Dr Jennifer Maher provides evidence to MPs on illegal pet smuggling

Dr Jenny_Maher Criminology

Dr Jennifer Maher will today provide evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [EFRA] Select Committee’s remote meeting with the Defra Minister, Lord Goldsmith, on the subject of pet smuggling.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is to hold a one-off evidence session to address continuing concerns around illegal smuggling of pets into the UK. Recent statistics show that demand for dogs in the UK has surged dramatically as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures, fuelling fears around the criminal importation of puppies subject to cruel and insanitary conditions. 

Dr Maher has found that the trade is worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

"Just looking at Scotland alone, for a twelve week period, we estimated the value of the trade was £13 million and if you look at for the whole of the UK you are looking at £130 million for that period of time alone."

MPs will explore how unprecedented changes in supply and demand for pets may have encouraged crime, the extent to which new laws and campaigns have helped reduce pet smuggling and cruelty, and what the end of the Brexit transition period will mean for pet imports. The session will also question the level of support provided to animal charities during the pandemic.

Panel 1 - at  2.30pm

  • Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director, Dogs Trust
  • Daniella Dos Santos, Senior Vice President, British Veterinary Association
  • Dr Jenny Maher, University of South Wales

Panel 2 - at 3.30pm

  • Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific and the Environment, Defra and FCDO
  • Marc Casale, Head of Animal Welfare, Defra