The debate helped clarify the claim that dog breeders only need a licence if they have a bitch producing five or more litters per year. The Department for the Environment discovered that when the relevant Act came into force under the last Government, the Home Office sent a circular indicating this; however, it is now writing to councils to stress that anyone in the business of breeding dogs must be licenced.

The issue of selling puppies and kittens in pet shops was considered in detail. Only about 70 pet shops do this, and they are already licensed and regulated. Local authorities have the power to restrict which animals a pet shop can sell. Recent Government action shows that much can be achieved without new legislation. I share concerns about unregulated sales over the internet, so am pleased that the Government has acted to create a voluntary code which has resulted in 100,000 adverts being removed since the start of 2014. I was also glad to learn that new guidance on the model conditions for pet vending stress the need for interaction with people.

Lastly on the issue of sales across borders, I am pleased to be able to tell you that changes to the EU pet passport scheme will mean that from December it will not be possible to transport a puppy into this country unless it is at least 15 weeks old.