Animals Debate

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Department: HM Treasury


David Rutley Excerpts
Wednesday 5th June 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard

I beg to move,

That the draft Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which were laid before this House on 13 May, be approved.

It is good to be here in the Chamber taking action on animal welfare again, after the Third Reading of the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill yesterday, and I very much appreciate the support of so many hon. Members for that legislation.

The regulations are important because they put in place Lucy’s law. They establish a ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens under six months of age in England—a ban that has been called for by committed campaigners and that has overwhelming public support. This is a positive step forward in cracking down on unscrupulous breeders and tackling the scourge of puppy smuggling.

Lucy was a Cavalier King Charles spaniel who died in 2016 after suffering terrible conditions on a Welsh puppy farm. Her plight inspired the Lucy’s law campaign, which harnessed widespread support from the public and the animal welfare sector. Dogs such as Lucy are often used by unscrupulous breeders to produce multiple litters of puppies, which are taken from their mothers when just a few weeks old and advertised online or sold in pet shops.

There is not an animal lover in the land who would wish to support this abhorrent profiteering from cruelty, but here is the problem: under current rules, it is difficult for would-be buyers to know whether a seller is a bone fide hobby breeder who raises puppies and kittens in a caring environment, as their advertisement claims, or someone who breeds animals simply as a money-making exercise, without regard for their welfare.

Mr Toby Perkins Portrait Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Many of my constituents feel strongly that stronger action needs to be taken against the rogue elements among breeders, and there will be a lot of support for the measures that are being brought forward. The Minister is absolutely right about the appalling scenes that we have seen. To what extent does he believe that the steps being proposed will not just make things a little better but end this evil trade once and for all?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. It is good to see that he has been campaigning hard locally on these issues and supports this campaign and that his constituents feel the same. I can assure him that this legislation will be a material step on. It has been welcomed by charities across the board—I will praise them in a minute for the fantastic work they have been doing—which feel assured that the proposals will not only crack down on unscrupulous breeders but be a positive step against puppy smuggling.

Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Following on from the Minister’s proper remark about positive steps, does he agree that those who adopt rescue animals—dogs and cats, but particularly dogs—deserve a great round of applause because they are not only fulfilling their own needs but helping to provide a proper home to an animal that would otherwise be mistreated or abandoned?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 3:29 p.m.

That is absolutely right. This legislation means that people will be able to buy puppies directly from a breeder or from a rehoming centre. It is vital to recognise that those who bring a rehomed puppy or kitten into their home are really looking after the welfare of that animal. Their efforts should absolutely be praised, and I am pleased that my hon. Friend has done that today.

The activities of these unscrupulous breeders are bad for buyers and also bad for the countless good breeders in this country whose reputations and businesses are at risk when the actions of others less decent than themselves threaten the integrity of the sector overall. That is why we are taking action today, just like we did yesterday.

I would like to thank the brilliant campaigners and animal lovers who have helped to bring this positive change before the House today. The Lucy’s law campaign has been championed by vet and campaigner Marc Abraham and his fellow campaigners at Pup Aid. Lucy’s law is supported tirelessly by organisations big and small, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Mayhew, Cats Protection, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and the Dogs Trust, all of which do so much to strengthen animal welfare across the country. I should also highlight the important work and support of the all-party parliamentary group on dog welfare so ably chaired by the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron), who is in her place.

This decision to ban third-party sales of puppies and kittens followed a call for evidence in a public consultation that received over 6,500 responses, of which no fewer than 96% supported the proposal. The call for evidence was launched in response to an e-petition that called for a ban on the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third parties. The petition received over 148,000 signatures and triggered a debate in the House on 21 May 2018. This further demonstrates how Parliament and this Government can respond to public concerns.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con) Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 3:30 p.m.

Does my hon. Friend agree that we also have to stamp down on those who steal puppies to order? Many puppies are taken from outside people’s houses, outside shops and the like simply because there is a market for them. This measure makes the market more regulated, and that can only be applauded.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend, who makes another really good point. Absolutely—this will help in that dimension, but there is also more that we need to do to make people more aware of where they are sourcing their puppies from. We need to do more to tackle puppy theft and dog theft. We will be working on that with various campaigners in the months ahead.

Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) (Lab) Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 3:31 p.m.

Everyone involved in the tough grassroots campaigning that took over 10 years to reach this point should be congratulated. I would particularly like to congratulate people in my constituency who worked very hard to get to this point. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that at the moment Wales is not included in this measure? Does he expect the Welsh Government to follow suit very quickly in doing a similar thing?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 3:32 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Lady for her point. I will come on to what happens in the devolved Administrations. It is fair to say, however, that the Welsh Government are now considering their response to the three-month consultation. I praise her local campaigners for their hard work. It does take time to get these changes through, but I am pleased to say that in the space of a couple of days we are taking really tough action, on a cross-party basis, to move the agenda forward on animal welfare.

