On Monday 13th June, local MP Richard Arkless questioned James Brockenshire, Minister of State for Immigration, about the security provision at the port of Cairnryan, Stranraer.
Mr Arkless who has been campaigning for stronger measures against puppy smuggling since his election, asked if the Secretary of State would re-examine the coalition Governments decision to remove the Border Force staff from the Cairnryan port.
James Brockenshire said in response to the question that ‘£63 million of additional resource was being made available precisely to focus on smuggling’ adding that he would be happy to discuss the matter with him in greater detail.
Mr Arkless has since written to Mr Brockenshire to request a meeting with him as soon as possible.
Mr Arkless said: “We face increased threats from contraband and puppy smuggling from the rest of the European Union at our ports so it seems only right that the Government now re-examine their decision to remove Border Force staff from Cairnryan. Tighter controls at our ferry ports will undoubtably deter puppy traffickers and I am very keen to do all that I can to obstruct this barbaric trade.”
Mr Arkless has been working closely with Dogs Trust to help raise awareness about puppy trafficking. In March he co-sponsored a Westminster Hall debate which discussed the issue of Puppy Farms in Ireland and Eastern Europe and what could be done stop farmed puppies coming into Scotland and the UK.
A spokesperson from Dogs Trust said: “Dogs Trust has campaigned for the last 3 years against the illegal importation of puppies into the UK, and is grateful to Mr Arkless to continue to raise awareness about the subject.
“We first highlighted the influx of illegally landed puppies from Central and Eastern Europe in November 2014, following a relaxation of the Pet Travel Scheme in 2012. Our undercover reports highlighted thousands of puppies bred for sale in the EU enduring horrendous breeding and transport conditions often resulting in severe, chronic health problems. These underage puppies are illegally imported into the UK with false documentation and sold onto unsuspecting members of the public who don’t realise until they are left with quarantine bills and high vet bills to pay.
“As part of our ongoing campaign against the illegal importation of puppies, Dogs Trust has now made a landmark step forward by pledging to fund the care and quarantine of illegally landed puppies that have been seized at the ports. Until Dogs Trust stepped in, seized puppies were at risk of being put to sleep or turned away at the borders.”