Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed new legislation that has been laid before parliament today (8th February) by Environment Secretary Michael Gove that will protect puppies and give them the best possible start in life.

The legislation being put before parliament today will come into force later this year, and will include:

  • Banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks;
  • Ensuring that licensed dog breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made;
  • Tackling the sale of weak underage puppies and the breeding of unhealthy dogs and dogs with severe genetic disorders;
  • Introducing compulsory licensing for anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs;
  • Requiring puppy sales to be completed in the presence of the new owner, preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first;
  • Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves.

In addition, a call for evidence is being launched today seeking views on a possible ban on third-party sales, which would mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a dog will either deal directly with the breeder or with one of the nation’s many animal rehousing centres.

These plans have been widely welcomed by charities.

RSPCA deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright said:

“We are delighted that Defra is considering a ban on third-party sales of puppies. We believe that cracking down on unscrupulous traders, who put profit ahead of animal welfare, will provide much-needed protection for prospective pet owners and puppies.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life. From banning the sale of underage puppies to tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, we are cracking down on sellers who have a total disregard for their dogs’ welfare.”

“This is a further step to raise the bar on animal welfare standards. We are also introducing mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses and increasing maximum prison sentences tenfold for animal abusers.”

Commenting on the announcement, Robin said:

“I wholeheartedly welcome this announcement, which will introduce much greater legal protections for puppies and clamp down on unscrupulous back-street dealers. This is something I have pushed for since my time as PPS at Defra, when I met with TV vet and animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham a number of times to discuss the issue.”

“This is an issue that a great many constituents have raised with me over the years, and I know they will be pleased to hear today’s announcements which come as part of the Government’s wider commitment to ensuring the UK maintains the highest possible standards of animal welfare.”

“Some people have wrongly argued that as Britain leaves the EU we would see lower standards in animal welfare. In fact, it was Britain that pressed for the principle of animal sentience in EU law in the first place but I have no doubt that we can, and should, see standards continue to rise. Changing the law to protect puppies is a great example of people power – and people in Britain care passionately about their pets.”


Notes to editors

Launching the call for evidence on a ban, Environment Secretary Michael Gove invited all interested parties to share their views by 2 May 2018 on how this could best be introduced.

The government recently consulted on plans to increase maximum prison sentences for animal abusers to five years and recognise animal sentience in domestic law. The consultation closed on 31 January and we are now considering the responses. We will set out next steps in due course.

For Robin’s recent statement regarding tougher punishments for those who abuse animals, see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-new-law-to-protect-animal-welfare-and-strengthen-sentencing-for-animal-cruelty/