Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013: Post-Enactment Scrutiny (Resumed)

Mr. Tim Kirby:

It is very difficult to quantify. Certainly, veterinary colleagues and myself who all see puppies coming in their door every day of the week often wonder where they came from. We live in an era where, as I alluded to, the demand is so great that people on the supply side are doing everything to supply as many puppies as they can. With that, I am sceptical as to the sources and origins of some of these puppies is, to say the least. That fits in with the wider issue we have of unregulated puppy farms with industrial-scale breeding. The lack of standards and care that are exhibited by those breeding practices fit like a glove on a hand with these practices such as artificial insemination, ear cropping and various other procedures, which are completely unregulated as well. Again, it is part of the wider pet sector. It is impossible for it to be completely policed, but there have to be greater efforts in determining where puppies are coming from because that is a classic avenue to get back to the root cause of some of these issues as well.

As I said, to quantify the exact the numbers is very difficult, but we have heard of facilities where the public were aware of them and Garda sergeants certainly were notified of the existence of them. Again, there was no veterinary involvement in any of these. These are people who are doing this of their own accord, seizing the opportunity to extort from people who want puppies quickly.