The Welsh Government is consulting on proposals to introduce a ban on commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens. This is a follow on from the consultation which was conducted between 19 February – 17 May 2019 and received 458 responses, the majority of which supported a ban. The consultation highlighted other issues which needed further investigation such as enforcement and breeding.
The proposals being considered will entail changing licensing arrangements for the sale of pet animals, including puppies and kittens and will also lead to a ban on the sale of puppies and kittens below a particular age. Any ban introduced on its own cannot tackle all the complex problems associated with puppy trading. The proposed ban would be one part of a body of work associated with improvements in welfare standards at dog breeding establishments and tackling barriers to enforcement.
Welsh Ministers have the power to make legislation to promote animal welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The proposed new legislation will aim to tackle the issues of animal welfare issues associated with commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens. By ensuring licensed breeders only sell direct to the public it will improve transparency at breeding premises and reduce the need for multiple journeys for puppies and kittens. Anyone wanting to purchase a puppy or kitten in Wales will need to buy from a breeder or adopt from a rehoming centre.
Current position elsewhere in the UK
In October 2018 The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 introduced new licensing procedures for the selling of pets, boarding for cats and dogs, hiring of horses, breeding of dogs and keeping or training animals for exhibition. A subsequent amendment brought about by The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 came into force on 6 April 2020, making sales of puppies and kittens by third party sellers/anyone other than the breeder unlawful in England. This is commonly known as ‘Lucy’s Law’.
In September 2018 the Scottish Government launched a consultation to seek views on proposals to introduce new regulations for the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding activities in Scotland. The consultation considered how thresholds for licensing may be determined depending on the size of the undertaking and how this may work for organisations with multiple premises. Further announcements are awaited on this.
During 2018 the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) reviewed the matter of animal establishments in Northern Ireland, including establishments that sell pets. In 2019, it engaged with the enforcement bodies in Northern Ireland and obtained their views on the future licensing system. DAERA continues to develop proposals on the future system, which will ultimately be put to public consultation.
Consultation Document and IoL Survey
The Institute of Licensing is seeking members views on the consultation to inform its response to the Welsh Government.
The full consultation document from the Welsh Government can be downloaded here. The IoL survey can be accessed here, and the survey questions replicate those in the consultation document to ensure accurate representation in the IoL response.
The Survey will close on 31 July 2020 to allow the IoL response to formulated.