Last week, protestors gathered outside East Ayrshire Council HQ as the local authority met to discuss proposals for what would have been Scotland’s first industrial puppy farm.
It’s no surprise that these plans were met with overwhelming opposition when they were revealed in back in December. OneKind was just one of the animal welfare charities who hit out at the claims, and an online petition against the breeding facility gathered almost 20,000 signatures.
We were delighted to see that East Ayrshire Licensing Panel appeared to have listened to objections to the plans, including our own objection, and rejected the plans after a long meeting last Friday. The official statement from the East Ayrshire Licensing Panel said:
“Today, Friday 6 January 2017, the East Ayrshire Licensing Panel met to consider an application for a dog breeding, or rearing establishment licence in respect of premises at New Intax Farm, Newmilns.
The Panel has decided to refuse the application and will not be making further comment, mindful that the matter may now be subject to an appeal to the Sheriff.”
If the licence had been granted, the facility could have housed up to 40 breeding dogs. There is no doubt that puppies bred on puppy farms are subjected to far lower standards of animal welfare and start their lives under terrible conditions. Lack of proper diet and veterinary attention are just two of the common problems they face. It means that puppies are often sold to new owners with preventable diseases, painful conditions, and long-term behavioural problems due to lack of early socialisation.
While East Ayrshire Council’s decision to refuse permission for the puppy farm was the right one, we now look to the Scottish Government to step up its efforts to attack this heartless trade on all fronts. This is a decision that simply cannot be left to local authorities to decide. Local authorities across the country shouldn’t be faced with protests and petitions every time someone in the area decides to apply for a breeding licence.
OneKind pays tribute to the dedicated local campaigners who have long battled against the exploitation of dogs in their area, but, again, their efforts would not be necessary if puppy farming and dealing were simply off the agenda in Scotland. So, while the East Ayrshire decision has prevented some of the suffering this industry inflicts on puppies for now, we are urging the Scottish Government to eradicate this practice for good.