Last week it was a privilege to represent Cheltenham at an event in 10 Downing Street to mark success in our campaign to ban third-party puppy and kitten sales. This is a vital step forward for animal welfare and I am so grateful to the many people in Cheltenham who supported the campaign. This success simply would not have been achieved without such strong backing.
Thank you too to Cheltenham’s Animal Centre, who agreed to join me in lobbying Michael Gove here in town earlier this year. I know from his aides that the visit made a real impact on him.
I teamed up in Parliament with vet, Marc Abraham, last year to press for this ban after becoming increasingly alarmed by the harm that puppy farms do. For too long unethical breeders have kept animals in dirty and crowded conditions, with horror stories of forced pregnancies and maltreatment all too common. Equally damaging is that puppies are often then taken from their mothers at four or five weeks old.
These rogue breeders have used third parties to keep themselves well-hidden from the buying public, who are left ignorant of the squalid breeding conditions.
MPs from across the political divide added their support, and I was delighted to join a colleague from the SNP and another from Labour in Number 10 to celebrate the new measures. Now breeders will only be able to sell puppies they have bred themselves, and online sellers will have to publish their licence number and the pet’s country of origin and country of residence. This will help buyers know where their pet has come from and the conditions in which it has been raised. Crucially too purchasers will be able to see that puppy alongside its mum.
Inevitably issues of Brexit, health, education and so on will dominate the headlines when Parliament returns next week. So they should. But it’s also right to mark this significant advance in animal welfare. Thank you again to the people of Cheltenham for playing such a decisive role.