News

Experts examine illegal puppy trade

Edinburgh researchers are working with an animal welfare charity to examine the effects of intensive breeding on dogs.

Experts from the University have teamed up with the Scottish SPCA to assess the impact of illegal puppy trading on animals’ health and behaviour.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham officially opened Scotland's first conference to examine the illegal puppy trade at the University this week.

Collaborative research

The event brought together experts from across the UK and Ireland, including Dr Jo Williams from the University’s School of Health in Social Science.

She presented findings from a collaborative research project with the Scottish SPCA.

Other speakers included: Mark Rafferty, Chief Inspector of the Scottish SPCA Special Investigations Unit; Dr Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust and Graeme Mutter, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) taskforce project lead. 

Our research has proven that dogs from puppy farms have more behavioural issues and are more likely to have medical conditions impacting their long-term health compared with dogs from other breeding backgrounds.

Dr Jo WilliamsSchool of Health in Social Science

Working in partnership

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, Scottish SPCA Head of Education & Policy, said puppy farming is a key focus for their special investigations unit. The charity works with partners across the UK and Ireland to identify people involved.

The conference and the research is a further step forwards working together to create a robust strategy to tackle this serious issue.

Gilly Mendes FerreiraHead of Education and Policy Scottish SPCA

Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said a collaborative approach to enforcement in Scotland is welcome.

 We take animal welfare extremely seriously and are determined to crack down on animal traffickers. As outlined in the  Programme for Government, we will work with charities and enforcement agencies to take forward the recommendations on illegal importation and sale from 'puppy farms'.

Roseanna CunninghamCabinet Secretary

Related links

School of Health in Social Science 

Scottish SPCA 

Image: ©istock.com/RomanSamokhin