Photo: PxFuel

United Kingdom: The UK Government is determined to "clamp down" on the "grim trade" of importing puppies.

The government is considering tight new welfare standards for dogs. This includes raising the minimum import age of puppies from 15 weeks to six months. 

A ban will also cover the importation of pregnant dogs to safeguard the animals' welfare. It is also considering the barring the import of dogs with cropped ears or docked tails.

The pushback hopes to prevent puppies from being separated from their mothers too early, putting them at increased risk of illness and death, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. They can currently be imported from 15 weeks old.

The call to is echoed by celebrities, including Simon Cowell and Olivia Newton-John. The proposals unveiled on 21 Aug mark the first time the government has confirmed a minimum import age for puppies.

The Covid pandemic and lockdowns have been blamed for fuelling the surge in demand for "cute" puppies, leading to skyrocketing prices and booming unethical black-market breeding.

Official figures show a rise in animals being imported in low condition. Last year along, more than 66,000 dogs were commercially imported into the UK according to Animal and Plant Health Agency figures.

The charity RSPCA has said reports of ear cropping, a practice banned in the UK since 2006, have risen more than sevenfold over the past five years. Most of the affected dogs are thought to have undergone the painful procedure abroad.

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