Government commitments to tackle cruel puppy smuggling trade welcomed by The Kennel Club

The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog welfare, health and training has welcomed the Government’s newly announced animal welfare bill, which aims to protect pets.

The legislation, set out today (8 June) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), introduces new laws to tackle unscrupulous puppy smuggling and restrictions on ear cropping, and modernises livestock worrying powers.

Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club commented: “We’ve long voiced serious concerns about cruel puppy smuggling and its devastating consequences - imported puppies are often bred and reared in appalling conditions, and subjected to long journeys across Europe, with no consideration for their welfare or health.

"With the suffering caught up in the illegal import trade, and unscrupulous importers greedily rushing to fill the gap during the pandemic puppy boom, the new commitments and measures from the Government to crack down on this are absolutely essential. The Kennel Club has also always been against ear cropping, leading the ban in the UK over 100 years ago, so the steps outlined to restrict the import of dogs with cropped ears are an important step forwards for animal welfare.

“We similarly welcome the Government’s plans to replace and improve the current livestock worrying legislation. With more people enjoying the great outdoors during the pandemic, alongside the reported increase in dog ownership, it’s crucial that everyone understands their responsibilities and there is clear messaging and laws to ensure the safety of people, animals and the environment.

“We look forward to seeing further details and working with DEFRA and MPs to finalise this important and wide-ranging bill, for the sake of the nation’s much-loved pets.”

More information about The Kennel Club’s recommendations to Government and its lobbying activity to improve dog welfare can be found on the campaigns area of The Kennel Club website.