By Bill Heaney
Christine Jardine MP has today hit out at Scottish Conservative MPs for refusing to back a bill to end puppy smuggling, pet theft and live animal exports in the UK.
On Wednesday, the opposition attempted to force the government to bring back the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. Last month, the Government broke their manifesto promise to crack down on pet theft, puppy smuggling and banning live animal exports.
The Liberal Democrats re-tabled the Government puppy smuggling bill and called on Conservative MPs to keep their promise, but they have refused.
Conservative MPs refused to back a motion to bring the bill back within the next month and instead launched yet another consultation.
Christine Jardine MP – “promised to deliver this Bill in their election manifesto”.
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.
The party has launched an online campaign and petition to end puppy smuggling and is urging pet owners and residents across Scotland to sign at libdems.org.uk/puppy
Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson and MP for Edinburgh West Christine Jardine said: “The Conservative party promised to deliver this Bill in their election manifesto, and the Government even drafted the wording of the new law.
“It is shameful that Scottish Conservative MPs have broken their promise to protect animals from cruel smuggling gangs.
“This Conservative Government has left pet owners and animal welfare charities rightly angry.
“The Liberal Democrats want to see greater protections for puppies, with criminals who target our beloved pets handed harsher punishments.”
Meanwhile, the results of the vote on bringing back the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in July can be found here.
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.
Pets (Theft and Importation) Bill; A bill to make provision about the taking dogs without lawful authority, and about the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets; and for connected purposes.
Government statement Animal Welfare 20th June: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2023-06-21/hcws871