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Government brings in Lucy’s Law

Issue: 31/08/2018

by Adam Williams

The government has announced that it is going to ban the third-party sales of puppies and bring in Lucy's Law.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, told guests and press at a garden party at Number 10 Downing Street held in honour of Lucy's Law, 'We will be making sure that the third party sale of pets, of kittens and of puppies, ends.'

OUR DOGS was honoured to attend this garden party and Marc Abraham, the vet and campaigner behind the campaign, who was described by Mr Gove as a 'force of nature', said, 'How many times can I say that I am overwhelmed? It's like the season finale of the greatest boxset ever.

'The vet I was involved with when I was at school is here. Everyone is here who has helped to make this happen. Brian May, Peter Egan and my friends and family. Everyone is a piece in the jigsaw, the Lucy's Law jigsaw.

'We are going to change the law to improve the health and happiness of dogs. It has cross party support, celebrity support and media support.

'I want to thank all the OUR DOGS readers who have signed petitions and supported us. This law will benefit your readers. This will stop them being undercut by cheap foreign breeders. I can't thank OUR DOGS enough for their support.'

We asked him what was next, now that he had managed to make Lucy's Law a reality, 'Maybe America? If we can do it here we can do it anywhere!'

The Lucy's law campaign was launched at Westminster last December. In just eight months they have managed to convince the government to make it law.

Yet the campaign to ban the third party sales of puppies has been going on for much longer. Marc Abraham, Care and Respect Includes All Dogs (CARIAD) and others have been campaigning for a ban for many years.


In 2016 they were hopeful that this would happen when the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee in Parliament recommended to the government that they should ban the third party sales of dogs. Their hopes were dashed when the government at the time rejected this recommendation and advocated robust licensing rather than an outright ban.

Michael Gove was asked by OUR DOGS, before he made his speech, why the government has changed its mind. He said, 'I don't know why the government opposed it. I was in a different job at the time. I can't recall why the government opposed it. 

'We have looked at the evidence and it just seemed the right thing to do.'

In his official statement Mr Gove said, 'Today we are making a significant announcement in the history of animal welfare and the protection of companion animals and pets.

'From tomorrow we will absolutely confirm that we will be consulting on how we implement Lucy's Law.

'We will be making sure that the third party sale of pets, of kittens and of puppies, ends.

'You are all here because you have been part of that campaign. You are all here because you have made sure the public are aware of the horrors of puppy farming and that government has been compelled. I am delighted that we have been compelled to act.

'Because we all know if you bring an animal into your life, and into your home, the transformative effect that it can have is wonderful. 

'But if you are going to look after a pet, if you are going to take a puppy or a kitten into your home, then you have an obligation to make sure that that animal has been brought up in circumstances free of trauma and in a way that ensures that it can lead a fulfilling life.

'Far too many of the pets that people, with the best will in the world, bring into their homes we know have been brought up in squalid circumstances. In circumstances of pain and suffering and misery which should never be inflicted on any living thing.

'That's why, by making it absolutely clear that if you're going to buy a puppy or kitten in the future, that you need to be absolutely certain that you can buy it from an ethical, regulated breeder who can show you the parent of that puppy or kitten. 

'We will eliminate puppy farming and ensure that animal welfare is safeguarded in this country as it always should have been. 

'Now these changes only come about as the result of campaigning. One person who deserves to be singled out is Marc Abraham from Pup Aid. Marc's pioneering work as a vet, as someone who puts animal welfare at the heart of everything that he does, has been inspirational. And there are people here who have seen Marc in action on the media and in person, and know that he's a force of nature. 

'And in politics of course you get used to the fact that not every decision you make is always going to be popular, but to my mind it's a rare privilege when you are in a position to make a change, which I know reflects what the British public want and what they've asked for and what they've demanded. 

