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The Welsh Government Consultation Document, Third Party Sales of Puppies and Kittens, issued 19 February 2019, has now been closed for responses as of 17 May 2019.

We are seeking your views on a proposed ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in Wales.

Animal Welfare & Framework Branch, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ

Consultation description

Commercial third-party sales may be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared to buying directly from the breeder.

For example, the introduction to several unfamiliar environments and likelihood of multiple journeys may contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation.

We are consulting on whether a change of policy and/or the law would improve the welfare of puppies and kittens when being sold.

OVERVIEW

There are concerns that commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens may be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared to when people buy directly from the breeder. For example, the introduction to several new and unfamiliar environments and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake. All of these have the potential to contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation for the puppies and kittens.

The Welsh Government wishes to consider whether or not a change of policy and/or the law in Wales would better protect the welfare of puppies and kittens when being sold.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES?

High standards of animal welfare are a priority of the Welsh Government. The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework1 sets out our plan for continuing and lasting improvements in standards of animal health and welfare for kept animals.

Currently, puppies and kittens can either be purchased directly from a breeder (licensed or unlicensed depending on the number of breeding bitches at the premises), via a third-party seller, or from a rescue/rehoming centre. There are no national records of the number of puppies and kittens sold via third-parties.

Commercial third-party sellers are those who are licensed pet sellers; In Wales they will hold a licence under the Pet Animals Act 1951.

There are concerns commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens may be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared with direct purchase from the breeder. For example, the introduction to several new and unfamiliar environments, and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake have the potential to contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation for the puppies or kittens.

On 19 June 2018 the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, delivered an Oral Statement announcing her commitment to explore options of banning commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens in Wales. On 5 November 2018 the Cabinet Secretary announced a consultation would be launched to gather information on the supply chain and establish where government intervention would have the greatest impact.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The introduction of the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs)(Wales) Regulations 2014 led the way in the UK in addressing welfare concerns at licensed dog breeding establishments. The Regulations provide for licensing of breeding premises with three or more breeding bitches. However, we do not wish to stand still and will be looking to review our Regulations to ensure they meet the high standards we are expecting. In particular there are still concerns about the welfare standards at some licensed breeding premises and also in the enforcement of the Regulations. The findings from this consultation will help shape future changes but we cannot pre- empt what those changes will be at this point.

There is currently no requirement for people breeding cats to be licensed.

There are 219 licensed dog breeders in Wales.

There are less than 20 licensed pet shops selling puppies and kittens in Wales.

Originating Consultation document, 2/2019 https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/consultations/2019-02/third-party-sales-consultation-document.pdf

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