Dame Nia Griffith MP supports new bill to tackle illegal puppy smuggling

DAME Nia Griffith, Member of Parliament for Llanelli, has backed animal welfare charities by showing her support for a new Bill which will tackle illegal puppy smuggling and stop dogs with cropped ears and declawed cats from being imported into the country.

A drop-in event was held at Parliament by a coalition of charities – Battersea dogs and cats home, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, FOUR PAWS UK and RSPCA – ahead of the second reading, on Friday, 15 March 2024, of the Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill.

The Bill, introduced as a Private Members Bill by Selaine Saxby MP, will introduce specific restrictions around the importation and movement (both commercial and non-commercial) of dogs, cats and ferrets into the country.

It is hoped that the Bill it will help tackle the illegal importation of puppies and kittens into the country, which has become a huge issue of concern over the past decade. It will take steps towards protecting these animals from the suffering they endure as part of this trade as well as making it more difficult for those who profit from their misery, which increasingly involves gangs who are associated with serious organised crime.


“I get so many letters and emails from my constituents about the importance of strengthening animal welfare laws and I will be supporting this Bill as it is a perfect opportunity to make up for the time lost by the current UK Government who dropped the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) bill recently.

It will, at last, crack down on some of the worst aspects of puppy and kitten smuggling and help to protect innocent animals who end up suffering intolerable treatment at the hands of people who only have profit in mind.”

RSPCA public affairs manager Harriet Main said: “This Bill will protect cats and dogs from painful procedures such as declawing and ear cropping, and will place restrictions on the ages that cats, dogs and ferrets can be brought into the country from overseas, clamping down on the lucrative trade in puppies and kittens which often seriously compromises their welfare and wellbeing.

“A change in law is urgently needed to protect animals and close legal loopholes that have been exploited for many years by people making quick cash from the exploitation of animals. As we strive to create a better world for every animal, we’d like to thank Dame Nia Griffith MP for attending this event to pledge their support for this Bill.”

Sonul Badiani-Hamment, Country Director at FOUR PAWS UK, said: “This Bill is urgently needed to improve legal protections for companion animals, so we are hugely grateful to Parliamentarians across the political spectrum who are standing alongside us and Selaine Saxby MP calling for much needed legal change.

“The illegal trade in puppy smuggling must be stopped; and by supporting this Bill, Dame Nia is helping us make sure that puppies will be protected from this cruel trade.

“We hope that there will be sufficient political support across Westminster to get this important legislation over the line as quickly as possible and that the Bill will be robust enough to make a real difference for the companion animals that our nation of animal lovers so dearly cherish.”

It is hoped that the Bill will introduce a number of restrictions including banning the importation of cats who have been declawed and dogs whose ears have been brutally cropped for aesthetic reasons. These are both painful and wholly unnecessary procedures that are already illegal in the UK – but remain legal in other parts of the world – and can have lifelong implications for the animals.

By closing this loophole and blocking the importation of animals who have already had these procedures carried out, more animals will be protected from this unnecessary suffering, and this cruelty will prevent this abhorrent practice becoming normalised.

The Bill will also increase the minimum age that puppies and kittens can be imported into the country – to six months – and limit the number of animals that can be imported in a single vehicle. It will also prohibit the importation of dogs and cats in the later stages of pregnancy.

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