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Government backs pet smuggling bill
The new law will raise the age it which kittens can be brought into Great Britain from 15 weeks to six months.
New rules aim to crack down on puppy and kitten smuggling.

The government gave its backing to a bill to tackle pet smuggling, which received cross-party support during a debate in the House of Commons on Friday, 15 March.

The Private Members’ Bill, sponsored by Selaine Saxby, aims to strengthen the Pet Travel Scheme, which some people have used to avoid the more stringent rules that apply to commercial imports in order to smuggle puppies and kittens into the UK to sell.

Under the Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill, the minimum age a puppy or kitten can be imported into Great Britain will rise from 15 weeks to six months. Importing dogs and cats more than 42 days pregnant will be banned, as well as importing dogs and cats that are mutilated, such as those with cropped ears, docked tails, or that have been declawed.

The new rules will also reduce the number of dogs, cats and ferrets that can enter Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme from five per person to five per vehicle, or three per foot or air passenger. The pets must also enter Great Britain within five days of the owner.

Although focused on dogs and cats, the legislation includes ferrets as they are in the same category for rabies risk.

The bill is among a number of proposed pieces of legislation that contain measures which had been part of the Kept Animals Bill. The bill was dropped by the government last year, despite widespread support from animal welfare organisations. At the time, the government pledged to deliver the measures contained in the bill through separate pieces of legislation, a pledge it says it is now fulfilling.

Environment secretary Steve Barclay said: “Pet smuggling is an abhorrent trade which causes great suffering to animals.

“As a nation of animal lovers, and a dog lover myself, we will not accept this, which is why we are determined fulfil our manifesto commitment and bring it to an end.

“This bill will help protect the health and welfare of thousands of animals that are brought into the country each year and stop criminals looking to profit from the rise in demand for pets. We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”    

The proposed changes to the law have been welcomed by animal welfare charities, including the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, and Cats Protection.

Harriet Main, public affairs manager at the RSPCA, said: “We know many animal lovers share our concern at the numbers of mutilated dogs and cats; and young and pregnant pets being imported into the country.

“So we’re delighted that the Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill has passed through the second reading stage and that we’re one step closer to living in a country with better protection for our animals.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.