George Michael leads call for clampdown on illegal pet trade

30th Nov 16 | Entertainment News

Celebrity pet owners including George Michael and Morrissey have called on the British government to act over animals kept in horrendous conditions.

The singers are among the stars who have signed a letter to British newspaper The Times demanding U.K. politicians take action against unlicensed breeders and sellers of animals.

Citing a new report by researchers at the Blue Cross pet charity, the letter asserts that overstretched officials are struggling to police pet business owners who keep animals in unsatisfactory conditions.

"Local authories are missing horrific welfare issues in pet shops and breeding premises, and that unscrupulous online sellers are slipping under the radar entirely," the letter reads.

"The report's findings include pet shops not being inspected for two years, maggots in animals' drinking water and puppies having no access to daylight."

According to the Blue Cross report, thousands of puppies are imported illegally from European countries each year and sold online.

Despite U.K. local government authorities possessing the power to investigate unlicensed breeders and sellers, according to government figures obtained by the charity, no checks were carried out by almost half of U.K. councils last year (15).

The missive, which is also signed by veteran rocker Rick Wakeman, chat show host Graham Norton, actress Joanna Lumley and model Twiggy, calls on Britain's government to introduce new laws to provide authorities with more resources, training and powers to crack down on businesses which do not maintain welfare standards.

It concludes with the words, "Only with these changes can Britain start to live up to its reputation as a nation of pet lovers once more."

© WENN Newsdesk 2016