I share the concerns raised with me about the welfare of dogs that are bought and sold, and about the detrimental impact of poor breeding practices. I believe that licensing requirements should be tightened in this area and enforcement actions should be better targeted.
While I understand that it has no plans to ban the sale of dogs by third parties, the Conservative Government is reviewing animal establishments licensing and has proposed tightening up the standards of welfare that apply to these sales. I am pleased that there will now be a review covering the standards around the sale of puppies and the licensing threshold for dog breeding.
I understand that particular concerns have been raised in recent years about the growth in online sales and the ease with which breeders can advertise animals on the internet. It is proposed that any new legislation will be clear that online and home-based businesses must be licensed. I note the Pet Advertising Advisory Group has created a set of minimum standards for animals sold online. I am pleased to see that there has been some success in improving online advertising. I believe we must consider how to improve the take-up and enforcement of these standards.
There are no plans to introduce a licensing system for dog owners but compulsory micro-chipping of dogs began in England from April 2016. The Government has outlined its plans to require licensed sellers of pets to display their licence number when advertising.
Final regulations to modernise 'animal activities' licensing are expected in due course. I will follow developments and I hope that the concerns that continue to be held by groups such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the RSPCA are taken into account by the Government.