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Surge in demand for pets fuels animal cruelty concerns: MPs to investigate illegal pet smuggling

19 November 2020

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is to hold a one-off evidence session to address continuing concerns around illegal smuggling of pets into the UK. Recent statistics show that demand for dogs in the UK has surged dramatically as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures, fueling fears around the criminal importation of puppies subject to cruel and insanitary conditions. MPs will explore how unprecedented changes in supply and demand for pets may have encouraged crime, the extent to which new laws and campaigns have helped reduce pet smuggling and cruelty, and what the end of the Brexit transition period will mean for pet imports. The session will also question the level of support provided to animal charities during the pandemic.


Tuesday 24 November 2020 - remote participation by witnesses and Committee members

Panel 1 - at  2.30pm

  • Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director, Dogs Trust
  • Daniella Dos Santos, Senior Vice President, British Veterinary Association
  • Dr Jenny Maher, Lecturer and Subject Leader in Criminology, University of South Wales

Panel 2 - at 3.30pm

  • Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific and the Environment, Defra and FCDO
  • Marc Casale, Head of Animal Welfare, Defra  

Further information

Image: CCO