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Ban on third party puppy sales under consideration
BVA president John Fishwick said: “As vets we see first-hand the tragic consequences that can result from poorly bred puppies."
Michael Gove announces call for evidence 

A ban on third party puppy sales is being considered by the government, environment secretary Michael Gove announced today (8 February).

Interested parties are being asked to share their views on a possible ban and how this could be introduced. Banning third party sales would mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a dog would either deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre.

Mr Gove commented: “We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much loved pets get the right start in life. From banning the sale of underage puppies to tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, we are cracking down on sellers who have a total disregard for their dogs’ welfare.

“This is a further step to raise the bar on animal welfare standards. We are also introducing mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses and increasing maximum prison sentences tenfold for animal abusers.”

A raft of other measures to crack down on backstreet breeding, set out by the Prime Minister in December, were also laid in parliament today.

Coming into force later this year, the measures include a ban on selling puppies and kittens under eight weeks and compulsory licensing for anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs. Puppy sales must also be completed in the presence of the new owner, and puppies must be shown with their mother before a sale is made.

The move has been welcomed by veterinary organisations and animal charities including the BVA, RSPCA, Mayhew and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “As vets we see first-hand the tragic consequences that can result from poorly bred puppies so it’s encouraging to see the government announce this raft of measures to improve dog welfare.

“We support the principle that puppies should not be sold by third parties, but this is a complex area that must consider advertising, internet sales and pet owners’ buying habits to ensure illegal puppy sales won’t be driven underground.”

Mr Fishwick added that legislation must be backed by enforcement, so local authorities must be given adequate resources to guarantee dog welfare.

The government also recently consulted on plans to increase maximum prison sentences for animal abusers, from six months to five years.

Responses to the call for evidence on third party puppy sales must be received by 2 May 2018. To take part in the consultation, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-third-party-sales-of-pets-in-england-call-for-evidence

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.