PIF STATEMENT ON THE CONSULTATION ON BANNING THIRD PARTY SALES OF PUPPIES & KITTENS

The Pet Industry Federation is the UK trade association that represents over 2000 pet businesses. Our members include pet shops, kennels, catteries, manufacturers and suppliers and pet groomers.  PIF has no retailer members that sell puppies.

Under the 1951 Pet Animals Act, anyone selling pet animals (other than the breeder) needs a pet shop licence. The Act allows for sellers to operate from a traditional pet shop or a private dwelling. High street pet shops are subject to a high level of scrutiny from the general public, as most are open 6-7 days per week. The seller who operates from a private dwelling is not subject to anything like the same scrutiny.

According to a, OATA Freedom of Information Survey, there are around 3,000 licensed pet shops in the UK. Of these, about 30 out of 120 businesses are traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retail premises who actually sell puppies, leaving 90 licensed private dwellings who are dealers or hybrid sellers.

PIF does NOT support puppy farms where puppies are bred with no regard for their health or welfare and where commercial gain is the overriding factor. PIF does NOT believe that this is the right way for puppies to be reared and believes that such premises should be closed down.

PIF is, however, concerned that if an outright ban on third party sales be brought in, this would lead to sales going underground and prevent the opportunity to put regulation and enforcement into these vendors to ensure that the welfare of the animals remains paramount. In the USA, for example, 30% of dogs are now acquired through unlicensed and unregulated rehoming centres as a result of certain states banning third party sales of puppies. In the UK re-homing centres are also unlicensed.

In addition, the demand for puppies (estimated at about 800,000 per year) outstrips the supply and even if every new owner obtained their new pet from a re-homing centre, thereby emptying them completely, this would only enable 80,000 new owners to bring home a new dog or puppy. Kennel Club registrations only account for about 265,000 puppies; with an estimated 350,000 come from UK home breeders which leaves a gap of 185,000 puppies which need to be sourced from somewhere.

PIF feels that education is a key factor in this issue, in order to encourage potential new puppy and kitten owners not to impulse buy, but rather to buy from responsible breeders where welfare is paramount. In addition, PIF feels that the enhanced conditions that will be required to be reached by licensed sellers of pets being introduced later in 2018 will go a long way towards overcoming many of the welfare issues currently encountered.

 

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