This week I spoke in a debate on puppy smuggling, an important issue as this barbaric trade is growing, carried out across Europe, and is extremely distressing and dangerous for the tens of thousands of puppies involved every year.
I pointed out a number of important aspects of how we can aim to tackle this issue, and one action that must be taken is to introduce harsher penalties to those caught perpetrating these crimes, with the fortunes that can currently be made outweighing the punishments in place.
The Scottish Government’s recent social media campaign has been an important tool in increasing awareness of the risks involved of buying puppies online and rehoming dogs supplied from abroad will drive down demand but clearly more action is needed.
As this is a pan-European issue, we must address cross border co-operation with our European neighbours and Brexit cannot be allowed to be an obstacle to this. There are new resolutions to end the illegal trafficking of pets in the European Parliament and we need to be part of this in the UK regardless of our EU membership. Microchipping of pets should be harmonised across Europe as criminal gangs take advantage of the current lack of harmonisation.
This is a cross-party issue that most right minded people across the UK would agree requires action, and it is vital that the UK Government doesn’t delay any further on this important matter.