Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs
In February, I launched a public consultation on third party sales of puppies and kittens in Wales.
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.
The consultation, which closed on 17 May, also sought views on wider issues associated with breeding dogs and cats. A summary of the responses will be published today; 18 July.
458 responses were received. This demonstrates the strong public feeling on this matter. The vast majority of respondents would like to see an end to the third party selling of puppies and kittens in Wales. In addition, a call for more to be done to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises in Wales was a reoccurring theme.
Along with concerns over conditions at breeding premises, confusion with the current system and resourcing of enforcement, respondents highlighted issues with on-line sales, impulse purchasing, and breeder accountability. The illegal importation of puppies was also raised.
Having considered the consultation responses and the demand for improvement to the current system, I propose to introduce a ban on the third party sales of puppies and kittens. Recognising the banning of third party sales of puppies and kittens alone will not address all of the concerns raised through the consultation process; I intend also to revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions at breeding establishments, and to consider how to help the public make more informed choices when buying a pet. These two strands of work will require regulatory impact assessments and further full public consultation on the proposed amendments.
We continue to work closely with stakeholders and enforcement agencies to make a lasting impact on the welfare standards for dogs and cats bred in Wales.