Search icon


11th Nov 2021

Calls for puppy farming and smuggling to be addressed in Ireland

Katy Brennan

“Puppy farming in Ireland is our biggest animal welfare problem.”

Irish animal welfare laws must be improved upon to include illegal puppy smuggling, politicians have heard.

A representative from the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) told the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine that puppy farming is the biggest animal welfare problem his organisation has ever faced.

The committee had met to discuss how well the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 had prevented and dealt with cruelty to animals so far.

But DSPCA’s Brian Gillen said the legislation is not enough as it does not cover puppy farming.

“It is puppy farming in Ireland that is our biggest animal welfare problem that has not been addressed properly,” he said.

“The DBE [dog breeding establishment] legislation is not administered by the Department of Agriculture.

“It would make more sense to have the Department of Agriculture take on responsibility for DBEs.”

He said that his organisation has evidence that a number of dog breeders in Ireland are actively involved in exporting puppies.

“What that means is in terms of the trade and transport, the idea of transporting very young puppies, six to eight weeks old, across borders is abhorrent.

“It is pure cruelty as far as we are concerned. The whole industry is based on the concept of cruelty to animals and deception of the consumer.

“We feel the whole puppy farming area is something that is not properly addressed and we feel it is something that should be brought in under the Animal Health and Welfare Act as it refers to everything else with the exception of the DBEs, the puppy farms.”

Mr. Gillen added that the mutilation of pets, such as cropped ears, needs to banned immediately.

Last month, a BBC Spotlight documentary exposed the extent of puppy smuggling and puppy farms in Ireland, showing how dogs bred in Ireland are moved across the border and then into the UK.

It is so rampant, in fact, that experts believe some criminals have ditched the drug trade to focus exclusively on the puppy trade instead – an industry which is estimated to have a value of £150 million a year.