31/08/2016 05:41 BST | Updated 31/08/2017 06:12 BST

See Them Suckling! #Poutforpuppies!

The trade in puppy farm puppies is accelerating at a terrifying rate. A recent report from the RSPCA* has shown that imports from Europe have increased exponentially since the change in the PETS scheme in 2012, an estimated 30,000 were brought in in 2015 (a figure possibly much higher due to illegal trading) and over 400,000 pups are bred for the UK market every year by unlicensed establishments.

Puppy farm puppies are bred in truly awful conditions. They have little to no human contact, are ripped from their mothers far too early and then transported hundreds, possibly thousands, of miles to be sold as 'family' pets by completely shameless charlatans.

Make no mistake, you have met, or quite possibly own, one of these dogs. They are being taken to the vets in their droves to have their infections and their inherited issues treated and their behavioural problems, caused by their appalling early experiences, take a huge toll on their families. All of which is contributing to the enormous numbers being abandoned to rescue centres or worse, euthanised.

Even if a person is lucky enough to own a puppy farm bred dog without any problems; the bitch is still living in a hellhole, simply a breeding machine, denied opportunity of any sort of normal life, as are thousands like her.

And don't forget, the sellers of these dogs are running cash only businesses. Not a penny of their ill-gotten gains ever contributes to the tax system and earnings can run into thousands of pounds every week!

Although much of the general public is aware of the standard advice for buying a dog; always see the puppies with their mother and only buy from a family home, an equal, or greater, number do not or simply don't care.

A remarkable 16% (1.5million) of the dogs in the UK were purchased in a pet shop and of all puppies sold, 41% of purchasers didn't see the bitch and 53% didn't view the environment in which the litter was bred.**

However, even when prospective dog owners do try to buy responsibly they are often faced with unscrupulous traders showing litters with stooge bitches, even going so far as to rent family homes for short periods from which to sell the litter.***

'See Them Suckling' is a new campaign set up by myself and Companion Dog World magazine. Our message is to encourage people to only consider purchasing a puppy from a seller who will allow them to view the litter, with their mother, well before they are mature enough to be re-homed. Something which the puppy farmers will find impossible to provide.

This way they will;

* Definitely see the real bitch,

* View the genuine environment in which the puppy has been bred and, vitally,

* Be unable to make an impulse purchase, which is so often later regretted and only serves to fuel the puppy trade.

Our aims are;

* To increase public awareness through campaigning that they should see a puppy young enough to be dependent on it's mother before considering a purchase.

* To ensure prospective puppy buyers visit a litter at least once before making a purchase.

* To raise awareness in the veterinary profession, so they are giving this advice to their clients.

* To make outlets advertising puppies for sale ensure this advice is displayed prominently

To help us spread the word we would like everyone to post a pouting selfie with their dog (as long as that is safe!) to social media, use the text below and tag at least three friends to do the same!

" I am supporting #poutforpuppies! If you want to buy a puppy, you MUST #seethemsuckling! Learn more at"

Please join us and our campaign!

Together, as dog owners and animal lovers, we can really make a difference to the welfare of dogs and puppies here in the UK and across Europe, now and in the future!

Useful Links;

The #poutforpuppies on Twitter already!

The #poutforpuppies on Facebook already!

See Them Suckling Facebook page

See Them website -

Cat The Vet Facebook page

Cat the Vet Twitter feed

Cat's website

* RSPCA 'Sold a pup' report

** Kennel Club PAW survey 2014

*** AWF 2015 - 40 minutes in - David Martin MRCVS