MP Derek Thomas MP has, through virtual reality, seen for himself the degrading and dangerous conditions in which puppies are transported across Central and Eastern Europe to be sold to unsuspecting buyers in the UK.
Mr Thomas was one of one of 64 MPs and peers who attended the Westminster event hosted by Dogs Trust at the House of Commons when the charity called on the government to take urgent action to end the cruel practice of puppy smuggling.
Dogs Trust has been investigating this problem since 2014 with its reports revealing shocking evidence of the Pet Travel Scheme; their most recent report supplies evidence of corrupt vets in Central and Eastern Europe falsifying documents for underage puppies to be brought into Great Britain; pregnant dogs being smuggled so their puppies can be born in the UK and lax border controls.
Dogs Trust’s event took MPs on a virtual journey from Lithuania to Great Britain to provide an insight into the conditions puppies are forced to endure.
Mr Thomas MP said: “Dogs Trust has unveiled a horrendous trade that has been growing over the past few years and we now have the opportunity to make a positive change to stop this practice.
“I’ve been shocked by the findings of the reports and am proud to support the case to bring an end to puppy smuggling with the introduction of tighter controls and the need for much stronger penalties to deter this horrific crime.”
Mr Thomas is one of around 80 MPs who has signed the Dogs Trust pledge, promising support in the fight to end puppy smuggling.