The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to carry out a thorough review of the puppy farm business in Ireland.

The DSPCA says that the review is urgently required to ensure proper regulation of what it calls the ‘appalling trade in animal misery’ that goes on in puppy farms across Ireland on a daily basis.

There are almost 80 registered commercial puppy farms in the country, some of which contain more than 300 breeding bitches, it says.

The society says that these bitches are kept in confinement for their short lives and are subjected to continuous breeding. Many are destroyed as young as three years of age due to their loss of condition from over-breeding, it says.

In addition to the horrendous conditions found within registered puppy farms, there are also many unregistered “back yard” breeders where conditions are well below any acceptable standard, the DSPCA says.

The DSPCA says that the current required level of inspection by Local Authorities under law in Ireland is limited.

The review should address this lack of enforcement and introduce adequate inspection, including unannounced visits to these establishments by inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, it says.

The call comes in advance of the broadcast of a documentary on the BBC called ‘The Dog Factory’ which highlights the extent of animal cruelty and breeding of dogs on puppy farms in Northern Ireland and the UK.

In the North the programme resulted in a legislative review of the laws that relate to puppy farming in the North, the DSPCA says.

It says that puppy farming in the Republic of Ireland similarly has scant enforcement of the existing laws.

Brian Gillen, CEO of the DSPCA, says a similar review is now urgently required in the Republic of Ireland.

Within the Republic of Ireland alone, over 30,000 puppies are exported to the UK each year, with many shipped in uninspected and unregistered vehicles and without regard to the Dog Passport regulations and health controls.

“The shocking footage which will be shown in this broadcast is just a glimpse at the harsh reality these animals are facing, with the practice now widespread within this country.

“A review of the puppy farming business is now urgently required to protect the safety of each of these animals and to outline the standards that must be met in order to operate a puppy breeding farm,” he said.

The DSPCA is also calling on members of the public to impress on their politicians that this is no way to treat man’s best friend.