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New regulations for dodgy breeders and owners of illegal puppy farms

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This year the Scottish government is set to tighten its regulation of the trade of puppies, cats and rabbits.

By Nick Whittle , 19 Apr 2019

After a recent public consultation returned a unanimous verdict in favour of the tighter control of puppy farms the Scottish government is on the brink of introducing sweeping changes.

The government’s consultation, to which 650 people responded, had as its primary concern those breeders who make their living by illegal means and the unscrupulous treatment of animals, but it was also concerned with long-term improvements to animal welfare in Scotland.

Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon told The Scotsman the government was intent on modernising, ‘the whole licensing process - making it less onerous on those organisations already doing the right thing and, most importantly, ensuring that the system is centred around the welfare of animals.

The Scottish Government will now work with local authorities welfare organisations and individuals to bring these regulations forward,’ she added

The new regulations will place a cap on the maximum number of litters a dog can have in her lifetime and will bring an end to the sort of nonselective breeding that results in the birth of dogs stricken by disease or life-limiting genetic conditions.

Puppy farms to be abolished

Mrs Gougeon was optimistic that the new laws would also put an end to ‘puppy farms’ which are thought to account for a percentage of Scottish breeders’ £14m annual turnover.

A statement from the Dog Breeding Reform Group said: ‘A major problem in dog breeding is the existence of "puppy farms’" These are operations in which the over-riding concern of the breeder is the maximisation of profit, with minimal concern for the welfare of the dogs or puppies kept’.

A very important action that the Scottish Government can take is to specify a maximum number of breeding dogs that may be kept. This is more likely to ensure that only those with a commitment to the welfare of dogs operate’.

Over 96.8% of respondents were in favour of increased regulation of the trade.



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