As a vet and animal welfare campaigner, I try to protect, using available resources, the welfare of animals as best I can.
One resource that’s free, accessible, and potentially game-changing, is the Government’s e-petition; collecting 100,000 signatures in six months usually means that subject will be debated in Westminster.
Last month, the Government released their much-anticipated ‘Action Plan for Animal Welfare’, full of exciting, bold, ambitious, and overall, extremely welcome commitments to improve legislation to safeguard animal welfare in the UK and beyond.
For far too long animals have been exploited in many ways, from outdated farming techniques to trophy hunting, cropping dogs’ ears to sourcing puppies.
Regarding the latter, my team of grassroots campaigners worked tirelessly over 10 years to make sure the ban on third-party puppy dealers, known as ‘Lucy’s Law’, became legislation in England in 2020.
Lucy’s Law means breeder accountability; anyone looking for a puppy must now buy direct from the breeder or adopt from a rescue shelter instead.
However, one legal route still remains open for the potential exploitation of young puppies: importation. Young pups traveling long distances without mum often leads to life-threatening health and behaviour problems, even death.
Monday’s Westminster debate, triggered by an e-petition started last summer, ties in with a promise made in the Government’s new plans.
By increasing the minimum age of imported puppies (non-rescue) to six months, a puppy’s age can be accurately identified at visual border checks by permanent teeth, the rabies risk to the UK’s public and animals is minimised, and the cruel puppy smuggling trade can finally be tackled.
So, if you care about dogs, puppies, and all animals, please contact your MP today, invite them to attend Monday’s debate and ask the Government to raise the minimum import age of puppies to six months.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank The Mirror and its readers for supporting this campaign. You can watch Monday’s debate live on parliamentlive.tv, and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #BanPuppyImports.
Marc Abraham BVM&S MRCVS. Vet, Author, Animal Welfare Campaigner, Winner Daily Mirror Animal Hero Award 2015, 2018.