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Charity welcomes new puppy trade recommendations
The puppy trade recommendations were made at Scotland's first K9 Conference.
Scotland to take collaborative approach on illegal importation

A leading charity has welcomed new recommendations made by the Scottish government to tackle the illegal puppy trade.

Dogs Trust veterinary director Paula Boyden said that the recommendations could lay the groundwork for a clampdown on puppy farming - an industry that brings thousands of dogs into the country every year.  

In a statement, she writes: ‘We urge the Government to improve failing pet travel legislation when the UK leaves the EU. We must increase penalties for those illegally importing puppies, carry out a significant overhaul of the pet checking system at ports and reduce the number of dogs a person can travel with.

‘We were pleased to see some of these recommendations included in the Scottish Government’s research and we urge them to push forward with these without delay.’

The recommendations were made at Scotland’s first K9 Conference, which set out to examine the impact of puppy farming on animals’ health and behaviour. Organised by the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish SPCA, the event brought together experts from across the UK and Ireland.

Opening the conference, Scottish cabinet secretary Roseanna Cunningham said that that a collaborative approach to enforcement is welcome. In her speech, she stressed that the Scottish government takes animal welfare "extremely seriously" and is "determined to crack down on animal traffickers."

“As outlined in the Programme for Government, we will work with charities and enforcement agencies to take forward the recommendations on illegal importation and sale from 'puppy farms’," she said.

During the conference, Dr Jo Williams from the University’s School of Health in Social Science presented findings from a joint research project with the Scottish SPCA.

Dr Williams said: “Our research has proven that dogs from puppy farms have more behavioural issues and are more likely to have medical conditions impacting their long-term health compared with dogs from other breeding backgrounds.”

Scottish SPCA’s head of education & policy, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, added that puppy farming is a key focus for their special investigations unit. The charity works with partners across the UK and Ireland to identify people involved.

“The conference and the research is a further step forwards working together to create a robust strategy to tackle this serious issue,” she said.

Other speakers included Mark Rafferty, chief inspector of the Scottish SPCA Special Investigations Unit; Dr Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust and Graeme Mutter, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) taskforce project lead.

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk