Animal lovers fighting to end the horrors of puppy farming were celebrating yesterday as the Government said it could back our Lucy’s Law campaign.
Lucy’s Law is demanding a ban on the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third party commercial dealers, a trade fed by cruel puppy farms in the UK and abroad.
George Eustice, minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, gave a huge hint that Lucy’s Law could become a reality, saying: “The Government considers there is merit in exploring this further”.
He added that a final decision would be made after it has looked at the responses to the public consultation that closed on May 2.
In a dramatic day for the campaign, Lucy’s Law supporters including the Mirror handed the petition which has incredibly topped 143,000 signatures to Ten Downing Street.
Campaign founder and award-winning vet Marc Abraham, standing outside Number Ten, said: “It’s amazing how far we’ve come with no resources, just compassion and empathy and making dogs the priority
“I’m incredibly proud of my team and everyone for signing and sharing the petition, change is long overdue and you are all making it happen.”
The campaign is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charlies Spaniel saved from a rescue centre. Lucy was taken in by Lisa Garner and died in 2016.
“It’s very emotional today because it’s a day to remember Lucy and all she went through and but we’re so close to change, it’s that final push,” said Lisa, who now cares for another rescue dog, Plum Pudding.
“Dogs lives are literally hanging in the balance, all the other Lucy’s out there still need to be saved.
“I never thought it would come as far as it has and it’s all stemmed form one little dog called Lucy who I saw on a rescue centre website looking so tiny and vulnerable.”
Also handing over the petition was Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine.
“I’ve been writing about the third party sales of puppies for 28 years and this is the best shot we’ve ever had of ending it,” she said.
“This is our big chance today to put right something that’s been wrong for decades.”
Another stalwart campaigner in Downing Street was Linda Goodman of CARIAD – Welsh for “beloved” and standing for Care and Respect Includes All Dogs.
“I’m incredibly hopeful,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s been like banging your head against a brick wall but now it feels like there’s a door in the wall.”
The astonishing success of the petition triggered a debate in Parliament, led by Scottish Nationalist Martyn Day, who told how an estimated 80,000 puppies are sold through third party dealers each year in the UK.
“The sale of puppies through commercial third party dealers both sustains and is dependent upon the existence of puppy farms, where puppies are bred for maximum profit and minimal regard for animal welfare,” he said.
He called the Lucy’s Law e-petition “probably the most popular dog welfare petition the Government has seen in all time, I would extend my congratulations to all involved.”
Caroline Lucas for the Greens added: “One of the reasons this policy is so popular is that not only does it make good sense from an animal protection point of view, it’s much easier to enforce that the current situation.”
Lucy’s Law has cross-party support, with Labour’s Ann Clwyd telling MPs: “While we carry on talking, debating and procrastinating, dogs are suffering every minute of the day.
“How much longer must they wait for us to end this barbaric third party puppy dealing?
“I support Lucy’s Law and if you really care, you will too.”
Conservative Andrea Jenkyns said: “The public remain naïve to the horrors of the puppy farming trade, this is why legislation is necessary, not just to protect the puppies but their mothers too, and also the public from facilitating this abhorrent trade.”
Lisa Cameron, SNP, told how Lucy was exploited to within an inch of her life as “a breeding slave” before being rescued and becoming the mascot for all commercial breeding dogs.
“The voices against Lucy’s Law have now gone and paled into insignificance, we are speaking with one voice today, there is universal support for Lucy’s Law.
“For those organisations who say ‘we’d like a ban but not now,’ I say, why not now?
“If we wait a minute longer, more dogs like Lucy suffer absolutely appalling consequences."
She said arguments against Lucy’s Law “have been found to be dead in the water” and told how a recent survey of readers of Dogs Today magazine showed 96% in favour of a ban on third party sales.
Lucy’s Law also has the attraction of hitting foreign as well as UK puppy farmers.
“Would Lucy’s Law prohibit ghastly Eastern European puppy trafficking? Yes, we believe it would," she said.
“Vans loads of sickly puppy farm pups are currently arriving and can only legally be sold if the seller holds a pet shop licence.
“Lucy’s Law would remove the legal reason for importing all these poor puppies so these vans could be turned back. Production in these despicable puppy farms would drastically reduce if the UK stopped being such a lucrative market for immoral traders."
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