Puppy smuggling is abhorrent. We operate a rigorous pet-checking regime and work collaboratively to share intelligence, disrupt illegal imports and seize non-compliant animals. Officials liaise closely with devolved Administration colleagues, and they meet fortnightly to discuss developments, although of course often they speak in between these formal meetings as well.
I thank the Minister for that response. Puppy smuggling is a trade carried out outside current regulations and it causes considerable distress and suffering. Does the Minister agree with charities such as the Dogs Trust that we need tougher penalties right across the UK for those caught smuggling puppies, in order to ensure that there is a real deterrent in place to tackle this horrific trade?
DEFRA is considering a range of possible measures, which may result in legislative change. We are listening to a group of stakeholders, including the Dogs Trust, and the recommendations that they and the EFRA Committee made relatively recently will inform our policy making in this important area.