THE illegal puppy trade is gruesome and reprehensible.

It is not an industry, however, that exists in a vacuum – it is driven by demand.

With more than 100,000 dogs in rescue centres across the UK looking for a home it is hugely upsetting to see the demand for puppies fuelling such a barbaric criminal enterprise.

Puppy smuggling and the illegal puppy trade is big business with dealers getting rich while leaving a trail of dead puppies and heartbroken families.

Puppies are being imported by their tens of thousands from EU countries while, at the same time, they are also being bred in the UK both by licensed and unlicensed breeders.

The trade, which causes significant suffering to thousands of dogs, needs greater regulation across Europe.

I will continue working with groups like the EU Dog and Cat alliance, RSPCA and Dogs Trust to push for a crackdown on the industry – last year’s Green win on harmonising pet identification and registration standards is just the start.

In the meantime, I would urge anybody who is planning to buy a puppy to strictly adhere to the checklist outlined by the Dogs Trust before making a purchase and remember that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

For more advice on how to avoid illegal puppies from puppy farms you can visit

Keith Taylor is a Green MEP for the South East of England. He is also the Green Party’s animals spokesman.