Last week, an open letter was sent into The Journal from Dog's Trust, who are urging the Government to progress the Animal Welfare Bill.

For more than a decade, Dogs Trust has been campaigning to end the cruel puppy smuggling trade to protect countless dogs from the horrific mistreatment of being illegally transported into the UK.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is essential to tackling puppy smuggling, and future legislation under it would close legal loopholes that allow unscrupulous traders to import puppies, pregnant dogs, and dogs with mutilations like cropped ears.

However, despite pledging to tackle puppy smuggling, the Government is dragging its heels and has not progressed this crucial legislation since November 2021. 

I am incredibly disappointed that the Government continues to side-line these critical improvements to dog welfare which could help to stop the needless suffering of animals. We are calling for the Bill to return to Parliament as a matter of urgency. This is a view shared by the 40,000 plus people around the UK who have supported Dogs Trust’s campaign and emailed the Prime Minister to ask him to progress the Kept Animals Bill.

I recently chaired a parliamentary roundtable on the issue of puppy smuggling. 

We were joined by 17 organisations who are on the front line of the problem, including major transport carriers, Trading Standards, and veterinary professionals as well as Members of Parliament. We all have a shared goal – to tackle the abhorrent illegal trade and do all we can to bring this Bill back to Parliament. The meeting allowed us to discuss how we can work together to tackle the cruel trade, and it was encouraging to see that other organisations are also committed to this crucial cause.

While I am pleased that we have such a weight of backing on this issue, it’s frustrating that the Government will not recognise the urgent need to progress the Kept Animals Bill. Dogs Trust remains committed to working with other organisations and will continue to rally the public for support until the Government makes good on its election promise to crack down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies.

We will not give up. To show your support for our campaign, visit:

Owen Sharp, CEO, Dogs Trust