Puppy Smuggling | February 2019

I have received numerous letters regarding puppy smuggling.
Responsibility for stopping illegal movement of all animals begins in the country where they are born. A 2013 ruling allowed the free movement of pets within the EU; this saw a 60,000 surge of animals into the UK each year since. Transporters are increasingly able to evade importing rules, proliferating the risk of unvaccinated animals, potentially with imported infections and parasites, entering the UK.
2014 saw UK regulations increased which made pet passports harder to fake, enforcement strengthened, and tighter rules when transporting five or more animals. It should be noted that there is already a 12-week minimum age for rabies vaccination, which also restricts the movement of young animals.
However, it is clear there are significant failings, and substantial abuse, of the PETS scheme that place animals at risk and allowing illegal activity to thrive. The interception of 100 smuggled puppies coming into Holyhead Port and outbreaks of disease, such as the life-threatening, imported tick-borne disease Babesiosis in December 2016, validate these concerns. When the UK withdraws from the EU there will be opportunities to re-evaluate regulations and I will continue to follow this issue closely.
February 2019

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