Here at Bute Island Foods we are very concerned about animal welfare, and abhor the exploitation and abuse of animals for profit. We were therefore delighted to read about new legislation that will outlaw the so-called puppy farms, run by unscrupulous breeders and dealers purely for quick profit. The law, known as Lucy’s Law after a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that died in 2016 after suffering atrocious conditions in such a farm, will ban the sale of puppies and kittens through third parties.
In Britain we buy 800,000 puppies and dogs every year to be our companions and friends. About half of these come from caring breeders or from animal shelters. The rest come from puppy farms both here in the UK and abroad – sites that breed puppies in volume for financial gain. These 400,000 puppies are sold through online ads, puppy supermarkets, pet shops and on the black market. If a buyer can’t be certain how a puppy was raised, it’s likely to have been intensively farmed.
Intensive farming exposes dogs to viral, bacterial, parasitic and genetic disease. Poor hygiene and packed breeding sheds increase dogs’ likelihood of pain or premature death after infection. Often puppies will be sold by experienced dealers to an unsuspecting buyer before symptoms are apparent. Of course sick puppies, with health issues which can last for life or lead to death, need rehabilitation and professional care rather than sale as domestic pets.
In addition, animal behaviour experts agree – to lead a happy life as a family pet, good health isn’t all a dog needs. It is vital that puppies experience everyday domestic life through the formative first weeks from birth to teach them what contact with people is like. Buying a pet puppy that has had little or no human contact can leadto behavioural problems, and many new owners find it hard to cope.
The new legislation, scheduled to come into force by 6th April next year, means that anyone buying a puppy or kitten under the age of 6 months must do so directly through a registered breeder or through an animal rehoming centre. The legislation must first be debated and passed by both the House of Commons and House of Lords, but expectations are high that it will be passed with no problems, such is the outrage following recent media stories about the abysmal exploitation of these wonderful animals.
The RSPCA and SSPCA welcome the new law, and emphasise that before it comes into force next year, people looking for a puppy or a kitten should only do so through a registered breeder or, even better, an animal shelter. Several of us at Bute Island Foods have found our dogs through rehoming centres, two of us having wonderful Belgian Malinois dogs from shelters that have become an integral part of our families!
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