Our hope to end puppy farms in England following new license
We're welcoming new legislation following years of campaigning for tougher laws to tackle underground puppy farming.
Regulations which will better protect the welfare of animals
Today (Monday, 1 October) Defra announced the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) England Regulations 2018 - regulations which will better protect the welfare of animals being bred and sold commercially, as well as ensuring better standards in the wider pet industry.
The announcement comes following our three-year Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign which called on the Government to crack down on the illegal, underground puppy trade by bringing in stricter licensing of breeders and sellers.
Deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright, said:
For years, the RSPCA has been campaigning for tougher legislation around animal businesses and better licensing of those who breed and sell pets.
We were particularly concerned about the multi-million-pound puppy industry in England and Wales and have seen first-hand the devastating impact the underground puppy trade has on both dogs and people.
We believe that these new regulations, which focus on prioritising the welfare of the animals, will really help crackdown on these unscrupulous breeders and dealers and crucially will ban the selling of dogs bred in England unless from the place they were bred. This will give the consumers the transparency they've been missing and, if properly enforced, we could see the end for puppy farms here in England.
New licensing regulation will crack down on puppy breeding
The new legislation states that any breeder producing three or more litters a year or making more than £1,000 in profit from puppy sales will require a licence from the local authority - coming down from the current law which states breeders producing five or more litters a year will need a licence.
The new regulations state that no puppies, cats, ferrets or rabbits can be sold under eight weeks of age and that any breeder producing any advertisements posted online to sell a dog must show the licence holder's licence number, specify the local authority that issued the licence, include a recognisable photo of the dog, and display the age of the dog.
Additionally, all breeders must keep a record of every dog they sell and are recommended to use a puppy contract. As well as, no puppy can be bred in England and sold commercially unless from the breeders' premises having been seen with its mother - this stops the third party sales of puppies from English breeders. Additionally, anyone buying a puppy must be given information on how to look after the animal.
David Bowles, head of public affairs, said:
Currently, there are around 600 licensed breeders in England and we believe that will rise five-fold when the new legislation comes into force.
This means that around 400,000 puppies a year will now be licensed and will, therefore, have come from breeders who are meeting higher standards of welfare and ensuring the best start in life for these dogs.
While, as a rescue organisation, we will still encourage people to adopt instead of shop, we believe this is a huge step forward for animal welfare and the pet market in England.
Get puppy smart
We always advise the public to be extremely cautious when choosing a breeder and to ensure they do lots of research before buying a puppy.