MP Nickie Aiken refused to back a bill to end puppy smuggling, pet theft and live animal exports in the UK. On 21 June 2023, the opposition attempted to force the government to bring back the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.
Last month, the Government broke their manifesto promise by dropping their puppy smuggling bill. This sparked outrage amongst animal welfare groups. The Liberal Democrats have now re-tabled the Government puppy smuggling bill and called on Conservative MPs to keep their promise.
Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats have criticised this move, accusing the government of breaking another manifesto pledge, turning their back on puppies and allowing traffickers to exploit the pet market.
On June 6th, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron tabled the Pets (Theft and Importation) Bill which seeks to prevent and punish the theft of dogs below a certain age and deter the unlawful importation of certain animals, including dogs, cats and ferrets.
The text is identical to the Government’s draft legislation on puppy smuggling.
In addition to tabling this Bill, the party has launched an online campaign and petition to end puppy smuggling and is urging pet owners and residents of Westminster and City of London to sign.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Westminster and City of London, Edward Lucas said:
“Westminster and City of London is full of pet lovers and we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of our beloved animals.
“The Conservative party promised to deliver this Bill in their election manifesto, and the Government even drafted the wording of the new law. Therefore Nickie Aiken should have no problems backing it. Conservative MPs cannot break this promise to protect animals from cruel smuggling gangs.
“It would be shameful for Nickie Aiken and this Conservative Government not to support this Bill and pet owners, animal welfare charities and residents of Westminster and City of London would be rightfully angry.
“The Liberal Democrats want to see greater protections for puppies, with criminals who target beloved pets handed harsher punishments.”
Join Edward Lucas' campaign stop puppy smuggling here.