There are many things in this life that aren’t clear cut, and while Eurotunnel’s Travel Ban began as a positive step forward in clamping down on inhumane puppy smuggling, it’s brought an unfortunate set of problems for the charities working to save these very dogs that are disadvantaged.
For a subject that’s so divided, just what exactly is the answer?
The Euro Travel Ban was brought in on the 19th of November 2020 and restricts the transportation of dogs in quantities of more than 5 across the Eurotunnel. The Pet Transport statement claims ‘it was brought in due to a recent increase in the number of vehicles arriving at our terminal carrying large numbers of animals, and we had concerns for the welfare of some of those animals.’
But this has been a longstanding worry that mistreated and malnourished puppies were being brought in cheaply and sold on to puppy farms and websites such as gumtree. However, it has gained much more coverage after the social media influencer – Molly Mae – shred that her dog, Mr Chai, died after only a few days of being in the country due to his skull not being fully developed.
In light of this, preventing oversea breeders from selling puppies on an industrial scale is a positive thing. But while it’s good news that these businesses are being blocked from continuing with poor practice, it’s also a significant roadblock for UK and oversea charities that are rescuing dogs from the streets abroad and having them adopted in the UK.
What about charities?
In some countries, strays on the streets will be shot and beaten or simply die of the cold and its this that’s seen a rise in adopting dogs from other countries of Europe. Many of the charities working to find better homes for these dogs are now the most concerned about the new regulations with many dogs now in limbo as they’re waiting to be brought over to their new adopted families. A lot of these charities are at full capacity and can not afford to take on new dogs when many of the animals due to be adopted can no longer leave.
The Eurotunnel has attempted to alleviate this pressure by ensuring that these restrictions do not apply to registered charities or Eurotunnel Le Shuttle business account holders, where they can be assured that animal welfare standards are being observed.
But many rescue groups do not qualify for this exemption such as Dogs 4 Rescue – a two-person team based in Manchester that works on behalf of Street Hearts Bulgaria. Like many other charities, the organisation is registered as a community interest company, which means it does not meet the “registered charity” qualification.
Charities like Dogs 4 Rescue and Street Hearts Bulgaria have been desperately trying to navigate the new rules over the last couple of weeks and have been working tirelessly to get all the correct documentation in place in the hopes to get awaiting dogs to their forever home. And sadly, these delays are only going to continue for charities working in partnership with shelters abroad.
What does the future look like?
The Euro tunnel has stated that if people wish to travel with between 6 to 20 animals maximum per vehicle, then they must provide an Approved Type 2 licence, Vehicle Approved Certificate and be either a registered charity or an organisation with a Eurotunnel business account.
While it may be a step forward, it will have to be revised to allow community interest companies to continue their good work and to ensure that bad breeders don’t find a way around it.
To stamp down on breeders being smuggled in when they’re too young, the minimum age should be increased with official documentation to prove it and tougher laws against UK puppy farms will ensure that breeders are not able to sell puppies on a wide scale. But as of yet, these things are not fully in place.
If you’re considering buying a puppy and you’re concerned about finding a responsible breeder, we would suggest private breeders that are kennel club registered, have just one littler where the mum is present and where there is the correct documentation.