This statutory instrument implements Lucy’s law by making an amendment to the parent regulations—the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. The commercial sale of pets is already a licensable activity. The amendment means that licensed pet sellers, including pet shops and dealers, will no longer be able to sell puppies or kittens under the age of six months unless they themselves have bred the animals. Alongside the public consultation, a draft regulatory triage assessment was published. This legislation does not require a full impact assessment as the net estimated impact falls significantly below the necessary threshold of £5 million.

The ban will enter into force on 6 April 2020. The additional time before the ban coming into force will allow the sector to prepare. If the ban is rushed, it may encourage abandonment of puppies or their breeding mothers, or other unscrupulous activity. This approach is being supported by welfare groups and campaigners. Once it is enforced, the best place to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten will be directly with the responsible breeder or through one of the country’s many animal rehoming centres.

This Government have shown that we take animal welfare very seriously.

Mr Toby Perkins Portrait Toby Perkins - Parliament Live - Hansard

The Minister is absolutely right to publicise and to put on record how many excellent, responsible breeders there are out there. There have been occasions in the past where Governments have legislated for all the right reasons but ended up creating nightmares for some of the smaller organisations, in particular. What representations has he had on this, and how much can he reassure us that the legislation, as well as being robust, is sufficiently well drafted that it will not create unintended consequences for responsible smaller breeders?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 1:09 p.m.

That is a good point. I think the hon. Gentleman will also recognise that when the regulations to which he is referring were introduced last year, the Department took a step back, listened to the concerns and addressed them. We have learned from that and worked closely with a number of welfare groups to ensure that the regulations before us are in a really good state, and we have time ahead of 6 April 2020 to ensure that they are fully worked through.

This instrument will help to address a number of welfare concerns associated with puppies and kittens bought and sold by third parties. Those concerns include the early separation of animals from their mothers, unnecessary journeys at a young age from breeder to pet shop, the sale of puppies and kittens at inappropriate commercial premises, and unscrupulous breeders who are associated with third-party sales. The ban will help to tackle the blight of puppy smuggling, and it will also help the public to make more informed and responsible choices when sourcing a puppy or kitten. It will build on the new licensing regulations, which came into force in October 2018 and introduced a range of welfare improvements for dog breeding and pet sales.

Comprehensive statutory guidance underpins the 2018 regulations, and it was produced by the sectors concerned under the auspices of the Canine and Feline Sector Group. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is updating the statutory guidance on the activity of selling animals as pets, to take account of this ban on third-party sales. The changes are intended to assist local authority inspectors and licence holders by clarifying that non-commercial rehoming of puppies and kittens does not require a licence and requiring local authorities to notify existing licence holders of the change, so that they can prepare appropriately.

The guidance also outlines how to determine whether a licence holder bred the puppies and kittens they offer for sale, which is very important. A licence holder should be able to provide supporting evidence such as photographs, microchips and veterinary records to show that they housed and cared for the animal and its mother for the first eight weeks of its life, as well as the licence itself. The draft guidance has been shared with the sector, and we intend to finalise it well before the ban comes into force in April 2020, which I hope addresses the concerns raised by the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins).

This statutory instrument applies to England only because the parent regulations apply to England only. Animal welfare is a fully devolved issue, and respective parts of the United Kingdom have slightly different approaches to the licensing of pet sellers and other animal activities. I understand that a three-month consultation was recently concluded on banning third-party sales in Wales, and the Welsh Government are now considering those responses, which is good news. In Northern Ireland, Members of the Legislative Assembly have shown support for a similar ban to be introduced, and officials in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs are following developments in England closely. Scotland has committed to reform the licensing of sanctuaries, breeders and pet shops and is considering a ban on third-party sales.

Chris Davies (Brecon and Radnorshire) (Con) Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 1:09 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for introducing this excellent piece of legislation. He mentioned Wales. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee visited a puppy farm in Wales about three years ago—I am sure that the Chair of the Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish), will touch on this—and it changed my mind on puppy farming. It was very disappointing to see that dogs could not be dogs. Could the Minister speak to the Welsh Government, to ensure that the information he has gleaned is shared with them and they can reach the same conclusion as us?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Parliament Live - Hansard

I know that a lot is going on to share best practice and experience among the devolved Administrations, and I will ensure that that takes place. I am sure that there is an active dialogue. There certainly has been a very active dialogue in preparing the many SIs related to EU exit, so those relationships have been formed. It makes absolute sense, because in some areas Scotland is slightly ahead of us, and in this area we will be slightly ahead of other devolved Administrations. We do not want to have an animal welfare race, but we certainly want to ensure that we learn from this experience, because it is about the welfare of very important and much loved animals. My hon. Friend makes a good point, and we will follow that up.

The ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens is an important step towards further improving welfare standards to ensure that our beloved pet dogs and cats have the best start in life. This Government are committed to protecting and enhancing the welfare of animals, and this statutory instrument is another step in delivering on these commitments. For the reasons I have set out, I commend this statutory instrument to the House.

Dr David Drew (Stroud) (Lab/Co-op) Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 3:40 p.m.

I am delighted to be able to take part in this short debate. The Minister will be relieved that we will not divide the House; in fact, we are very supportive of this measure, and we think its time has come. It has taken a long time to get to this stage, but that does not mean we should in any way undermine how important this bit of legislation is.

I will ask the Minister some questions, because this is one of a number of pieces of legislation that DEFRA is obliged to bring forward, and we are clearly still looking for improvements to sentencing. Dare I say we need a definition of sentience? It is also clear that even rehoming and rescue centres need to be properly defined. I will come on to some of the concerns about that a bit later. As I say, this is only partial legislation, and it has to be made part of much fuller animal welfare legislation.

Today, we will pass this legislation, which is lovingly referred to as Lucy’s law, after the King Charles spaniel that the Minister mentioned. I think it is rather nice that we have given it such a title because that animal was dreadfully abused. It was forced to breed many more times than she should have been and, even worse, the puppies were taken away in the most draconian manner. The petition gained 150,000 signatures, which proves that the British are a nation of animal lovers.

Break in Debate

Neil Parish Portrait Neil Parish - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 3:59 p.m.

My hon. Friend reinforces exactly the point that I am making: too many puppies will be smuggled in. We are getting tighter at the ports, but we need to get tighter still and have people there. They will come through at different times of the day and night when there is nobody about.

There is another linked issue. Legally, one can go and buy five puppies and bring them in. How many people buy five puppies for themselves? Very few in my estimation. It is a legal loophole. Basically, someone gets a fraudulent form signed by an interesting vet in some other country— I will be diplomatic today, which is unusual for me.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4 p.m.

Very unusual.

Neil Parish Portrait Neil Parish - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4 p.m.

I thank the Minister for that sedentary comment.

Seriously, it is a problem. People can legally bring them in. If someone has a signed certificate from a vet in a particular country, they can bring them in. This could be another bonus from Brexit, dare I say it?

Break in Debate

Dr Lisa Cameron Portrait Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:06 p.m.

It is a privilege to contribute to such an important debate, Madam Deputy Speaker, and to see you in the Chair listening to it, and it is a pleasure to speak about the important legislation known as Lucy’s law. I thank the Minister for his perseverance: a ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales is a momentous achievement. It has been supported overwhelmingly by the public, and it will make a fundamental difference.

Members of the public do not generally go to the dark web or illicit dealers to buy a puppy or a kitten, although they may do so to buy, for instance, drugs or guns. Most people who want to buy a puppy or a kitten want to make sure that it has come from a good place, that it is healthy, and that they are doing the right thing. This law is important because it will close the market for puppy farmers who are doing such a callous job in respect of animal welfare. Puppy smugglers will also take a direct hit, because there will be no legitimate reason for them to bring lots of puppies into the UK when there is no third-party market from which to sell them.

While the law will not close every loophole, it will tackle many of the issues that have been raised today, including third-party sales. Puppy farmers and smugglers survive because people are unaware of the background of pain and suffering and the abhorrent animal cruelty of puppy farms and puppy smuggling, which is masked because the animals are sold through third parties. Public education campaigns are not enough of themselves; they must be reinforced by legislation. It is confusing when people are told, “Always try to see the mother on site with the puppy that you are buying”, while puppies are being sold via the internet and even in motorway service stations, or through other third parties such as pet shops. In those circumstances, people cannot be sure of a puppy’s background, which is often hidden.

I want to thank, in particular, Marc Abraham. “Where’s mum?” is part of the Lucy’s law campaign, and I believe that both Marc and his own mum are here today. He has shown fantastic leadership in this campaign for many years.

