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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11899: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 9 October 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Dogs Trust report, Puppy Smuggling: A Tragedy Ignored, and what steps are being taken at ports to tackle the smuggling of (a) puppies and (b) other animals.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 24 October 2017

The Scottish Government has noted the findings of the Dogs Trust report ‘Puppy Smuggling- A Tragedy Ignored’ and the recommendations contained therein. It is particularly concerning that the report indicates that there are veterinarians in some Member States that were allegedly prepared to falsify documentation and carriers that had transported puppies with little regard for their welfare. Such behaviour is clearly unacceptable.

The Scottish Government is committed to ending any illegal and irresponsible trade in puppies and wider abuses of the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This is why our Programme for Government includes a commitment to work with charities and enforcement agencies to take forward the recommendations of research that we commissioned on illegal importation and sales from puppy farms. This work will include the delivery of a communications campaign highlighting the risks of buying puppies advertised online and rehoming of dogs supplied from abroad.

Responsibility for tackling illegal trade in puppies and indeed any other animal does of course begin in the country of origin and the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer has already written to those Member States highlighted in the Report to highlight the problem and remind them of their duty to ensure that animal welfare is safeguarded and EU Pet Travel Scheme rules be fully complied with. As far as border checks are concerned, every pet travelling with its owner on an approved route is checked for compliance with the pet travel regime and the Border Force carry out a wide range of checks on animals arriving in the UK. Stringent penalties already exist for those found breaking the law by smuggling animals and/or using false documentation.