Animal sentience and Puppy Smuggling - our thoughts | Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust

Animal sentience and Puppy Smuggling - our thoughts

We welcome Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s announcements this week confirming that the sentience of animals will continue to be recognised and animal welfare legislation strengthened when we leave the EU.

What does this mean?

Significantly, this includes cracking down on puppy smuggling and the potential to introduce a ban on the import of puppies into Great Britain under 6 months old. Whilst there are actions that can and should be immediately introduced to help prevent this cruel trade, such as increasing penalties for people caught illegally smuggling puppies, and a significant overhaul of the checking systems at our borders, Brexit provides a crucial opportunity to ensure that puppies entering this country are healthy, not underage and are not being brought in to sell on to the unsuspecting public.

Puppy Smuggling - our investigations

We have been campaigning to put a stop to puppy smuggling since 2012 so we expect the Government to stay committed to this statement. We see first-hand what these poor puppies are forced to endure – separated from their mothers too young and subjected to horrendously long journeys from Central and Eastern European countries in squalid conditions, resulting in illness, behavioural problems and sadly sometimes death.

On animal sentience, we urge the Government to quickly move forward with a proposal to recognise animal sentience in UK legislation which, importantly, should put a duty on the state in addition to the duty on owners.

Until the Government puts the necessary changes in place, we ask anyone thinking of getting a puppy to follow our advice and not fall victim to one of these ruthless dealers.

Puppy smuggling needs to end now. We’ll keep working hard to make this a reality.