It was an absolute privilege for me, as chair of the all-party parliamentary dog advisory welfare group, to launch the Lucy’s law campaign in Parliament in 2017. It has been a tremendous cross-party campaign. He is not here today, but I wanted particularly to mention the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), who has done so much to support the campaign. The public have really taken to it, and I have been described online a number of times as “the dog woman of Westminster”. They have missed out the cats, but I think that I would have to relinquish that title to the hon. Member for Lewes (Maria Caulfield), who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on cats and who looks after their welfare so well.

As I have said, this is a cross-party campaign. Support for it has been led tremendously well by Marc Abraham, and it has also been supported by Peter Egan, our patron at the all-party group. He is a great animal welfare campaigner, as well as being a fantastic actor.

I want to thank Pup Aid, Sarah Clover and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. We have received fantastic support from Ricky Gervais, Rachel Riley, Brian May, Beverley Cuddy at Dogs Today, and many others, including Andrew Penman of the Daily Mail, who has already been mentioned. That is to name just a few, but everybody has come together in Parliament—the public, celebrities and animal welfare campaigners—to make this happen. The legislation will follow in Wales, post-consultation; I really do believe that will happen. As the Minister said, consultation is under way in Scotland on a raft of animal welfare measures and I hope that what I could call “MacLucy’s law” will happen in Scotland very soon.

Today’s events are a tribute to Lucy, the King Charles spaniel who is the eponymous hero of Lucy’s law. She was rescued by the wonderful Lisa Garner. As we have heard, until Lucy was rescued she was kept in a cage for most of her former life until she was no longer able to have puppies and then discarded. Her hips were fused together, her spine was curved, she had bald patches and epilepsy and suffered years and years of mistreatment. She had three good years of love with Lisa Garner but unfortunately died in 2016, and the campaign was launched in Parliament in 2017 in tribute to Lucy.

With Lucy’s law we are working together to look after the “underdog”. We are also looking out for all the dogs behind the scenes in puppy farms, hidden from the public, and their pups, who are often sold at five weeks, which is far too young, with no thought for any care or welfare by those engaged in this horrendous activity.

I thank everybody who has campaigned so hard on this important law and the Minister. Lucy’s law has been very much a cross-party, positive achievement in this Parliament and testifies to the progress in animal welfare legislation in this House.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:12 p.m.

First, I say once again that it is fantastic to be able to participate in such a positive debate and to make such positive progress. I am grateful for all the contributions made today; they have all been constructive and the questions raised are legitimate. We do need to answer them and I will do my level best to do so.

It is important to correct the record, however. My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish) said we are “a nation of lovers”; I think in the context of this debate he meant animal lovers. We will leave the other subject for a different day, but we are talking about animal welfare here today. I just want to make sure that is absolutely clear.

It is important that we do not forget the cats. The right hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) was very clear about that, as she was in her praise of the tireless campaigners, which the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron) did a fantastic job of doing, too.

Bob Stewart Portrait Bob Stewart - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:13 p.m.

Cats, as Winston Churchill said, look down on us, dogs look up at us, but pigs look us in the eye as equals. I just wanted to make that point, as a dog lover more than a cat lover.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:14 p.m.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I will allow you to decide whether that was in order. My hon. Friend has strayed slightly from the subject of today’s discussion, but as always he educates us on his views, and on those of Winston Churchill.

I cannot get away from cats because a very active member of our private office team is the proud owner of Percy, a kitten, and we have regular updates on his progress. I am grateful for the contributions to the debate, and it is important to highlight some of the work being done in the devolved areas as well. I am pleased to hear about “MacLucy’s” law; I have never heard it described as that before. We must make progress in those areas as well.

Dr Lisa Cameron Portrait Dr Cameron - Hansard

It is important that “MacLucy’s” law is taken forward across the UK, because we would not like puppy smugglers or farmers to feel that there is a safe haven anywhere. Given that so much has been put into the campaign, I ask the Minister to speak with counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to try to make sure that this practice applies across the board.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:15 p.m.

Yes, I absolutely will do that. I have said that to colleagues in the context of Wales, and we will do that in Scotland as well. We need to move this forward in the United Kingdom.

I should also highlight the number of Whips who have been in the debate today—although they are not able to speak—including the Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Rebecca Harris), and my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes South (Iain Stewart). They are huge animal lovers and wanted to be associated with the progress we are making today.

I want to deal with some of the points made by the hon. Member for Stroud (Dr Drew) and my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton on sentencing and increased sentences. We remain committed to introducing the necessary legislation to increase the maximum penalty for animal cruelty from six months’ imprisonment to five years’ imprisonment, and I am working at the highest levels to ensure that the legislation needed to make the change is introduced at the earliest opportunity.

Neil Parish Portrait Neil Parish - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:15 p.m.

