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The Irish government announces
plans to combat puppy farming

THE IRISH Government has announced regulations governing the breeding of dogs in an attempt to crack down on the proliferation of illegal – and legal – puppy farms in the Republic.

Environment Minister Martin Cullen unveiled the new rules last week during a visit to an animal welfare centre in Sallins, Co Kildare.

The regulations on the management of dog-breeding establishments were drawn up following a series of raids on a number of breeding establishments earlier this year, at last two of these being in conjunction with authorities in Northern Ireland and the Ulster SPCA.

Dogs were found to be living in filthy, overcrowded conditions and were removed by the welfare officers. At least 100 puppy farms are believed to be operating in Ireland, but at present, there is no legislation to control such operations.

The Minister announced the establishment of an official body to investigate the operation of puppy farms in Ireland, prior to legislation being drafted.

Mr Cullen said the body, which includes representatives from 11 animal welfare organisations, would review the management of dog-breeding establishments and produce a report on the matter before Christmas.

However, a leading anti-puppy farm group denounced the Government’s plans as a shambles, because the official body allegedly includes individuals involved in the puppy farm trade.

Consultation

Ken McKie, Secretary of WAG, based in Scotland, where many of the Irish-bred puppies end up commented: "Normally WAG would be delighted that the Government in Eire is having a consultation on this subject but sadly this is not the case here. A number of those on the consultation group are either representing puppy farmers or may themselves be puppy farmers. Even worse, the intention is to bring in self-regulation by the puppy framers. This is the most amazing piece of crassness that we have yet heard. At the moment they are self-regulating, in fact no regulating is taking place. If the puppy farmers in Eire were really interested in improving the welfare of dogs and puppies then they would close down!

"To consult with those who are causing massive cruelty and inhumanity to animals on changing this is stunning in its stupidity. Ireland is now seen as the puppy farming capital of the world and can only change by closing these premises down."

To emphasise his point, Mr McKie launched a scathing attack on both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments, both of whom he accused of doing little to alleviate the problems caused by the proliferation of puppy farms.

"We have the Scottish Parliament patting themselves on the back over the ban on hunting with dogs and the UK Parliament likewise over their recent vote," said Mr McKie. "Whether or not this is agreed by all pales into insignificance when we see hundreds and thousands of puppies suffering appalling conditions, disease ridden and often only a short life span until death. Wake up and smell the coffee. This needs action NOW, not tomorrow or the next day. Why do these Governments spend time glorifying there pitiful policies and do nothing about animal welfare. Only a total ban on this trade will work and we demand this NOW!"