The importing to the UK of puppies aged under six months could be banned under tight new welfare standards proposed by the government.The pushback against the “grim trade” of puppy smuggling will prevent puppies from being separated from their mothers too early, which puts them at increased risk of illness and death, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. They can currently be imported from 15 weeks old.
The import of dogs with surgically cropped ears or docked tails, as well as heavily pregnant dogs, would also be made illegal.
The charity RSPCA has said reports of ear cropping, a practice banned in the UK since 2006, have risen more than sevenfold over the past five years. Most of the affected dogs are thought to have undergone the painful procedure abroad.
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Of the approximately 66,000 dogs imported to the UK last year, 843 puppies were seized at the border, up from 324 in 2019.In one case, four eight-week-old beagle puppies – believed to have been illegally brought into the UK from Ireland – were found hungry and dehydrated in the back of an abandoned vehicle in London.
In another case, six young puppies in poor condition were seized at the port of Dover after being smuggled from Romania.The Covid pandemic and lockdowns appear to have fuelled a big surge in demand for puppies in the UK, leading to skyrocketing prices, booming unethicalblack-market breedingand deteriorating animal health.The animal welfare minister, Zac Goldsmith, said: “Puppy smuggling is a grim trade, and we are determined to clamp down on it. Raising the minimum import age for puppies will help protect thousands of animals that are brought into the country each year and stop criminals looking to profit from the rise in demand for pets.”
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Source: Psychology Today