A ban on the commerical third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England

Closed 19 Sep 2018

Opened 22 Aug 2018


The Government is consulting on plans to introduce a ban on the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England. Commercial third-party sellers are those who are licensed pet sellers, but are not licensed pet breeders; they will hold a licence under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 to sell puppies and kittens commercially that they have not bred themselves. A Call for Evidence was launched in February 2018 to gather evidence around the impacts of a ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens.

Currently, puppies and kittens can either be purchased via a third-party seller, or directly from a breeder. There are no records of the number of puppies sold via third-parties, which makes it difficult to know how many puppies are sold via third parties but estimates very between 40,000 and 80,000 in Great Britain per year.” A number of responses to the Call for Evidence, (e.g. Canine Action UK) suggested that there are about 74 pet shop licence holders actively selling puppies, of which 63 are in England.

There are concerns that commercial third-party sales lead to poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared to when people buy directly from the breeder. For example, this might include the early separation of puppies and kittens from their mothers, the introduction to new and unfamiliar environments, and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake. All of these can contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation for the puppies and kittens.

We are proposing to ban commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England. This will prevent pet shops, pet dealers, and other outlets from selling these animals in England unless they themselves had bred them. The ban will extend to England only. We are also publishing a draft Regulatory Triage Assessment (RTA) where we set out our initial assessment of the impacts such a ban would have on businesses. This RTA has not been validated by the Regulatory Policy Committee. We invite you to share your views on this document, as well as your thoughts on the ban.

If you would like to keep in contact with us, to express interest in this any other Defra consultation. Please give us your details through the link below.



  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Vets
  • Government Departments
  • Government Agencies
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Industries and professional services
  • Legal and Conveyancing Professions
  • Local Authorities
  • Consumer Groups
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Policy Teams
  • Pet Owners
  • Pet Interest Groups
  • Transport Organisations
  • Veterinarians
  • Local Authorities
  • Families
  • Public Bodies


  • Pets
  • Protecting pets from cruelty