George Michael, yet another talented artist who we lost this year, will always be remembered for his amazing voice. But his legacy should also include the amazing voice he had for the welfare of animals, particularly sick puppies being sold by unlicensed breeders via the internet.
Michael had very recently been working with the UK animal welfare organization Blue Cross to call attention to this issue. In late November, he and a group of veterinarians and celebrities including Morrissey, Graham Norton, Joanna Lumley and Miranda Richardson sent a letter to the government, asking for tougher regulations for pet breeders and sellers.
Thousands of puppies are illegally trafficked from Ireland and Eastern Europe every year and sold online, The Times reports. Some breeders make as much as £35,000 a week — almost $43,000 in U.S. dollars.
According to a Blue Cross report on the internet sale of puppies, using nine different email addresses, one puppy seller placed 138 ads in 24 months on the classified advertising website Gumtree. Since the puppies were offered for sale in seven different areas, it was challenging for local authorities to enforce laws, which differ from area to area. For example, some areas only require a license for breeders of more than five litters each year.
Michael, along with Blue Cross, wanted laws that required a license for anyone who breeds one litter or more each year. He also wanted pet stores to be banned from selling breeders’ puppies.
‘Puppies with No Access to Daylight’
“Findings include pets shops not inspected for two years, maggots in drinking water, puppies with no access to daylight and many licensing officers unable to identify welfare issues with exotic pets,” Michael and the others wrote in their letter to the government. “Blue Cross vets are frequently faced with puppies and kittens that fall desperately ill just days after they are sold.”
The group called for legislation “that makes a real difference to pets bred and sold in the UK by empowering local authorities with sufficient resources and training, targeting the growing online pet market and making breeders and sellers fully accountable for the welfare of pets in their care — only then can Britain can truly start to live up to its reputation as a nation of pet lovers once more.”
Here’s hoping tougher puppy-breeding regulations are passed by the government — and in his honor, the new law is named after Michael.
To make a donation to Blue Cross in memory of George Michael, click here.
Photo via YouTube