MP talks animal welfare in face of increasing concerns - The Leamington Observer

MP talks animal welfare in face of increasing concerns

Leamington Editorial 17th Mar, 2024   0

ANIMAL welfare is important to many of us and  I recently visited the Kenilworth Dogs Trust centre to see the excellent work they undertake and hear about challenges they are facing.

As I know many of you are aware from your emails to me, puppy smuggling is a deeply concerning issue that is only growing. Currently over 3,000 illegally imported puppies are being cared for by the Dogs Trust nationwide, which, if sold to the public would have netted the smugglers nearly £4 million. Furthermore, in an attempt to get around Government advice to the public that they should see the puppy with its mother, many gangs have started to import pregnant dogs.

This practice is not only putting those dogs smuggled into the country at risk. With many smuggled dogs not properly vaccinated, Dogs Trust are seeing an increase in harmful diseases such as Brucella Canis. This is an animal welfare concern and poses a threat to the biosecurity of the UK.

I am also concerned, as I know many of you are, about the rise in the importation of dogs with illegal mutilations. Ear cropping is a barbaric practice which has rightly been banned in the UK for 15 years and is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. However, the importation of dogs with non-exempted mutilations such as cropped ears is still possible under current rules. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ran a consultation that included a proposal to ban the importation of dogs with cropped ears and I look forward to hearing the Government’s conclusions on what further action can be taken.

I would also like to take this opportunity to comment on the recent spate of dog attacks reported in the media. These attacks are incredibly distressing, and I extend my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.

I am glad that the Government to took swift and decisive action in adding the XL Bully type to the list of dogs prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act. While I understand some of my constituents have concerns regarding the efficacy of Breed Specific Legislation, I believe that these restrictions are crucial to keeping the public safe.

Dog ownership is deeply woven into the national psyche. From the late Queen’s Corgis to the British Bulldog, they are seen throughout our art and media. For many, dogs offer companionship and a reason to get up and about (my own Cockapoo certainly keeps me on my toes). However, I am keenly aware that dog ownership is a privilege and not a right. If we are to maintain the joys of dog ownership whilst living in a safe society, it is imperative that we all take responsibility for our four-legged friends.

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