The UK continues to progress animal welfare by enacting a law that requires the mother of any kitten or puppy to be present for any sale and interacting with their offspring. The new legislation was announced by Prime Minister, Theresa May. It requires that anyone selling puppies or kittens be shown alongside the mother. This law is in effect whether the seller is a breeder or charitable organization. The primary goal is to deter and stop people from buying kittens and puppies over the Internet without ever seeing them in person.
It is also a response to animal advocates who have been pushing for years to see legislation enacted that keeps people who breed with mothers who are sick or treated as nothing more than machines to produce revenue shut down permanently. There is big money being made, literally, from the wombs of poorly treated and neglected animals.
Unfortunately, too many people, uneducated about the poor breeding conditions associated with kitten and puppy mills, perpetuate this problem when buying from disreputable businesses. Inbreeding, malnutrition, lack of exercise, poor living conditions, are unseen and for those buying ignorance is bliss. It is also dangerous. Education needs to remain at the forefront, but getting laws into place that make this behavior criminal is a necessity. And, once those laws are on the books, action must be taken to identify those breeders in violation, close mills down, rescue the animals, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
As pet stores in the United States transition to restrictions allowing them to only sell cats and dogs from duly recognized 501(c)3 shelters and rescues, it is a start, but there needs to be more done for animal rights. The new UK legislation is the single greatest change in the pet selling business to occur there in 66 years. Advocates on both sides of the Atlantic see this as a first step and continue to fight for more protection for animals.