Will my hon. Friend give way?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:15 p.m.

I will give way in just one second, because I was about to say that I am sure that those who make decisions about what goes on in this Chamber—the business managers—will listen carefully to those on the Opposition Benches and to the experienced voice of the Chair of the EFRA Committee in their calls to move this legislation forward. They have told us that they will not attempt to block this legislation, because everybody sees how important it is.

Neil Parish Portrait Neil Parish - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:16 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend, and that is exactly that point that I wanted to re-emphasise. There is so much cross-party support, and I cannot see why the managers of business in this House, on either side, should be worried about doing this. I know that the Minister is working hard, but please may we have this legislation sooner rather than later? He promised us several times that this was going to be done very quickly, but I must question him gently on how quickly he means. When will it be?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
5 Jun 2019, 4:16 p.m.

I have never ever had any gentle questioning from my hon. Friend. As I have said, I am pressing hard to get this done as fast as we can, and our aim is to bring this forward as soon as we can.

The hon. Member for Stroud made a contribution on sentience, and the supportive contributions that my colleagues have made today show that the UK is a global leader in animal welfare. The Government’s policies on animal welfare are driven by a recognition that animals are sentient beings. We are acting energetically to reduce the risk of harm to animals, whether they are pets, on farms or in the wild, and we will ensure that any changes required to UK law after we leave the EU are made in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure that animal sentience is recognised. DEFRA continues to engage with stakeholders to further refine the Government’s proposals on sentience, and we are currently seeking the right legislative vehicle in this context.

The hon. Member for Stroud also made points about rescuing and rehoming centres. I hear the concerns that he expressed about these organisations. In the Westminster Hall debate on 26 February 2019 on animal rescue homes, I said that

“we must do everything we can to ensure that good welfare practices are in place in all animal rescue homes.”—[Official Report, 26 February 2019; Vol. 655, c. 74WH.]

Legitimate rescue homes do incredible work rescuing and rehoming thousands of sick and abandoned stray animals each year. We have heard praise for them in today’s debate as well. I had the honour of visiting the Mayhew rehoming centre a few weeks ago when we announced the laying of this statutory instrument, and we discussed the importance of responsible purchasing and rehoming of puppies and kittens. We want to make progress here, and we need to be confident of the benefits and impacts of any regulations placed on these organisations, particularly some of the smaller rescue and rehoming charities, which is why we are actively exploring these issues with the organisations involved.

The hon. Member for Stroud asked about resources for local authorities leading on implementing and enforcing animal licensing controls. Importantly, they have the power to charge fees, which factor in the reasonable costs of enforcement associated with licensable activity. DEFRA works closely with local authorities and the City of London leads on the training of local authority inspectors. My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton talked about the importance of self-policing, and it is important that we continue to get intelligence and input from the public as well. They have an important role to play.

Further contributions were made about the importance of addressing puppy smuggling. In other debates we have highlighted the need to do further work on this, and I personally and DEFRA take a zero-tolerance approach to this abhorrent crime. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton has talked about the number of puppies that should be allowed to come across our border at any given point in time with one owner. As I have said to him in other places, we would be in a position to review that after we leave the EU.

There was further discussion about Marc Abraham’s views on licensing and rescue homes. I am pleased that he can be with us today; it is great to see him recognised for the important campaign that he has taken forward. We agree that there is a clear difference between a legitimate charitable rehoming centre and a business selling pets. The latter will be subject to a ban on third party sales for puppies and kittens, but as I have already discussed we are seeking to regulate the rescue and rehoming sector.

Rehoming charities often charge a rehoming fee. Some have suggested that unscrupulous pet sellers could take advantage of that by reinventing themselves as rescue and rehoming organisations to get around the ban. That is why we will be working with canine and feline sector groups and local authorities to develop specific guidance to help distinguish between non-commercial rescue and rehoming centres, which are charities, and pet sellers, which are businesses.

The hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow made important points about the publicity campaign that we need to take forward. We need to do further work on helping people to purchase pets responsibly, and we have committed to doing that. We have also assured the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that we will work to provide the best advice to help people to look after their dogs and cats responsibly.

The Government are committed to protecting animal welfare. This legislation will help put an end to the inhumane and abhorrent conditions that animals such as Lucy are subjected to. It will ensure that puppies and kittens are born and reared in a safe environment with their mothers and sold from their place of birth. Those who decide to bring a pet into their home can know that it will be healthy and has come from a responsible breeder. I commend this statutory instrument to the House.

Question put and agreed to.


That the draft Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which were laid before this House on 13 May, be approved.