ASSEMBLY Member Joyce Watson has demanded action to end puppy farm cruelty.

Joyce Watson AM yesterday, October 1, raised an urgent question in the Senedd about the findings of BBC Wales’ puppy farm investigation, and has demanded action to protect vulnerable animals.

BBC Wales Investigates' Inside the UK's Puppy Farm Capital documentary (September 30) used secret filming to show squalid conditions at several West Wales puppy farms.

Mid and West Wales Assembly Member Mrs Watson explained how it showed hundreds of dogs living in filthy, dark, damp and cold conditions, in premises which are inspected annually by inspectors and vets, people who are supposed to prioritise the welfare of the animals.

Mrs Watson has written to Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils requesting an urgent update and criticised the decision by Ceredigion to allow one of the sites featured in Llandysul to carry on breeding with a three month only licence, given the current conditions exposed.

She also claimed that the sheer volume of upheld complaints by Carmarthenshire County Council suggests that something is radically wrong in this process.

She asked the Minister if she would consider limiting the number of licences and limiting the number of dogs in those licensed premises, saying: “…the welfare of these animals has to come first, not the profit”.

She said that she was standing up for animals because they “do not have a voice to speak to speak for themselves, so we have an absolute duty to do it for them”.

Responding, the Business Minister, Rebecca Evans, said that the Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs is writing to veterinary bodies and local authorities about this issue, meeting with the chief veterinary officer, and intends to ask the animal welfare framework group to revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions at breeding establishments.

Joyce Watson later added: "This programme showed a broken system which is failing to protect vulnerable animals.

"West Wales is shamefully known as the puppy capital of the UK. This is not something to be proud of. It certainly isn't something that we would want to advertise on our tourist brochures.

“For years I have campaigned to regulate this trade and to improve animal welfare. I can clearly remember this issue being highlighted in the 1980s by Esther Rantzen. That was over 30 years ago, and yet, we're still here now.

"I will continue to monitor this closely, ask questions, raise issues, and take any other steps necessary to put an end to this kind of inhumane behaviour."