European illegal puppy trade and organised crime

Tanya Wyatt, Jennifer Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Organised crime groups’ involvement in illicit markets is a common focus of law enforcement and governments. Drug, weapon, human and wildlife trafficking (and others) are all illegal activities with link to organised crime. This paper explores the overlooked illicit market of puppies. We detail the state of knowledge about the organisation of the UK puppy trade, which includes irresponsible and illegal breeding of puppies throughout Europe and their often-illegal movement into the UK. In 2017, we conducted an analysis of hundreds of online advertisements in Scotland, 12 expert interviews, a stakeholder survey of 53 participants, and 40 focus groups across Great Britain. Our data suggest an organised illicit market running in parallel to the legal trade. We speculate as to whether at some point along the supply chain organised crime groups are responsible for the suffering and death of the puppies and the economic and emotional damage to ‘consumers’. Online monitoring and physical scrutiny at the ports must be improved to reduce non-human animal abuse. People buying puppies must also be made aware that their purchase could be profiting organised crime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalTrends in Organized Crime
Early online date24 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2021

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