Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey, is leading cross-party calls for tougher animal welfare legislation to tackle the “heart breaking” rise in illicit puppy farmers and importers.
Mr Hanvey has lodged an Early Day Motion at Westminster in support of the Justice for Reggie Campaign and has received support from across the House, including from colleagues in the SNP and Labour. The motion calls for “stringent laws” to crack down on puppy farming and the “online sales of puppies by unscrupulous breeders”.
Earlier this year the Scottish SPCA raised serious concerns about “low-welfare breeders” in Fife, highlighting that as much as a third of calls they receive about the welfare of new puppies relate to the Fife area.
The local MP’s parliamentary campaign comes as fifty animal welfare charities released a report urging the UK government to produce a new animal welfare strategy. The organisations, including the Scottish SPCA and Edinburgh-based OneKind, recommend a range of measures, including the introduction of primary legislation to raise the minimum age for imported puppies and kittens to six months with increased penalties for importation.
While some powers over animal welfare are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the necessary powers over trade and consumer regulation are reserved to Westminster.
Commenting, Neale Hanvey MP said:
“My family was one of many that decided to get a new puppy last year. It's amazing how quickly he became part of our family, so I can't begin to imagine what it's like for the poor folk who fall victim to puppy farms and face the heart-breaking experience of losing their new dog.
“And it’s happening to far too many folk in Fife. In the last year, 10 puppies died and 35 were very poorly after being bought from breeders in Fife. Most of these animals were bought on Gumtree, which is why I want to see regulation cover the sale of animals on these online marketplaces.
“I’m calling on the UK government to intervene in the terrible rise of puppy farms across these islands, and I believe this is the perfect opportunity for them to be bold and create a radical new animal welfare strategy.
“If the UK government is unwilling to act, they should devolve all powers over trade and consumer regulation to Scotland so ministers in Holyrood can take the necessary bold action to protect animals, as well as folk looking to have a new pet join their family.”