COVID-19 And Its Impact On Animal Welfare

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COVID-19 and its impact on animal welfare has remained out of the spotlight. The coronavirus has forced animal shelters to close, which means visitation for adoption has come to a standstill. The RSPCA are appealing for people to donate, as despite COVID-19, many vulnerable animals are still in need of help. 

Dog’s Trust has closed its doors in compliance with the government’s advice for all business that are not essential to close their doors. Their centres are closed to walk-in members of the public and will not be starting the rehoming process for any new adopters at the moment, to ensure everyone’s safety. In addition to this, they are not able to take in abandoned and unwanted dogs.

“Due to Government restrictions, we will be unable to take in dogs to our rehoming centres right now,” they explained on their website, “If you need urgent help regarding giving up your dog, please contact us immediately and we will offer you as much advice and support as we can.”

During this pandemic, having a four-legged companion to isolate with can give great comfort to many. Those without pets, may be wanting to buy one as company in the household, however there are animal welfare issues when purchasing a pet online.

At the beginning of April, new legislation called Lucy’s Law came into effect, this banned the sale of pets from third parties, meaning that buyers have to deal with breeders directly. The law has been introduced to deter unregistered breeders and puppy farmers from selling animals. The law was named after Lucy, who was rescued from years of mistreatment at a puppy farm. 

Two years ago, when Alison Diamond, from Horsham bought her cocker spaniel, she had never heard of a puppy farm, but this was exactly the place that she had gotten Max from. 

“There were different sheds in the farm land, there were different breeds of dogs. It was not a case of ‘are you coming back’,” she explained, “it was ‘the dog is going to cost this amount and go and get the cash’. I’ve never had an experience like it. It was a transaction where they were just trying to get rid of the dog, and we handed over the money.”

At the animal charity, Blue Cross they are campaigning for stricter laws to be implemented to stop the puppy farming trade. Louise Lee, Blue Cross Senior Media Officer talked about what to look out for when looking for potential puppy online, “We are finding millions of different puppies on all of the various selling websites we’re also seeing lots of different adverts where it looks like the puppy is with a breeder in a happy family home but the contact number for that breeder is actually featured on lots of different adverts, so that would make you suspicious that it is actually not a family home.”  

Puppy farms that excessively breed dogs, not only harms animals emotionally but also physically. RSPCA inspector, Ryan King has seen the effects of puppy farming first hand and understands the health complications that many of these puppies have.  “They are not always going to be kept in the right conditions or given the right vaccines, you will see some issues at the start of their life once they’re bought at eight weeks, or whenever they are bought.”

“They are not kept in the right conditions, sometimes they are but not given the right vaccinations. If you have multiple puppies living in the same area and not in the cleanest environment, it can be quite bad because they can get parvovirus which can be fatal, kennel cough, and parasites like giardia and campylobacter.” 

The coronavirus may have caused businesses to close, but these illegal puppy farming practices will still be being carried out through the pandemic. Vegans who want to purchase a puppy should only do so via the Kennel Club website.

These breeders are registered and provide high standards of care and love to their puppies. By purchasing from a puppy farm, buyers are contributing the awful trade that exploits thousands of animals every year. Only buying from registered breeders or adopting an animal will people be sure not to fund the puppy farm trade.


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Olivia Preston
Olivia Preston
Olivia Preston is currently living and studying to be a world-class journalist in London. Fan of fashion, politics, feminist activism and all things canine. A very happy individual!