Northern Ireland in stalemate over the puppy farm ban

30 Aug 2018       By admin

Despite Lucy’s Law finally getting the go-ahead, Belfast City Council have said they’re unable to introduce the ban on third party puppy and kitten sales, due to the stalemate situation in Stormont.


Lucy’s law is the campaign to ban the sale of puppies and kittens by pet shops and third-party dealers, and the legislation is now being passed through Parliament after hundreds of thousands of people signed the petition in support. The result of this new legislation will help put an end to the disgusting puppy farms that exist to fuel the pet shop and dog-dealing trade.


How does this affect puppy farms?


Puppy farming is a cruel trade, where tens if not hundreds of dogs are kept in cramped, squalid conditions; often in sheds or crates and rarely seeing daylight. Mothers are used to breed litter after litter with no concern for their health and as a result, puppies bred here are often full of disease, with serious health conditions and many die shortly after purchase. Breeding mums are used until they can’t produce litters, at which point they’re often killed, dumped or a lucky few will make it to a rescue centre.


A breeding dog rescued from a puppy farm. Image by RSPCA

With the majority of pet shop and pet dealer puppies’ coming from these farms, the ban on third-party sales is the first major step in outlawing puppy farms altogether.


Request to Belfast City Council


The problem in Northern Ireland is that the devolved Government, known as Stormont, are currently in limbo and unable to adopt the same legislation at present. However, Councillor for the Green Party, Georgina Milne, has directly asked Belfast City Council to make a stand and urged them to take action.


She said: “Many puppy farms are associated with horrendous acts against vulnerable animals. They include keeping dogs and puppies in filthy conditions, lack of food and water, denying the animals healthcare and taking young pups from their mothers before they’re ready. I will be raising this with Belfast City Council to ensure that this important law is adopted as council policy.”


Stormont stalemate


Sadly, Belfast City Council announced that this currently was not possible, explaining: “There is no legislation in Northern Ireland to deal with third-party sales of pets and the council cannot implement any policy without appropriate legislation to underpin and regulate the activity.”


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs also said that any legislative decisions would have to come from a minister and “legislation regarding animal welfare and the licensing of pet shops and dog breeding, remains a devolved matter.”


So while the rest of the UK is able to celebrate the beginning of the end of puppy farms, we’re hoping that Northern Ireland can soon follow suit, introduce Lucy’s Law and help put an end to this disgusting trade in the whole of the UK.


Conditions on a puppy farm in Kent. Image by RSPCA

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