy farm system who had been used for breeding for many years with no regard for her health or welfare.

Fortunately, Lucy was rescued and adopted by Lisa Garner in 2013. Lucy became the symbol and mascot of anti-puppy farm campaigning. She died in December 2016, and Lucy’s Law is named in her honour.

The sale of puppies through commercial third-party dealers both sustains and is dependent upon the existence of ‘puppy farms’, where puppies are bred for maximum profit and with minimal regard for animal welfare.

Although very few high street pet shops sell puppies these days, the third-party trade remains significant with dealers operating from a diverse array of premises including private homes and puppy superstores. Some commercial dog breeders are also selling bought in puppies alongside those they have bred on site.

As many as 80,000 puppies may be sold by licensed third party sellers each year.

The activity of third-party selling can seriously harm animal welfare, from the trauma of transportation, the increased risk of exposure to disease, behavioural problems resulting from premature separation from the mother and lack of appropriate socialisation.

Puppies may be born with debilitating inherited diseases and are at a high risk of catching life-threatening canine diseases, such as parvo virus.

These are problems that can last for a dog’s lifetime, or can bring its life to an early end. Poor hygiene standards throughout the chain frequently mean that puppies may also carry infections, which can be transmissible to humans.

The puppy market is very lucrative which means there are big financial incentives for breeders and sellers to minimise costs in order to maximise profits. Due to the number of “links” in the chain, it is difficult to determine where a specific problem has originated, and this means that breeders and sellers can continue to reap the benefits of selling sick puppies with almost no likelihood of repercussion.

Puppies imported into the UK for commercial re-sale can only legally be sold if the seller holds a pet shop licence.

Banning the sale of puppies by third party sellers would remove the legal market for imported puppies – therefore making illegal puppy smuggling easier to detect as there would be no reason for anyone to import large numbers of puppies into the UK.

Puppies sold commercially in the UK should be bred in conditions regulated to UK standards of animal welfare.

Stress, increased risk of disease, poor breeding practises and irresponsible selling tactics are all associated with this method of selling.

Since before being elected in 2015 I have often spoken out against animal cruelty in the press and in Westminster. I am opposed to any repeal of the fox hunting act and in parliament I am a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare.

You can follow the developments on social media. #LucysLaw