A Sinn Féin senator has called on the Minister for Agriculture to “expand the scope” of the ban on fur farming bill to include provisions of her bill to “close puppy smuggling loopholes”.

Senator Lynn Boylan said that she has a bill “that’s ready to go” that seeks to “close loopholes that enable puppy farmers to smuggle puppies out’.

“My bill would mean puppies seized at ports could be re-homed within five days. As it stands, it can take anything from 12-18 months to get a court order for them to be re-homed,” the senator said.

“There’s an opportune moment for Minister McConalogue to act on this important matter by expanding the scope of the Animal Health and Welfare (ban on fur farming) Bill to address these issues.

“The legislative programme is packed and this sort of opportunity might not come around for a long time.

“I have written to the minister three times and have still received no response. He must act now. In the meantime, countless puppies will continue to stream out of the country.”

Boylan has said that the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 has been helpful in bringing convictions, but the rate of exports is still too high.

She said that Ireland “still holds the reputation of being the puppy farm capital”.