Peer's bid to improve cat and dog welfare

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A Conservative peer has called for a review of legislation on the breeding and sale of cats and dogs, arguing that existing laws are out-of-date.

Lord Black of Brentwood, a cat owner, led what he said was the first debate on cats and dogs in the Lords for 20 years, on 20 November 2013.

He praised charities that work with domestic animals but warned there is a "crisis in animal welfare " as they struggle to cope with "the tide of unwanted pets".

Lord Black said that while the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was a "landmark" piece of legislation "many of the regulations promised under the act have not materialised".

He told peers that the last detailed legislation on breeding, sale and neutering was the Pet Animals Act of 1951, which was drafted "at a time when people bought animals from a pet shop".

"But more than 60 years on people now buy pets online which has created a whole range of problems, with backstreet breeders often churning out kittens and puppies in a unregulated way."

Lord Black suggested the government could support a national "neutering day" in an attempt to cut down the number of unwanted cats and dogs, but Environment Minister Lord de Mauley told him he could not commit to this.

"But we will certainly work to ensure the public receives the right message about neutering," he added.

The minister said that although the Pet Animals Act was 60 years old it "still requires someone who is in the business of selling animals to have a valid licence from their local authority".

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