Puppy Trafficking debate at Scottish Parliament Pic shows springer spaniel puppies Wyatt and Serge with Amy Burke from the Scottish SPCA For more details see press release. Pic Peter Devlin

Forrit tae an end tae the wrangous pauchlin o puppies in Scotland

Oan Wadensday 21st December, ah hud the preevilege o leadin a debate in the Scottish Pairlament aboot the sleekit, foutie an hertless practice o the wrangous pauchlin o puppies in Scotland. Forby cawin fur chygnes tae mak the existin legislation mair strang, the debate ettlet first an foremaist at heizin fowk’s kennin o the issue. Ah’m gled tae noo mak readers of Bella mair aware o the issue tae.

Sae whit daes wrangously pauchled mean? At its maist semple, it means dugs comin tae the UK:

• fae Ireland, the EU an Northern Ireland, syne tae Scotland, wioot the necessar legal documents sic as EU pet passports
• fae muckle industrial-sized ferms whilk dinnae uphaud best animal welfare practices

In the UK, aroon 10% o whelps come fae licensed breeders. The ither 90% o dugs are importit, rescued, or come fae unlicensed breeders. Throu ma wark oan this issue, ah’ve learned that mony hunners, even thoosans, o puppies are pauchled ivery year throu the port o Cairnryan. It is estimatit that this wrangsome chorin o dugs cud be wirth atween £100 to £300 million annually – a tax avoidance, siller-in-haun economy.

Forby siller, it means shilpit an daeless wee animals doon-haudit in haithenly scunnersome condeeditions an sufferin ayont belief.

The Animal Health an Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 states:

A body commits an offence gin the body daesna tak sic complowsible steps tae mak siccar that the needs o an animal are met. Thir needs are:

a suitable environment an diet, tae can exhibit normal behavior paiterns, tae be hoosit wi ither animals, an tae be be fendit fae sufferin, skaith an disease.

In the case o wrangsome pauchlin, nane o this is happenin. Insteid, puppies are bein bred oan an industrial scale unner factory-lyk condeetions. As mony as five hunner bitches hae been coontit in ane facility. Some pauchlers purposely stairve an dehydrate the puppies, fur shilpit an lowden puppies mak less din, makkin thaim undetectable!

The welfare crimes an abuses insnorlt in the puppy trade are faur-reachin.

Thai stert wi the mither – a breedin bitch haudit on an ower-thrang puppy ferm, ower-bred an devoid o human contact. Ane ferm that we ken o yaises an automatit feedin system sib tae anes yaised in battery fermin. It’s a darg-savin device, an further daes awa wi the need fur human contact. In sic settins, the mithers bark the hale time, makkin a unco racket, whilk isnae the ideal whelpin or birthin environment. Ane pauchler is even kent tae hae applied fur a haun-gun license wi the specific mynt tae dispose o the mithers whan thai cuid nae langer produce litters. The bitches are schauchlet aff lyk auld shuin. This is foutie, this is laithsome, this is illegal.

Haudit in mort-cauld trailers elsewhaur on thir ferms are the pups – jist weeks auld – torn awa fae thair mithers, feart an frichtit, an cooried in thegither fur warmth.This ower-early separation fae the mither can affect thair immune system, leavin thaim suspectible tae daithly diseases sic as parvovirus, whilk can kill jist deys efter an unkennin buyer haes bocht the pup – mony’s the time fur hunners o poonds.

New pup owners hae described veterinary bills o ower ane thoosan poond ettlet at helpin tae save thair brand new wee pups – pups whilk ultimately dee efter a few days, a hert-brekkin experience fur the new owners, aften bairns amang them.

Even gin the puppy tholes throu, mair difficulties await. The lack o guid an proper socialisation at an early age will like eneuch cause behavioural issues, makkin thaim difficult an even dangerous pets.

Forby aw this, experts hae set oot the gey real risk that rabies cuid enter the UK throu the dog pauchlin route.

Aw thir issues an mair wis exposed in the 2015 BAFTA award winnin BBC Scotland documentary ‘The Dug Factory’, whilk ah wid encourage awbody tae watch.

Noo thir are positives amang aw this. Mony guid fowk an organisations are warkin gey hard tae airt oot, tae fleg, tae taigle an even tae detain yon ill-daers whae perpetrate the ugsome an wrangous puppy chorin trade. Ah’d lyk tae gie ma maist hertfelt thanks tae a few in parteecular, amang thaim mony whae hae gied me muckle help as ah campaign oan this issue: TV Vet Dr Marc Abraham, whae biggit up the PupAid campaign; ma Westminster colleagues, Dr Paul Monaghan, Dr Lisa Cameron, an Richard Arkless; the campaigners Eileen Bryant an Raymond Carvill; the SSPCA’s investigation unit, Mark Rafferty an his team, in parteecular thair Operation Delta thegither wi the ferry operator Stena Line, Police Scotland, an HMRC; an the tradin staundarts staff o Dumfries an Galloway Cooncil.

Scotland is a kintra o animal lovers, an ah strangly believe that pairt o the task aheid o us is tae mak the public aware o the horrors o the trade, an tae forder best puppy purchasin prattick.

Onybody buyin a puppy shuid:

• mak siccar that thai see the dugs in a hamely environment thegither wi the pups’ mither
• mak siccar that breeders keep the pup until it is auld eneuch tae be rehamit
• insist oan seein the necessar sale documents

Legitimate breeders will hae nae problem wi this, an gin ony excuse is makkit aboot this nae bein possible, fowk shuid gang awa an contact the SSPCA.

Naebody shuid ivver buy a puppy in a public place sic as a car park, an alarm bells shuid be dirlin gin this is suggestit by the seller.

The twitter hashtags #NoMumNoSale an #WheresMum are myntit tae help educate fowk aboot this.

Forby the Government cuid conseeder chyngin the law in sum o the follaen weys:

• endin third perty sales
• purchase directly fae licensed breeders anely
• biggin a naitional register o approved breeders
• gie cooncils the abeelity tae self-fund licensing
• conseeder a minimum ratio o human tae dug in breedin estaiblishments fur tae mak siccar that adequate human contact an health observation is achievit

By addressin some o the issues ah’ve set oot heid oan, Scotland cuid lead the wey no jist in the UK but ower the warld.

Ah luik forrit tae the Government’s response, an atween hauns encourage awbody tae dae thair bittie tae heize kennin o thir issues, an, as Yule fast approaches, tae aye mind that a dug is fur life an no jist fur Yule.

Mony thanks tae Ashley Douglas fur helpin me fin the richt wirds tae set this furth in Scots.

Emma Harper is an SNP MSP fur the Sooth Scotland region.