'And in some respects I imagine the only question that some people will be asking is why has it taken so long. Well my view is we're now at a point where we can make the change that all of us believe is necessary in order to safeguard the future of pets for every family in this country.

'And speaking for myself, as the proud owner of two rescue dogs, conscious of the fact that they lived their lives in the very first few weeks and months in circumstances from which they needed to be rescued, knowing that we will do as a government and you all as individual citizens and campaigners will be responsible for having made this change.


'Well, that is a cause for celebration. So I hope all of you will now raise a glass, and raise a glass of course to Lucy's Law, and to a better future for pets everywhere. Lucy's law! Thank you.'

Last December The Prime Minister, Theresa May made a commitment to crack down on puppy farms and bring to end the grisly conditions found in puppy farming. Mrs May tweeted, 'We're banning third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England to improve animal welfare standards. I'm determined to ensure that breeders are accountable and that unscrupulous puppy and kitten farms can no longer profit from their vile trade.'

Peter Egan, who was at the launch of the campaign told OUR DOGS, 'I am euphoric. This is the best piece of legislation that we can have. It will kill the puppy farmers. It is a great tribute to Marc. I am a very happy bunny.

'What the puppy farmers do is a disgusting business. The cruelty and abuse these animals suffer is truly awful.

'This is a truly great piece of legislation. It will encourage the public to take the care of puppies very, very seriously. It will make them ask why they want a puppy. There will be responsible sellers they can engage with.'

Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Dr Brian May told OUR DOGS, 'It is wonderful. A credit to Marc's campaigning. I am delighted.

'It is wonderful to have a minister who wants to back animal welfare. The public support it. I am grateful to Mr Gove.

'I have supported the campaign from the start. Save me (The Save Me Trust, Dr May's animal welfare campaign) have been in Marc's corner from the beginning.'

Lisa Cameron, SNP MP and chair of All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), told OUR DOGS, 'It's one of the groundbreaking campaigns. There has been overwhelming support from all quarters. Everything has come together. The campaign was launched last December and less than a year later we have this law.'

By removing the access to legal third-parties it will deny puppy farmers a legal route to sell their puppies. If they do try to do this way they will be breaking the law.

Mr Gove told OUR DOGS, 'The law will make it clear what is right. The only way to sell will be if you can see a puppy with its mother.

'There will be unscrupulous people who will try and get round this but the law will be there.

'As regards overseas traders we can't stop people doing what they do abroad but we can close the market to them. We can do the right thing. What the government wants to do is to take a leading role in animal welfare.'

After Mr Gove had made his announcement a tearful Linda Goodman, from CARIAD, explained her tears, 'When he said those words (that third party sales was going to be banned). 'I know that the puppy farmers are scared!'

The Kennel Club issued a statement, 'We are absolutely delighted that Michael Gove has announced that Defra will be issuing a consultation on an outright ban on third party sale of puppies, which is a vital step forward to tackling the cruel puppy farming industry.

'The Kennel Club has long called for an end to the sale of puppies in pet shops and by other third party retailers, as puppy farmers often use such outlets to sell their pups to unsuspecting members of the public who never see the terrible conditions that the pups were raised in. 

'When this policy is implemented it will stop the suffering of many dogs and send a very strong message to puppy buyers that it is never ok to see a puppy in any environment other than the one it was born and raised in, and with its mum.

'Responsible breeders, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, will have nothing to hide and would simply never sell their puppies to a pet dealer or pet shop, and would always speak at length with a prospective owner before selling them one of their puppies.'

After a short consultation Lucy's Law will be added to existing legislation. Mr Gove told OUR DOGS, 'It should come in next March.'

  • Marc Abraham pictured outside 10 Downing Street
  • Debbie Matthews, Lisa Cameron, SNP MP, OUR DOGS' Adam Williams and Beverley Cuddy, Dogs Today
  • Marc Abraham, Lisa Gardner and Peter Egan
  • Michael Gove chats to a Lucy's Law campaigner

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