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Animal Sales

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 July 2020

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Questions (550)

Paul Murphy


550. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to take action to deal with the widespread non-compliance with the Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Animals) Regulations 2019, in view of the fact that the majority of advertisements for dogs on a website (details supplied) breach the regulations as highlighted to him in correspondence from a number of animal welfare organisations, Deputies and MEPs. [13779/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I acknowledge receipt of correspondence of 25 June, of which the Deputy is a signatory, on the Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Animals) Regulations (SI 681 of 2019).

You will recall that in 2018 my Department launched a public consultation on matters relating to the sale and advertisement of pet animals. The consultation asked specifically for the public’s views on a voluntary Code of Practice for Pet Shops, and whether further legislation was needed regarding the advertisement and sale of pet animals. Following on from this consultation, my Department issued a voluntary Code of Practice for use by sellers or suppliers of pet animals in 2019. The Code, which contains guidelines on animal welfare for a range of species, was sent to all pet shops in the country, and is available on my Department’s website.

Furthermore, again in 2019, my Department brought forward the Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Animals) Regulations (SI 681 of 2019), with a view to further controlling the sale and supply of pet animals, in the interests of supporting the welfare of animals and bringing greater transparency to the sale and supply of pets. The Regulations require anyone selling or supplying more than six pet animals a year to register with my Department. Advertisements of pet animals are required to contain certain information about the animals. These Regulations, which were welcomed by the ISPCA on their introduction, are part of the on-going work of my Department towards improved animal health and welfare.

These initiatives are aimed at improving the welfare of animals in the context of their sale and supply. They are in addition to general animal health and welfare legislative requirement, as well as in the case of dogs, controls under the Dog Breeding Establishment legislation, where applicable.

My Department takes an active role in the issue of the welfare of pets being sold and supplied at the European level, as a member of a group of a number of EU Member States and animal welfare charities established to consider issues relating to the pet trade. The Department participates in the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group (IPAAG), a group formed in 2015 by a number of animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and classified advertising websites to address irresponsible advertising of pets online. Officials of my Department have engaged and will continue to engage constructively with members of IPAAG, on the issue of online advertising and enforcement of the new Regulations.

The recent communication has raised a number of matters as to the operations of these new initiatives. Officials of my Department are currently studying the matters raised.