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Peer calls on government to combat puppy farming

Lord Redesdale says 'people on Hampstead Heath are worried about Alabama rot'

25 May, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Lord Redesdale

A PEER has pressed the government to take measures to tackle a black market trade in puppies.

Lord Redesdale, a Liberal Democrat peer who lives in Tufnell Park, told the House of Lords that people were buying dogs and cats on “impulse”, fuelling an unregulated pet industry.

He said: “This is a particular issue. They see a cute kitten or puppy and see it as something that should be owned automatically. Of course, this leads to the problems of the industry: puppy farms, which I know regulation is needed for, and smuggling of puppies.”

Lord Redesdale, speaking in a debate on pet welfare last week, added: “I hope the government will start thinking about age restrictions on puppies that can be imported. “This would solve some of the problems, especially since some of the diseases the puppies might carry, especially tick-borne ones, which can be imported to this country, might be an issue in future, as has happened with Alabama Rot, whatever that is. I have not seen very much about it, although people on Hampstead Heath are getting very worried about it.”

Alabama Rot causes ulcers and lesions in dogs, damages blood vessels and can cause kidney failure. Around 40 cases have been found in the UK this year, all outside London. It was first discovered in the US state in the 1980s, affecting greyhounds.

Lord Redesdale, who owns a rehomed cockapoo, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers. Indeed, the trade body I work for calculated that the energy used for watching cat videos is the equivalent of running Ashford in Kent – 67,000 houses – for a year.”

He added: “I went on Gumtree this morning to see how easy it is to acquire an animal. It was interesting that a lot of the owners on that website were talking about the fact that their dogs were registered with the Kennel Club, which showed best practice. You can also then happily Google: “Where can I find a cheap, cute puppy?’, which obviously feeds into exactly the wrong attitude, which we are trying to look at.”

In 2008, Lord Redesdale sparked controversy by announcing he had killed more than 20,000 grey squirrels at his country seat in Northumberland because he regarded them as pests.

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